Guide to the vibrant and

Download 17.16 Mb.
Size17.16 Mb.
1   2   3   4   5   6   7   8   9   ...   162

and whether a cosmopolitan ethic can transform the character

of sociology. These debates and concepts are fully represented in this


One important aspect of globalization has been a revival of the sociological

study of religion. In the 1960s the sociology of religion was especially dominant,

partly through the influence of sociologists such as Peter Berger, Thomas

Luckmann, Bryan Wilson, and David Martin. However, as the secularization

thesis became dominant, the intellectual fortunes of the sociology of religion

declined. In American sociology, the study of cults and new religious movements

was important, but the sociology of religion was no longer influential in

sociology as a whole, and it was not at the cutting edge of sociological theory.

The globalization process has given rise to a revival of the sociology of religion,

especially in the study of fundamentalism. In this respect, the work of Roland

Robertson on (cultural and religious) globalization has been particularly influential.

Here again, however, there are important differences between America

and Europe, because American sociology has been much more influenced by

the applications of rational choice theory to religious behavior, giving rise to

the notion of a “spiritual marketplace.” Whereas European societies have

experienced a history of religious decline in terms of church attendance and

membership, religion in America has remained an influential aspect of public

life. The “new paradigm” in American sociology of religion has taken notice of



the “supply side” of religion, where competition in the religious market has

expanded religious choice and fostered a buoyant spiritual marketplace.

It is obvious that 9/11, and the subsequent “war on terrorism,” have had

and will continue to have a large impact on sociology. This political and

military crisis demonstrated that the largely positive views of global society

that were characteristic of the early stages of the study of globalization, for

example on world democracy and governance, were somewhat one-sided,

premature, and indeed utopian. The brave new world order had come to a

sudden end. Global uncertainty was reinforced by the Afghan war, the war in

Iraq, and the more general war on Al-Qaeda; and these world events have

opened a new chapter in the history of sociological thought – the sociology of

global terrorism. The bombings in Bali, Madrid, and London demonstrated

the global nature of modern terrorism. We might argue that the sociology of

globalization has, as it were, taken a dark turn. There is growing awareness

of the need to study the global sex industry, including pornography, child

sex abuse, sexual tourism, and the wider issues of slavery and the trade in

women. The war on terrorism has made the sociology of the media even more

prominent, but it has also demonstrated that sociology has until recently

ignored such prominent social phenomena as war, terrorism and violence,

money and exchange, and religion, human rights and law. There is also

greater awareness of the need for a new type of medical sociology that will

examine the globalization of epidemics of which HIV/AIDS, SARS and avian flu

are dramatic examples. Critics have argued that the “cultural turn” in sociology

that gave rise to a new interest in cultural phenomena in everyday life

and to new interpretative methods, from discourse analysis to deconstruction

as a method of textual analysis, has resulted in the neglect of traditional but

important social phenomena – social class, poverty, inequality, power, and

racial conflict. One further consequence of 9/11 and 7/7 (the bombings in

London) has been a growing disillusionment with multiculturalism, and

many social scientists have proclaimed “the end of multiculturalism”

and have identified the rise of the “new xenophobia” in western societies.

Future research on race, ethnicity, and identity will be colored by the

despairing, bleak mood of the first decade of the new millennium.

While sociologists have been interested in the social causes of fundamentalism

in general, research on political Islam has been especially prominent in

current sociological research. These recent developments have resulted

in various re-evaluations of Max Weber’s comparative sociology of religion.

The debate about the relevance of the Protestant Ethic Thesis to Islam continues

to interest sociologists, and there has also been much interest in the

revival of Confucianism in Asia. There is, however, also recognition of the fact

that we need new ways of thinking about modernization, secularization, and

fundamentalism. The work of S. N. Eisenstadt in developing ideas about

“multiple modernities” offers innovative theoretical strategies for sociological

research. Globalization is therefore stimulating a rich arena of research in

modern sociology, such as George Ritzer’s work on McDonaldization, Manuel



Castells on the media, Martin Shaw on global military conflict, Thomas Cushman

on global human rights, and David Martin on global Pentecostalism. This

Dictionary provides substantial coverage of these issues, theories, and authors.

One major dimension of globalization is of course the expansion and transformation

of media technology and information. Marshall McLuhan in the

1960s invented a variety of expressions to describe the arrival of a new age –

in particular the idea of a global village. Every aspect of modern society has

been revolutionized by these developments in communication and information

– from “cybersex” and “telesurgery” to smart bombs. To understand the

social changes that made possible the information society, there has been a

revival of interest in technology. What had been rejected by Marxist sociology

as “technological determinism” has become increasingly central to the sociological

understanding of how the world is changing. Research on the impact of

technology on spatial relationships, speed, and social networks can be seen in

the growing interest in the idea of mobilities, social flows, and networks in the

work of John Urry. The concern to understand technology has forced sociologists

to think more creatively about how we interact with objects and networks

between objects. The development of actor network theory has brought together

spatial, technological, and science studies to understand the interactional

relations between human beings and the world of objects. Many

sociologists believe that these changes are so profound that a new type of

sociology is required to analyze speed, mobility, and the compression of space.

The “cultural turn” (a new emphasis on culture in modern society) was

followed by the “spatial turn” (a new preoccupation with space, the global city,

and urban design). In order to encompass these developments, the Dictionary

has included many entries on information, communications, and mass media.

Technological change in modern society often involves a combination of

information, genetics, computerization, and biomedicine. These developments

in society have transformed the old debate about nature and nurture,

and raised new issues about surveillance, individual freedoms, eugenics, and

governmentality. The relationship between the human body, technology, and

society has become increasingly complex, and the emergence of the sociology

of the body can be regarded as one response to these intellectual, social, and

legal developments. The ownership of the human body has become a major

issue in legal conflicts over patients, patents, and profits. The early stages

in the evolution of the sociology of the body were closely associated with

feminism, the anthropology of Mary Douglas, and the work of Maurice Merleau-

Ponty and Michel Foucault, but developments in micro-biology and information

sciences are beginning to change these concerns with the body “as

organism” to the body as “genetic map.” These new challenges arising from

the implications of genetics for human aging and reproduction have given

rise to the possibility of what Francis Fukuyama has called “our posthuman

future.” This new intellectual confrontation between biology, informatics,

and sociology has also produced a considerable re-assessment of the legacy

of Charles Darwin, social Darwinism, and evolutionary thought. The social



problems associated with the application of genetics have stimulated a renewed

interest in the changing nature of reproduction, gender, and the

family. Stem-cell research, therapeutic cloning, and regenerative medicine

are changing the intellectual horizons of medical sociology, and are raising

new questions (for example, can we live forever?) – for which we have no

satisfactory answers.

A reassessment of the relationships between sociology and biology is recasting

the old debate between education and endowment, and in turn forcing us

to rethink sex, sexuality, and gender. In the 1960s and 1970s mainstream

sociology often neglected feminist theory and gender. The debate about how

to measure social class, for example, often failed to take into account the class

position of women by concentrating exclusively on the class position of men

in the formal labor market. In the 1970s and 1980s, feminist analysis flourished

and the work of Juliet Mitchell, Kate Millett, Germaine Greer, Ann

Oakley, and Shulamith Firestone had a comprehensive impact on sociological

research. Although feminist thought was often fragmented into materialist,

socialist, and postmodern versions, feminism gave rise to a rich legacy of social

theory and empirical work. Sociology has also been influenced by sexual

politics, debates about identity, and queer theory. These debates over gender,

sex, and sexuality were heavily influenced by the debate around social construction,

perhaps first clearly enunciated by Simone de Beauvoir’s claim that

women are created by society rather than by biology. Medical technology has

transformed the conditions under which people reproduce and has produced

new methods of reproduction that do not require sexual intercourse between

men and women. These new reproductive technologies are forcing sociologists

to re-think the social relations of biological reproduction.

The emergence of gender studies, women’s studies, and gay and lesbian

studies has often meant that traditional areas such as sociology of the family

and marriage have been overshadowed by new questions and new foci of

research. While contemporary sociologists explore gay and lesbian cultures,

an older, perhaps more socially conservative, tradition, represented by the

work of Peter Laslett, Peter Willmott, Michael Young, and Elizabeth Bott in

Britain and by W. J. Goode in America, went into decline. This relative decline

of the family as a key topic of research is ironic – given the alleged ideological

dominance of heterosexuality (“heteronormativity”) in mainstream society

and in conventional sociology. We can imagine, however, that current sociological

views of what constitutes gender and sexuality will have to change

radically with changes in how humans reproduce through new reproductive

technologies, surrogacy, same-sex marriages, “designer babies,” and cloning.

These developments constitute a considerable component of this Dictionary.

Alongside the sociology of the body, there has been an important development

of the sociology of the emotions, where the work of Jack Barbalet has

been particularly innovative. By drawing on the legacy of William James,

Barbalet pushed the debate about emotions away from social psychology

towards seeing emotions as the link between social structure and the social



actor. His work reminds us of the connection between contemporary theories

of emotion and the work of classical economists such as Adam Smith in The

Theory of Moral Sentiments of 1759. The contemporary analysis of emotions

needs to be understood as part of a legacy of classical sociology and the


Another way of approaching these critical debates is through the influence of

postmodernism. Because conventional sociology has been associated with the

Enlightenment tradition and modernity, postmodern theory was seen as an

attack on classical sociology. Thinkers such as Durkheim and Weber were held

up to be the epitome of modern as opposed to postmodern social theory. There

are at least two problems associated with these critical evaluations of classical

sociology. They often fail to distinguish between postmodernity as a state of

society (for example, as illustrated by flexibility in employment, the dominance

of service industries, the growth of information technologies, the rise of consumerism,

and the general decline of a post-Fordist economy) and postmodernism

as a type of theory (which employs textual analysis, irony, bathos, essay

form, and aphorism). We can therefore understand postmodernity without

difficulty via sociological concepts (that are related to the theory of postindustrial

society)without having to accept postmodern theory. Postmodern theory in

Europe is still influential in the sociological analysis of culture and identity, and

it was influential in the expansion of new methodologies that questioned the

legacies of positivismand behaviorism. In the postwar period there was initially

a dominant focus on survey data and quantitative analysis, but there has been a

growing interest in qualitative methodologies, ethnographies, biographical research,

oral history, and discourse analysis. There is also an emerging interest in

the use of electronic communication as a method of conducting research. These

movements in social theory – constructionism, postmodernism, poststructuralism,

and queer theory – have been somewhat eclipsed by the growing interest in

globalization theory and awareness of the negative aspects of globalization such

as new wars, terrorism, slavery, and crime. With the impact of globalization,

new debates will emerge in sociology around the question of cosmopolitanism

and global sociology.

The Cambridge Dictionary of Sociology attempts therefore to cover these new,

important and controversial developments in sociology, but it is also concerned

not to become disconnected from the sociological tradition. In developing

this modern Dictionary, I have been at pains to retain a lively and

committed relationship to the diverse traditions and legacies of classical

sociology, which have shaped the sociological imagination in the last century.

Maintaining the core of sociology preserves a basis for further innovation and

creativity. The Dictionary has been developed to recognize the continuities

between classical sociology and the work of such sociologists as Ulrich Beck,

Raymond Boudon, Pierre Bourdieu, James Coleman, Anthony Giddens, and

Neil Smelser. The Dictionary attempts to be relevant to modern social theory

and changes in contemporary society, while describing these developments in

the context of the legacy of classical sociology.



How to use this Dictionary

Sociology is a critical discipline, and its concepts are typically contested.

There is no consensus over the meaning of globalization, risk, information,

culture, and society. The aim of this Dictionary has therefore been discursive.

Its entries are designed to illustrate and debate concepts, showing their

diverse origins and contested meanings. Some entries – on culture, family,

gender, genetics, globalization, health, information, mass media and communications,

power, race and ethnicity, religion, science and technology studies,

social movements, and work and employment – are very long (around 5,000

words). These major entries allow authors to explore these critical issues in

depth. The variable length of entries is intended to reflect the complexity and

importance of different topics and fields in sociology. These large entries on

key aspects of society are intended to be, as it were, the intellectual backbone

of the Dictionary.

The Dictionary also contains a large number of entries on sociologists, both

classical and contemporary. While the selection of these entries will always be

somewhat arbitrary, they are intended to illustrate current debates as reflected

in the work of living sociologists. This selection of contemporary

sociologists will cause some degree of annoyance to those living sociologists

who are not included. I hope they will accept my apologies for their absence,

but these choices are unavoidably eccentric to some degree. I have if anything

been overly inclusive rather than exclusive.

There is no list of bibliographical references at the end of the entries.

Because references are included in the text, the reader can get an immediate

grasp of the key bibliographical sources. The entries also contain many cross

references in bold print that allow the reader to make immediate connections

to other related entries. With foreign works, the first date in round brackets

refers to its original publication, while dates in square brackets refer to

publication dates of titles in English translation. Where possible I have referred

to the English titles of translated works rather than to the original

language of the publication. There are no footnotes or endnotes. The aim

throughout has been to achieve simplicity rather than clutter entries with

scholarly conventions that are not necessarily helpful to the reader.

Finally, the authors have been drawn from many countries in a bid to

reflect the contemporary richness and cosmopolitanism of sociology. The

entries are written in a simple, discursive, and accessible language that

strives to avoid jargon or excessive dependence on a technical and arid


vocabulary. I have encouraged authors to write in business-like, clear English.

There are relatively few diagrams, charts, or figures.

It is intended that the Dictionary will offer a lively defense of sociology as a

vibrant and expanding field of study. The more complex and difficult modern

society becomes, the more we need a relevant, critical, and energetic sociological

understanding of society. This Dictionary is intended to assist that


Bryan S. Turner

National University of Singapore

How to use this Dictionary




The term account – along with the related terms

accountable and accountability – is a term of art

largely associated with ethnomethodology. However,

it has come into wider usage as various

broadly ethnomethodological insights and sensibilities

have drifted into mainstream sociology.

Following Marvin Scott’s and Stanford Lyman’s

article “Accounts” (1968) in the American Sociological

Review, some users of the term have dwelt

primarily on accounts as linguistic devices used to

neutralize the disapproval caused by seemingly

untoward behavior. Thus, the term has been distinguished

as a particular subset of the category

explanation. According to this line of argument,

accounts may be divided into two sub-types: excuses

and justifications. The first device acknowledges

an act to have been “bad, wrong, or

inappropriate” but denies the apparently culpable

party is fully responsible for what has occurred.

The second device denies the act was bad, wrong,

or inappropriate in the first place. Insofar as these

devices rely for their efficacy on invoking what

C. Wright Mills once called certain shared “vocabularies

of motive” (1940) in the American

Journal of Sociology, they may be used as empirical

windows on the wider world of moral sensibilities

shared by a studied social group.

Ethnomethodologists use the terms accounts,

accountable, and accountability in a rather more

inclusive and fundamental way. Indeed, they

argue that it is only by virtue of its accountability

that any kind of collaborative social action is at all

possible. In its specifically ethnomethodological

sense, the accountability of social action is more

than just a matter of linguistically excusing or

justifying untoward conduct. It entails exhibiting

and coordinating the orderliness and reasonability

of social action in the widest sense. Hence, the

terms account, accountable, and accountability

are used to capture various constituent features

of social action as such. Social action is accountable

in this sense to the extent that its witnesses

find it non-random, coherent, meaningful, and

oriented to the accomplishment of practical goals.

Moreover, for ethnomethodologists, the accountability

of social action is much more than just a

theoretical matter or one of disinterested interpretation.

As social actors, we are not just accountable

to one another in the sense that we can

linguistically describe each other’s actions. Rather,

the very fact that social action is describable in this

way, or that it can be accounted for, is linked to

another sense of its accountability. As social actors,

we are also accountable in the sense that we may

be held to account if our behavior fails to exhibit

orderliness and reasonability to those with whom

we find ourselves engaged. Social actors need not

linguistically describe conduct in order to find it

accountable in these senses.

Ethnomethodologists also stress that sociologists

can make use of the fact that social action

is manifestly accountable to social actors themselves

as a resource for making sociological sense

of what is going on in social action. In principle,

all of the various linguistic and non-linguistic

devices through which social actors make their

actions accountable to one another should also be

recoverable for use as resources in the empirical

sociological analysis of their actions.



– see action theory.

action research

– see action theory.

action theory

“Did he jump or was he pushed?” Jumping is an

action. Being pushed is an event. Action theory is

an approach to the study of social life that is based

Share with your friends:
1   2   3   4   5   6   7   8   9   ...   162

The database is protected by copyright © 2020
send message

    Main page