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world of its subjects; it must study their lifeworld.

The idea of the lifeworld has influenced many

sociological perspectives. Harold Garfinkel, the

founder of ethnomethodology, explores the activities

and performances by which people construct

a taken-for-granted lifeworld. Other authors have

taken the lifeworld concept in different directions.

Peter Berger and Thomas Luckmann, in The Social

Construction of Reality (1967), argue that we inhabit

multiple lifeworlds. Moreover, people with social

power can impose their definition of reality on


life-cycle lifeworld


The contemporary German sociologist and philosopher

Ju¨rgen Habermas has also utilized the

concept of the lifeworld. Habermas distinguishes

between the “system” and the lifeworld. The

system is the economic and bureaucratic spheres

of social life, ruled by the criteria of efficiency and

calculability. The lifeworld is the arena of family

and voluntary associations outside these bureaucratic

institutions. It is a realm of background,

intuitive beliefs from which people draw the

knowledge that they use to reach mutual understanding.

The lifeworld is oriented towards unconstrained

communication and the development of

shared values. Habermas argues that the system

has begun to “colonize” the lifeworld, as corporations

increasingly shape everyday life, and

consumerism and mass media influence social

interactions. He fears that more and more aspects

of the lifeworld are controlled by the system

criteria of money and efficiency.



– see religion.

linguistic turn

This is a description of the revolutionary movement

in twentieth-century western philosophy, popularized

by the American philosopher Richard Rorty

who edited a book with the same title, and embodying

the view that philosophical analysis is vitiated

by unexamined uses of ordinary language. Reformers

(such as Moritz Schlick, Rudolf Carnap, and the

early Ludwig Wittgenstein) aimed to construct

the basis for an ideal language whose undefined

descriptive terms would refer to objects that are

directly known, while ordinary language philosophers

(John Austin, the later Wittgenstein, and

others) maintained that language requires detailed

analysis so that the ordinary connotations of linguistic

expressions do not become unexamined

contaminants of philosophical investigation.

The failure of the reformers’ program, most

forcefully articulated in Wittgenstein’s Philosophical

Investigations (1953), opened the way to

widespread recognition of the extent to which

language and symbolic systems are intricated

in every form of social analysis. In the Anglophone

social sciences, this movement issued in the

Austin/Searle theory of speech acts which formed

the basis of Ju¨rgen Habermas’s theory of communicative

competence, and in ethnomethodology,

conversational analysis, and a focus on

the significance of discourse and narrative in

social organization. In European social theory, it

powered an assault on phenomenology that emerged

in the structuralism of Claude Le´vi-Strauss

and the poststructuralism of Michel Foucault, Jacques

Derrida, and others. The methodological

questions raised by the linguistic turn remain

largely unresolved, though the structuring of subjectivity

and social relations by linguistic and

symbol systems that are themselves open and revisable

is a common theme in most forms of social

science influenced by it. JOHN HERITAGE

Lipset, Seymour Martin (1922– )

A leading American sociologist, a past professor at

Harvard and Stanford, and former President of

both the American Sociological Association and

the American Political Science Association, Lipset

is the author and co-author of over two dozen books,

including Agrarian Socialism (1950), Union Democracy

(1956), Social Mobility in Industrial Society (1959), Political

Man (1960), The First New Nation (1963), Revolution

and Counter-Revolution (1969), The Politics of Unreason

(1971), Consensus and Conflict (1985), Continental Divide

(1990), Jews in the New American Scene (1995), American

Exceptionalism (1996), It Didn’t Happen Here (2001),

and The Paradox of American Unionism (2004). These

writings cover a broad range of topics. Perhaps

best known are Lipset’s contributions to political

sociology, such as the theories of democracy

(especially industrial democracy) and authoritarianism,

social stratification and mobility, revolution,

nation formation, and the trade union movement.

According to the original scheme formulated by

Lipset and Stein Rokkan in their Party Systems and

Voter Alignments (1967), the major social and political

cleavages in modern societies – left versus

right, urban–industrial versus rural–agricultural,

religious versus secular, and national versus local –

were formed during a series of revolutions –

industrial, national, and political – between the

eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. These cleavages

gave rise to stable party-ideological divisions

common to all modern western societies. Together

with other students of social mobility, Lipset also

formulated a thesis that the absolute rates of social

fluidity increase with industrial modernization,

and he helped to demolish some myths concerning

the unique social openness of the American society.

The Encyclopedia of Democracy edited by Lipset (1998)

remains the key source in political sociology.


Lockwood, David (1929– )

A British sociologist best known for his contributions

to sociology of social class, occupational

stratification, and social conflict, in his study The

liminality Lockwood, David (1929– )


Blackcoated Worker (1958) Lockwood argued that

the clerical occupational strata in Britain were

losing social status but maintaining social distinctiveness

vis-a`-vis skilled manual workers. This

was followed by a classic study in England, The

Affluent Worker (1969), in which Lockwood participated

as a senior researcher. It confirmed an internal

differentiation within the British working

class, and identified a new segment of privatized,

home- and family-centered manual workers, who

displayed an instrumental orientation towards

work and weak communal ties.

In his early work on social conflict and change,

Lockwood made an important distinction between

social and system integration. The former concerned

the relationship between social collectivities

(classes, strata, and ethno-racial groups); the

latter referred to the relationship between the

elements of the social system, that is institutions

and their clusters, such as the law, the family, and

the economy.

Lockwood’s latest theoretical work, especially

Solidarity and Schism (1992), focuses on the deficiencies

of the Marxist theory of change, and the

Durkheimian and Parsonian integrative functionalism,

especially the functionalist account of

social conflict. While Marxism needs a more explicit

theory of action, the functionalist account,

argues Lockwood, needs a supplement on the

sources of the “systematic distribution and redistribution

of material resources” (1992: 97). Popular

images and classifications that underlie class

and status–occupational divisions have to be causally

linked with the actual patterns of resource

distribution in society. Norms and perceptions

perpetuate social order but do not explain it.


log linear analyses

These are a form of multivariate analysis particularly

suited to categorical variables. Unlike true

measures, such as life expectancy or income,

many sociological variables are naturally categorical,

such as gender, ethnic group, or economic

status (employed, unemployed, full-time carer,

student, or retired). For bivariate analyses, the

relationship between two categorical variables

can be examined by looking at a cross-tabulation

of the two variables and calculating the appropriate

row or column percentages. However, for more

complex problems (for example, to examine the

different patterns of economic status in men and

women in different immigrant groups) more advanced

analyses are necessary to explore the relationships

and interactions between variables. Log

linear analyses are a class of statistics that can

analyze such multi-dimensional tables.

One particular type of log linear analysis, logistic

regression, is used more than any other

in sociology. This can be seen as a direct equivalent

of multiple regression, but with a dichotomous

dependent variable, instead of a continuous

dependent variable.

Log linear analyses are a relatively new innovation

in sociological statistics. Whereas other statistical

techniques were developed at the start of

the twentieth century, log linear analyses have

only entered common usage since the 1980s. Although

functionally similar to regression techniques,

log linear analyses are based on more

advanced mathematics than correlations or linear

regressions. BRENDAN J . BURCHELL

logical positivism

– see positivism.

lone-parent family

The terminology used to depict parents (typically

mothers) who have borne or who raise children

outside marriage has changed considerably since

1900. This shifting terminology reflects changing

social attitudes and is a kind of cultural barometer

of the acceptance of alternative family forms

in Western societies. One longstanding term was

“the unmarried mother,” and her child might

have been referred to as a “bastard” or, more

recently, as illegitimate. This terminology did

not depict the mother and child as constituting a

family at all, because a socially acceptable family

required both a husband and a marriage certificate.

From “unmarried mother” the terminology

changed to “single-parent” family. This reflected

the recognition that fathers too could raise children

alone, as well as acknowledging that parents

and children living in a household together were,

in fact, a family. The subsequent shift to the terminology

of “lone-parent family” was an acknowledgment

that the most common route into this

form of parenthood was divorce rather than nonmarital

conception. This means that the status of

lone-parent family in the United Kingdom and the

United States today is reached through marital

breakdown, rather than through contraceptive

failure; it also means that lone parents are now

much less likely to be teenage (or young) mothers

than in the 1950s or 1960s (Kiernan et al., Lone

Motherhood in Twentieth-Century Britain, 1999). To

complicate this picture further, it is now recognized

that many unmarried mothers are not

really lone parents at all. They may be unmarried,

log linear analyses lone-parent family


but they are often living with a partner in a

cohabiting relationship.

This shifting terminology may reflect a

changing moral climate and a greater degree of

acceptance that families come in a variety of

shapes and sizes, but lone-parent families remain

a particular concern for social policy and governments.

Lone-parent families are much more likely

to live in poverty than two-parent families, which

means, in turn, that their children are more likely

to face material hardship than children born and

raised in two-parent households (K. Glendinning

and J. Millar, Women and Poverty in Britain, 1992). So

although moral condemnation may have waned,

lone parents are often still depicted as “problem

families.” Of course this definition relates to whether

the poverty that lone-parent families face

is seen as being a consequence of their “choice”

to leave marriage or never to marry (that is fecklessness)

in which case they are problem families,

or whether it is seen as being a consequence of

the difficulty for mothers of going out to work

while raising children alone, combined with inadequate

rates of state benefits, in which case they

are families with problems. Right-wing commentators

have raised fears that an underclass is

developing, with mothers raising sons without

discipline or work ethic and daughters without

sexual morals (Karen Struening, New Family Values,

2002). Others, who are more left-leaning, point

instead to Nordic societies where lone parenthood

is much less likely to be associated with poverty

and disadvantage because of the state provision of

child-care, family-friendly work policies, and

higher rates of welfare benefits for those who

cannot work. The status and material well-being

of lone-parent families (particularly those headed

by mothers) is therefore highly dependent on state

policies and the extent to which governments wish

to discourage lone parenthood in preference for

married parenthood (J. Millar and K. Rowlingson,

Lone Parents, Employment and Social Policy: Crossnational

Comparisons, 2001). CAROL SMART

longitudinal study

– see panel study.

looking-glass self

– see Charles Horton Cooley.

low-inference descriptors

These descriptors are one of a range of strategies

used to promote the validity of qualitative research.

Other strategies include triangulation, deviant case

analysis, and reflexivity. Specifically, low-inference

descriptors entail the use of summary descriptions

based closely on participants’ accounts, and the use

of field notes. A commonly used low-inference

descriptor is verbatim quotation.

There are, however, a number of potential problems

with the use of low-inference descriptors as a

strategy for ensuring a study’s validity. Researchers

are divided as to the relative merits of descriptive

summary and isolated verbatim quotation

versus the use of detailed transcripts and conversational-

or discourse-analytic commentary. In Discourse

Analysis Means Doing Analysis (2003), Charles

Antaki et al. identify six possible analytic shortcomings

for qualitative researchers working with

discursive data. These are: (1) under-analysis

through summary; (2) under-analysis through

taking sides; (3) under-analysis through overquotation

or through isolated quotation; (4) the

circular identification of discourses and mental

constructs; (5) false survey; and (6) analysis that

consists of simply spotting features.

As Harvey Sacks noted, we make inferences by

a deceptively simple activity: that of giving a

description. Herein lies a potential concern for

qualitative researchers. By giving a description

of a description, one can, at best, lose vital information,

through eliding the detail and conversational

nuances of the original. Low-inference

descriptors, such as summary paraphrasing may,

on close inspection, themselves be replete with

(high-inference) descriptive psychological language

– imputed motives, beliefs, emotions, and

so on. This may be problematic in that the interactional

details of participants’ own accounts

of psychological matters may be obscured.

Further, the use of transcribed verbatim quotes,

though laudable, and a necessary precursor to

analysis, does not, in and of itself, constitute analysis

as such. Indeed, the extraction of participants’

utterances from their original conversational

context may actually prohibit some variants of discourse

analysis (including conversational analysis).


Luckmann, Thomas (1927– )

Born in Germany, Luckmann is a sociology professor

at the University of Konstanz. Influenced by

Alfred Schutz, he played a significant role in

making phenomenology more accessible to sociologists

through The Social Construction of Reality

(co-authored with Peter L. Berger, 1966) and Phenomenology

and Sociology (1978). Luckmann sought

to bridge the increased differentiation of disciplines,

itself the product of modernity and of

the secularization of social theory from the

longitudinal study Luckmann, Thomas (1927– )


control of religious interpretations. He was especially

interested in reintegrating sociology’s philosophical

foundations with the positivism of social

science. Luckmann’s various writings emphasize

the centrality of human experience in everyday

life and the lived, reflexive intersubjectivity of

everyday communication (thus influencing Ju¨rgen

Habermas’s theory of communicative action).

Extending his modernity/secularization thesis to

religion, Luckmann argued that religion would

become deinstitutionalized and lose its functional

monopolization of social life as a result of the

increased differentiation of society. In The Invisible

Religion: The Transformation of Symbols in Industrial

Society (1963 [trans. 1967]), he described how the

religious dimensions of human experience would

be forced out of the public sphere and into the

privatized inner-directed self, thus making for a

new individualized religious consciousness. In

later work in R. Fenn, Sociology of Religion (2001),

Luckmann highlighted how the “moralizing

sermon,” that is instruction in what constitutes a

good life – assumed to be a staple in shaping worldviews

in traditional Christian societies, though it

may have declined within the churches – is intrinsic

to human life, and thus variants on it have

become part of the communicative stock of public

discourse in modern society. MICHELE DILLON

Luhmann, Niklas, (1927–1998)

Making a substantial contribution to the development

of social theory, Luhmann studied at Harvard

with Talcott Parsons, who influenced his work. His

other influences include general system theory,

mile Durkheim’s evolutionary perspective, Arnold

Gehlen’s philosophical anthropology, and phenomenology.

He was Professor of Sociology at the University

of Bielefeld. Luhmann developed a system

theoretical approach to society, which in many

respects was at loggerheads with the critical theory

of Ju¨rgen Habermas. This led to heated intellectual

exchanges between Luhmann and Habermas. Luhmann’s

later work was heavily influenced

by Humberto Maturana and Francisco Varela’s

notions of autopoiesis, and he began treating society

as a self-organizing system. Especially influential

among his works are Social Systems (1985 [trans.

1995]) and Essays on Self-Reference (1990).

In Luhmann’s theory, systems can range from

the physiological to the social. Systems always

operate within an environment and have to reduce

its complexity. Complexity depends on the

number of actual or possible events; the reduction

of complexity refers to the process by which relevant

events are selected. In the case of social

systems, the reduction of complexity is achieved

through communication of meaning (Sinn). Central

to this process is “double contingency”: the process

by which, in interactions, individuals have to take

into account the orientation of other individuals

towards them. For Luhmann, it follows that a social

system is an autopoietic or self-referential system:

that is, a system that interprets the environment,

potentially undermining its autonomy, so that it

reinforces its autonomy. There are three components

to any self-referential system: the code, the

structure or program, and the process. Codes are

binary oppositions through which information is

processed (for example, true versus false). Structure

refers to the central values, normative regulations,

and expectations, and process refers to the ongoing

interaction. In self-reproducing systems, the code

remains identical. The structure and process can


Modernity implies more contingency and complexity,

so more sophisticated techniques are

needed to reduce complexity: for instance, social

differentiation and self-reflexive procedures. Differentiation

can be either “segmental” (the different

parts fulfil the same functions) or “non-segmental”

(the different parts fulfil different functions).

The non-segmental type can be either “hierarchical”

or “functional” (with no hierarchy between

the different parts). For reducing complexity, functional

differentiation is superior to hierarchical

differentiation, which in turn is better than segmental

differentiation. Historically, the segmental

type comes first and functional differentiation

comes last. Examples of self-reflexive procedures

are: teaching how to teach, or studying how research

is done. They allow for continuous adjustment

of the social system to an increasingly

unpredictable environment.

Luhmann is critical of sociologists who describe

differentiation and the shift to modernity in negative

terms. Many of them use a premodern logic to

describe modernity. Differentiation does not necessary

lead to disorder and conflict; it is central to

the creation of order and cohesion in modern society.

Likewise, it is problematic to talk about contemporary

society in terms of alienation or mass

culture. Impersonal relations provide us with

unprecedented levels of freedom. PATRICK BAERT

Luka´cs, Gyorgy (Georg) (1885–1971)

A Marxist philosopher and literary critic, Luka´cs

was born in Budapest, and between 1919 and

1929 he was one of the leaders of the Hungarian

Communist movement. He made important

contributions to social theory, the study of class

Luhmann, Niklas, (1927–1998) Luka´cs, Gyorgy (Georg) (1885–1971)


consciousness, and the sociological study of literature.

Before World War I he was the intellectual

leader of the “Sunday Circle” that included Karl

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