Note: This is a much shorter version of the 3rd Edition of the Red Feather Dictionary. The Complete version is available in hard copy from Westview Press. This greatly shortened version is made available through the courtesy of Westview Press as a sampler to encourage one to purchase the hard copy. TR Young and Bruce Arrigo, Editors.
THE RED FEATHER DICTIONARY
CRITICAL SOCIAL SCIENCE
Visits Since 20 May, 2000
Act: Latin: agere = to do. Early philosophers called the Scholastics used the
concept, first act, to refer to the form of a thing while second act was used to refer to
what it did. In symbolic interactional theory, Mead used the concept of the act to refer
to the basis unit of social meaning. An act is not just behavior but behavior which is
used to hang meaning on. The gesture is, for Mead, a physical motion with which one
conveys meaning to another person who has learned how to interpret it. See Act, Philosophy
Act, Philosophy of: One of the more important issues in all of social philosophy centers around the question, 'To what degree are humans the passive object of history and/or acting subjects which can plan and fulfill their own destiny. The structuralist answer, in its more deterministic claims, is that single human beings are the object [not subject] of social forces. The Interactionist view, in its most reductionist moments, argues that each individual is the object and agent of its own destiny. If a person is rich or poor, it is due to their own merits or failings.
In philosophical terms, an act is only an act when there is insight and the conscious use of material goods to change outcomes. For example, McDonald's claims to sell the same Big Mac in every restaurant in the world and thus defeat both individual action and culture variety. Your assignment, if you care to take it, is to check it out; is Big Mac the same in England, Japan, Nicaragua or Vienna? Do McDonald's clerks do and say things to customers not scripted and rehearsed and sanctioned by supervisors?? If so, not even a corporation as large and as powerful as McDonald's can defeat human action. See alienation, the 'I,' Praxis.
Acton, Lord (1834-1971): Acton's dictum on power is basic to all efforts for social justice: power tends to corrupt; absolute power corrupts absolutely. T.R. Young offers a complementary dictum: poverty tends to corrupt; absolute poverty corrupts absolutely.
Advertising: A 200 billion dollar industry (1996) in which market demand is created for products in order to realize profit. Products which are essentially similar to others of the same kind are endowed with special symbolic meaning [sexuality, power, magic, or status] in order to increase demand and thus expand a market enough to absorb all that is/can be produced. In capitalism, markets are made small since workers are not paid 100% of the value of the goods they produce--hence cannot buy back 100% of the product. The too, capitalism disemploys ever more people and the market shrinks more. Then too, the quest for profits lowers qualities; advertizing offers the dramaturgical facsimile of quality or necessity to those who buy time and talent on the mass media. Advertising is usually directed at those who have discretionary income; young, single working professionals (since they have relatively more discretionary income) or the housewife (who must make a choice between items produced under standardized conditions). A major problem generated by the advertising world is the preemption of artistic talent and information media for commercial purposes. A secondary problem is the use of sex, violence and sports to generate publics for products otherwise without special merit. See Realization, the problem of.
Aesthetic (Socialist): The socialist understanding of all forms of art is not divorced from everyday life nor restricted to an elite in the form of "high culture." In socialist thought, art and society as a totality are reunited. Art is at once an affirmation and a critique of social life. While capitalist art aims to celebrate privatism and consumption, socialist art speaks to questions of solidarity, species being, and liberated nature. It is neither one-sidedly subjective nor one-sidedly objectified. It does not tend to freeze social relations. Rather it emphasizes the processual character of society and nature. It does not "redeem" the bitter imperfection of life by diversion, but transforms, illuminates, and mobilizes people to action.
Aged, lmmiseration of: The marxist theory of the problems besetting the aged focuses upon the dynamics of capitalism. Older workers are less productive, more assertive and prone to illnesses-all of which affect costs and profit. The aged (arbitrarily defined as 55+) are forcibly retired since capitalist can make more profit on the labor power of the younger, more docile worker. And when the aged have nothing to exchange for profit, they are excluded from the various delivery systems in capitalism: health and medical, food, shelter, clothing, transport, recreation and education. In a popular democracy, such as the U.S., the state, responding to voting, provides goods and services to the pauperized aged but, in a depersonalized rather than social mode. Thus many people who built the roads, bridges, houses and provided essential services at one stage in their life find themselves miserable as they grow older in the wealthiest country in the history of civilization.
Agency, human: The ability of people to change the institutions in which they live. In both pre-modern and modern sensibility, human agency is absent, minimal or viewed as madness and deviancy. In many pre-modern cultures, there are Gods who know and control every act of every living thing, hence very little agency is possible. In modern science, 'laws' are said to regulate all human behavior; sexual, economic, criminal, or political. In postmodern science, human agency has much more room. In Chaos theory, there are moments when agency is possible and times when it is very difficult to change things. Democracy presumes people have both the wit and the ability to change 'social laws' to some other pattern. Radical scholarship tries to enhance that capacity.
Agriculture, hydraulic societies: There have been five great hydraulic societies in human history: the first what in Persia along the Tigris and Euphrates rivers. The second was along the Nile in Egypt; the third along the Ganges in India; the fourth along the Yellow River in China and the fifth in around what is now called Mexico City. Hydraulic agriculture required social differentiation [specialization]; it did not require social stratification as so many historians argue. But both occurred to change forever the ways in which people live. But see the new developments above.
Ahistoricism: The term refers to a scientific trick by which a given social form is endowed with the appearance of being part of the eternal and natural order of things. For example, Weber's study of bureaucracy ignores the origins, the changes, the many variations produced by historical conditions. Similarly, Hegel and Simmel's ideas about Ideal Forms tends to destroy the changing, variable historical nature of social realities. All social issues are seen as purely technical questions since the basic form is seen as eternal and unchanging. Ahistorism tends to freeze analysis in the present and to reify the status quo. Bureaucracy, gender, class, racist and other social forms thereby cease to be a human products and begin to be a means of domination (or structural force). (After Goldman).
Alienation: The domination of humans by their own products; material, political, and ideological. The separation of humans from their humanity; the interference with the production of authentic culture; the fragmentation of social bonds and community. Any process which reduces people to their animal nature. Liberal definitions of alienation have to do with feelings; socialist definitions have more to do with relations and positions in a social order. In Marx, a variety of terms are used to capture the flavor and variety implicit in the process of alienation: "Trennung" (divorce or separation), "Spaltung" (division or cleavage), "Absonderung" (separation or withdrawal), "Verderben" (spoiled, corrupt), "sich selbst verlieren" (lost to oneself), "auf sich zuruckziehen" (withdrawn into oneself), "ausserlich machen" (externalized), "alle Gattungsbande zerreissen" (ties with others disintegrated), "die Menschenwelt in eine Welt atomisticher Individuen auflosen" (humanity dissolved into fragmented individuals). Taken together these constructs constitute and create the meaning of the term "alienation" (Entausserung, Entfremung). (From Meszaros).
Alienation (assumptions): A militant humanism makes the following assumptions: (1) that humans may become dominated by their own social and cultural products, (2) that alienation is the chief source of conflict in society, (3) that there is a hierarchy of forms (economic, ideological, political and religious) and 4) that in capitalist societies, alienation is produced by a economic system in which people and cultural products are transformed into a commodity to be sold for private profit. These contrast to the premarxian view that alienation involves separation from God; the Hegelian view that alienation involves failure to understand objective reality or the Freudian assumption that alienation involves separation between different parts of the psyche. Each view entails a different solution; The first social revolution, the second an effort to return to a state of grace by hard work, faith and/or meditation; the Hegelian views calls forth modern, order-oriented science as a solution to alienation, while the Freudian approach requires that one come to terms with one's own anxieties and compulsions.
Alienation, psychological: Most American sociologists reduce alienation to psychological states: feelings of loneliness, powerlessness, hopelessness. For socialist sociology, happy and well paid workers can be alienated; they can be fired tomorrow, they can lose their pensions overnight, they can be re-assigned from friends and family, they must be polite and helpful to those defined as 'superior' in the table of organization of the firm in which they work (after C. Wright Mills). And those at the bottom of a stratification system can live for years with perfect peace of mind: women, slaves, wage laborers, migrant workers are able to fashion both culture and solidarity out of the fragments of wealth they receive (after E.P. Thompson).
Animal functions: Eating, sleeping, dressing, drinking. In general, those activities which keep a person alive physically but not morally. Capitalist society tends to reduce evermore people to animal functions as they become surplus to the productive needs of capitalism.
Anomia: A phrase coined to refer to the psychological feelings produced by Anomie: normlessless. The idea is that a normative order brings security and psychic peace to people. Such a phrase neatly switches attention from the social conditions of alienation to the individual response to that disorder. Those who resist and rebel within racist, sexist, slave or elitist normative structures suffer from 'anomia:' they are said to be ill, maladjusted, sinful, or poorly socialized.
Anomie: Normlessness (lit. without order. a=without; nomy=order). A term used by Durkheim to indicate "the collapse of the normative order." The term implies that conformity to norms is natural and normal; that resistance is pathological. Then too, embedded in the concept is the idea that norms are above and beyond the individuals who are said to organize their behavior in terms of the normative structure. However, there is a marxist position that the normative structure is a product of transacting humans rather than a "superorganic" thing. To imply, as did Durkheim, that the normative structure is a thing apart from the behavior of people actively engaged in producing situated patterns of behavior through judgment, insight, and mutual purpose is a conservative political act. The political character of the act comes from a misleading of students of sociology about the nature of norms, normative structures and norming. Norms are not eternally fixed directives for behavior to which all normal people subscribe and which collapse apart from the understanding of people that the norms are inadequate to deal with the present situation. See alienation.
Appropriation: The practice of defining some part of the wealth produced by the social power of workers as "profit" and using it for private purposes rather than for the common good. Actually, there is no such thing as profit; production always absorbs energy and is a net drain on the larger social and natural system. Profit and therefore appropriation are possible only by transferring the costs of production to the workers, to the consumers, to the environment and/or to the future generation.
Appropriation (Mechanisms): The means by which the surplus value of labor is appropriated directly and controlled by those who do not produce are varied indeed. These mechanisms include sharecropping, tenancy, tribute, debt peonage, slavery, wage relations and impressment into work crews. Indirect ways to appropriate labor power and its products include taxes, profits, interest, rents, tithes, tolls, and fees. Think about the social relations such mechanisms require, and the kind of political apparatus necessary to enforce them as well as the costs to a society to pay for these mechanisms of appropriate of wealth.
Art: Socialist/marxist theory of art is that it should grasp the central contradictions/problems of life; make their sources visible; affirm and politicize workers, students, women and other oppressed minorities. It should be integrated into all aspects of daily life [food, furnishings, clothing, tools, factories, and housing] rather than confined to a museum or gallery to be viewed once in a while. Most capitalist, feudal or bureaucratic socialist art tends to celebrate those in power and defuse political critique.
Artificial Intelligence: A term used to suggest that a machine can be made to think in such a way that it cannot be distinguished from human thought. A.M. Turing gave a proof that a machine could be built that was more complex than the sum of its parts. Today there is much work in artificial intelligence; some chess programs are better than most human chess players.
Artificial Stupidity: A term introduced by T.R. Young in a lecture at the Fielding Institute in 1992 with which to refer to societies which had the technical capacity to develop authentic self knowledge but did not do so for political and economic reasons. Compare to naturally stupid societies which do not have the information technology and so could not be intelligent if they tried. Simple societies could be, however, wise.
Attractor: In nonlinear theory, an attractor is that region in time space to which a system tends to go [seems to be attracted]. There are five generic attractors in Chaos theory, 1) a point attractor so called since simple systems such as a pendulum can be found at a given point at a given time with great precision. 2) a limit attractor so called since a system cannot exceed the upper and lower values for any given measure; think of a thermostat. 3) then nonlinearity sets in; a Torus is a dough-nut shaped region in space within which a system can be found. We can't tell just where inside the dough-nut the system will be found but we know that the boundaries of the dough-nut set the limits for the movement of the system on selected variables; think of the norms controlling braking at a stop light; most people vary around a mean; few come to a full stop; few dash right through. 4) a butterfly attractor is most interesting since, when these appear, the same system without the addition of any new parts, will suddenly move to two [or more] outcome basins of attraction. Instead of one and only one outcome for a given kind of system [say a drop of water or a gender relations], suddenly new patterns emerge. The drop of water may take up two regions in time-space with very uncertain paths between these two points. Or, in some conditions, men and women may form 2, 4, or more marriage forms quite different from traditional relationships. 5) then there is a region of very unpredictable patterns which we call deep chaos. But even in deep chaos, there are regions of order; it is in deep chaos where one finds qualitatively more life forms, forms of crime, forms of religion, politics, economics or forms of marriage emerging. The factors driving the change to new and more complex dynamics are the text of postmodern science.
Attractor, Strange: The concept refers to the behavior of a system. In modern science, systems are supposed to behave with enough precision such that formal, axiomatic and logical theory can be built. Most complex systems do not behave so predictably; they are strange in terms of the expectations of modern scientists but not in terms of natural occurring dynamics.
Author: In postmodern discourse, any one who does physical, natural or social science is an 'author.' This usage derives out of the larger notion that all science is a 'text' which is one of many stories which could be generated out of the incredibly complex fabric of natural and social dynamics. See 'writerly.'
Authority: Many societies allocate more social power to some statuses and require those in 'lower' status comply with the orders, commands, wishes or expectations of 'higher' authority.
When social power is vested in an office or person, such person has 'authority.' Weber lists three kinds: traditional [that of a parent or priest], legal-rational [that of a formal organization with rules and people to enforce them] as well as charismatic. As Simmel noted, such "power" is always a social product and lasts only as long as the "subordinates" continue to reify the person/office as an "authority." However, when authority is naively reified, people do give up some of their autonomy and allow others to direct their behavior. Both human agency and personal morality are thereby subverted.
Banditry, social: A form of pre-theoretical rebellion in which particular nobles
or capitalists are the target of violence or theft. The bandit steals from, kidnaps, or
murders rich and/or famous persons and shares out the wealth to kin and friends. Banditry
tends to disappear as social justice increases. Robin Hood and Pretty Boy Floyd are among
the better known bandits. Many viewed Jesse and Frank James as social bandits since they
robbed the banks which were thought to be robbing the worker and farmer.
Base: The means of production of material culture and the relations of production is found in the economic base. The tools, factories, techniques, and lines of commodity production form one part of the base. The other part of the base consists of the way the producers of value relate to each other and to those who do not produce value. In slavery, the relationship is that of slave and master; in feudalism, of Lord and Serf; in capitalism, that of worker and owner; in socialism, that of worker and state; in communism, that of worker to other workers and to the unpaid but important labor force. In capitalism, there is a tendency to improve the means of production and to destroy the relations of production. See also Superstructure.
Base Communities: Nuns, Priests, Preachers and Ministers who orient their ministry to Liberation Theology (c.f.) help peons, peasants, workers and/or minorities to form strong and mutually supportive communities in which worship extends beyond the situated Drama of the Holy to encompass all of daily life. The idea is to create an approximation of the heavenly City/Community here on earth by opposing and dismantling new and old structures of domination.
Behavior modification: A political technique by which the principles of psychology are used to eliminate behavior that is embarrassing, awkward, or irritating to others. By circumventing the self-system and by eliminating interaction, behavioral mod can enable a small cadre of psychologists to manage the behavior of a mass of consumers, prisoners, students, patients, or others. Since authentic therapy is labor-intensive, behavioral mod is a cheap way for the state to solve its problems of an unruly surplus population of reluctant students, workers and abandoned children.
Blanqui, Louis, (1805-1881). A French socialist who gave Marx and socialism several concepts: class struggle, proletarian revolution, dictatorship of the proletariat and the idea that socialists should form a small, secret group to engineer the overthrow of capitalism.
Blocs, Economic: A coalition of several nation-state pursuing common goals and setting forth common rights and obligations of those who reside within the bloc. There are three competing views of how the global economy works: first there is the idea that there are some 160 sovereign nation-states which compete freely among themselves; then there is the view that there is a Capitalist World Order in which the Group of Seven [see which] is at the top and poor nations ranged in layers below that. But recently, nations have been joining into larger economic systems called blocs. The European Common Market, the North American Free Trade Association are the most developed. Over the new 20 to 50 years, we might well see some 10 or 12 such blocs competing for markets, raw materials and for rights to deep sea or outer space resources.
Bloc Formation: There are several factors which call forth large, multi-national blocs and which pattern their composition. First, in unity, there is strength to compete with the more powerful nations; Japan, Germany and the USA are so much stronger in economic and political terms that African, Asian and Latin American nation-states must co-operate if they are to compete/resist them. Secondly, the rich capitalist nations have a common interest in suppressing liberation movements and guaranteeing the free movement of goods and profits around the world. Then too there are many factors which bind people across national boundaries; language, religion, colonial status and such. Blocs are likely to be the largest, most visible and most active social units in the 21st c.
Bourgeoisie: Old English; burg: old French; burgeis, bourges = dwelling; by extension, those who live in town; craftspersons, merchants, officials and such. Now, that sector of the population of a society which, by one rationale or another, expropriates part of the surplus value produced by the proletariat. It carries strong and often negative emotional content in the writings of the Left.
Bourgeois revolution: A political revolution in which the rights of the individual to pursue private goals and to accumulate property is guaranteed. A series of bourgeois revolutions from the English revolution in 1688 to the American revolution in 1775 replaced feudalism with capitalism.
Bourgeois society: One in which exchange relationships replace social relationships; in which cultural items [sex, drugs, foods, loyalty, sports] become commodities exchanged for profit and in which private profit is the central test of production.
Bureaucratic socialism: A distorted form of socialism in which the state holds title to the means of production. Like capitalism, part of the production is extracted by law or by force but unlike capitalism, that surplus is invested in improving the basic health, housing, food, transport, and military delivery systems. A part of the surplus is also used to provide the ruling elite with class privileges. The USSR was the prototype of bureaucratic socialism.
Bureaucracy: French; bureau = writing desk and, later, drawer. It has come to mean any work requiring the keeping of files; later a form of social organization in which order, rationality and hierarchy are key elements. In more general terms, a way of organizing social life such that an elite can control the behavior of a large mass of people by means of a staff (or cadre). Lenin said that a bureaucracy was first a military [police] apparatus and then a judiciary apparatus; that it corrupts from above and below. It is also an apparatus which locates moral agency in the hands of a few. Marked by formal and uniform application of rules, bureaucracies are supposed to be "rational" instruments by which goals determined by an elite may be achieved. Bureaucratic organization typifies modern industrial corporations, military organizations and a managed society. See McDonaldization.
Cadre: A central core of workers who activate and direct the activities of a
larger mass. A bureaucratic organization (school, military, hospital, agency, business)
has a paid set of workers who process people as isolated individuals or as faceless blocs
through the routines of the system. In elitist societies, the expectation is that the
cadre and the mass is a permanent relationship since the point of the bureaucracy is to
control workers, customers, patients, students or prisoners and thus reproduce class,
status honor, or social power. A socialist revolution establishes cadres to organize the
poor and the powerless. In the latter instance the cadre is supposed to arrange for those
conditions in which cadres become unnecessary. See also Vanguard.
Capital: This term has two very different meanings. (1) Sometimes capital is used to mean manufactured physical objects-machines, equipment, buildings-which are used in the production process, or money available to buy these objects. (2) For Marxists, capital is more than just money or machines. It is a relationship which gives a near-monopoly over money and machinery by a small group of people (capitalists), who are able to hire other people to work for them, in order to make them more money. Capitalism is a social relationship; most people have to work for somebody else in order to survive. In the U.S., about 8% of the people are capitalists and live off of the surplus value of labor while 52% sell their labor power (1977). The rest live on the wages of paid workers, go on welfare or hustle or steal. Capital in the first sense--physical objects--is necessary for production in every economic system. However, capital in the second sense--the ability of the owners of those physical objects to hire others to work for them is unique to one particular system, capitalism (From URPE). Of capital, Marx said that it is '...dead labor that like a vampire only lives by sucking the blood from living labor.'
Capital (Das Kapital) (1867): A three volume set in which Marx went outside the capitalist paradigm to criticize it as an economic system. The basic thesis of the work is that capitalism is a dynamic system which (a) destroys community, (b) converts praxis into alienated labor and (c) contains internal contradictions which tend to produce crises. Basically, capitalism is a system of capital accumulation for private purposes. This feature puts it into conflict with the human interest in production for social purposes. The major internal contradiction is that as capitalism succeeds, it has less use for workers. This means there is no one to exploit since unemployed workers can't buy. "Overproduction" is created thereby even as people are hungry and in need of goods and such a situation programs more conflict into the system. In the good years of capitalism, there was some doubt about the validity of marxian analysis. War, new technology, and Keynesian policies keep the system growing. Recent developments tend to confirm the instability of capitalism as a system of production. For the U.S., loss of markets to Germany, Japan, and socialist liberation movements have produced a crisis centered now in the state sector. The state covers much of the costs of capitalism at present in the U.S. As deficit spending, taxes, and other federal revenue sources are exhausted and as welfare and military costs increase, production overhead must be shifted back to the private sector or political legitimacy is lost. Either the crises is in the state sector or the private sector. Whatever the case, inflation and unemployment increase and more and more sectors of the population grow restive. There are two likely outcomes, fascism or socialism.
Capital, Accumulation of. The transformation of surplus value into machines and technology to produce more goods and services with fewer and fewer workers. All economic systems need to accumulate and improve capital goods; only capitalism tries, as well, to dis-employ more and more people in the process. Marxists, socialists, and communists as well as liberal economists hold that part of surplus value should be set aside for essential but low profit services: child care, health care, teaching, elder care, environment, and such. Capitalists tend to argue that capital accumulation should a) follow demand and b) be invested in the goods and services which yield the highest profit rates.
Capital accumulation crisis: This idea refers to the problem of securing profits as the number of workers needed in capital intensive production declines (and markets for mass produced goods decline). Capitalism must either find new markets overseas or sell the 'surplus' production to the state to give away to those who can't find work. The first solution requires a "warfare state" and the second a "welfare state." Both solutions require high taxes and/or deficit spending and thus contribute to a crisis in political legitimacy.
Capital, constant: This form of capital refers to machines, raw materials, buildings, tools, fuel and other physical objects to which labor [variable capital] is added and from which all wealth comes. It is called constant capital since, unlike variable capital [labor power], its value does not change in the production process beyond the wear and tear of producing wealth.
Capital, Organic Composition of: This concept refers to the ratio of workers to machines. The more machines and fewer workers, the higher the organic composition of capital. Some lines of production are capital intensive (they use very few workers); some are labor intensive (they use few machines). Nursing, teaching, parenting, playing and religious activities are labor intensive. Mining, farming, milling, machining, transporting and accounting are ever more capital intensive. A good and decent society tries to keep a balance between capital and labor such that there is full employment in pro-social lines of production.
Capital, variable: That part of capital used to purchase the labor power of workers. It is called variable capital since labor power produces more than enough value to replace itself and more; surplus value [see which]. Labor power also varies over time; workers get tired, sick, angry or hurt; machines don't; the value workers can produce thus varies much more so than that of machines. The costs of labor can go up or down more rapidly than the cost of capital goods since capital goods come from other capitalists who have more power to control prices than do workers.
Capitalism: A system which separates workers from any property rights in the means by which they produce culture by their labor. The system transforms the social means of subsistence into capital on the one hand and the immediate producers into wage laborers on the other hand. Most of the time, capitalism is defined as the private ownership of the means of production but that definition does not encompass the great harm done to humanity by the system. By claiming all (or most) of the means to produce culture as private property, a small class of owners preempts material culture to their own comfort while denying the vast majority the means to subsistence as well as the means to produce ideological culture when they are not working.
Capitalism, advantages of: There are many aspects of capitalism most congenial to the human project: it is the most productive economic system in history, it is the most flexible, it is the most innovative; it responds to human desire and personal preference, it requires a honest and unflinching knowledge process, it often requires merit while it tends...only tends...to destroy the ancient structures of oppression when it cannot use them.
Capitalism, disadvantages of: Marx argued that there were laws within the everyday workings of capitalism which would create misery and lead to its destruction. These include: 1) the tendency of the rate of profit to fall, 2) the tendency of large firms to buy out or destroy small firms, 3) the tendency to transform all goods and services into commodities, 4) the tendency to transfer [externalize] costs of production to workers, consumers or the environment, 5) the tendency to disemploy workers [surplus labor force] in favor of machines and capital intensive production, 6) the tendency to dominate the political process, 7) the tendency to control the production of ideological culture [art, science, music, literature and religion, 8) the tendency toward economic imperialism, 9) the tendency to abandon low profit but essential lines of production [the Law of Uneven Development], and 10) the tendency toward revolution. Compare to the three capitalist economic laws below.
Capitalism (theory of collapse of): With astonishing insight and genius, Marx laid out the dynamics by which capitalism will bring on its own demise. In brief, Marx said that capitalism brings into being productive forces which it cannot control and which will burst asunder the fetters placed on it by capitalism. Capitalism creates a huge productive apparatus at the same time it creates a surplus population by replacing workers with machines. It generates demand for products at the same time it withholds products in order to get higher prices. It cheapens labor at the same time it requires that one labor in order to purchase goods. It brings together industrial armies which then constitute a threat to property relations. It must create waste even as raw materials come into short supply. It must argue for freedom in the market place while growing more bureaucratic in the factory and office. It must dis-empower its employees even as they become better educated. And it must eliminate other capitalists and thus erode its own power base. All these and more create the objective conditions by which social revolution is more likely. Even without a communist conspiracy or social reformers (do-gooders, bleeding-hearts, and eggheads) capitalism outlives its usefulness. The problems of capitalism lay within the system not outside it.
Capitalism (fiscal costs of): It costs the U.S.A. about $150 billion to keep capitalism as a form of production in 1977. Corporate profits were about $110.3 billion; interest costs were 12.2 billion; excessive salaries of top executives about 10 billion more. Depreciation allowances came to about 87.3 billion in 1976 and part of this transferred to owners since it was not all spent to replace worn-out capital. URPE estimates that all together in some combination of profits, interests, and rents the capitalist class takes a 15% cut of national income even though it does nothing in return. (Managers get paid to manage; brokers and money managers get paid to invest). In addition to these direct fiscal costs, the worker also pays taxes to support a military apparatus to protect the overseas markets of American capitalists and to support the surplus population on welfare; to police the surplus population (who steal a lot when they can't find work and otherwise hustle the worker and each other). All this does not count the social costs of capitalism measured in human misery and despair rather than dollars and profits.
Capitalism, Economics Laws of: There are three 'laws' which capitalist economists say are the heart of all economics: 1) the law of supply and demand, 2) the law of marginal utility, and 3) the law of diminishing returns. These are all valid enough within the logics of capitalism as such but do see Capitalism, tendential laws of.
Capitalism, People's: An economic system in which a large share of the wealth is shared widely in society or is held by a democratic state on behalf of all the people. In this system, democratic freedoms, market dynamics and private property are retained. The state does not represent the interest of the capitalist class but rather the general interest [including future generations]. Social Democracies try to approximate this economic form [England, France, Germany, Sweden, Italy, Australia, Canada and New Zealand]. Many marxists argue that the basic conflicts remain and will re-assert themselves when times get bad [see Kondratieff Cycles].
Capitalism (reproduction of): The capitalist system must be continuously reproduced. This is accomplished by two general means: the reproduction of private/elitist ownership and the management of dissent via ideological hegemony and or outright repression. The ideological process starts in school and college where capitalist ideas are celebrated and socialist ideas are distorted or ignored. The state plays a large role in reproducing capitalism by laws which establish the right to appropriate part of the value of labor by non-workers and by public policy which subsidizes almost all of the "costs" of capitalism. What is required for the continuation of capitalism is a legal system which permits the "free" trade of commodities. By "free" is meant that a necessary social good is withheld unless a seller can make a profit. The state also commits many crimes against rebellious workers and political opposition in the name of law and order. Capitalist corporations commit many crimes which are unpoliced, uncharged, untried, and uncounted in order to increase profits, obtain raw materials, destroy competition or control markets. Many if not most military ventures of the U.S. have no design other than to penetrate and protect markets, provide cheap labor and guarantee access to low cost raw materials to capitalism.
Feminists point out that women are charged to reproduce the labor power of their working husbands by providing unpaid domestic service and by rearing/socializing the next generation of compliant workers. They also reproduce capital by 'super' exploitation; they are paid 30, 40, 60, or 90 percent of what males get for the same work. Then too, women reproduce the status system while at work via gender based norms and by sexual harassment.
Capitalism (social costs): In addition to a 15% bite out of value of the wealth produced by the working class, capitalism also costs much in the way of human misery. Capitalism withholds the basic necessities of life unless one has something to exchange (so the capitalist can make a profit). Capitalism also systematically degrades work while trying to enlarge the surplus value of labor. And, part of the wealth produced by labor is turned into repressive structures: law, police, prisons, psychiatry and "public relations." But the conversion of culture and of social relationships into commodities cheapens and destroys a society. Capitalist relations reproduced in the family, the school, or in medicine and sports turns human beings themselves into commodities to be bought and sold.
Capitalism (stages of): The periods of capitalist development differ according to the ways in which the value of labor is appropriated by those who own and/or control the means of production. The first stage was mercantile capitalism which emerged on large-scale in Venice and Genoa in the 13th century. It culminated in the English empire in the 19th c. The second stage was industrial capitalism as factory cities replaced independent commodity production at home by artisans. This stage began around 1730 in England with the factory system and remained dominate until the 20th century by which time finance capitalism began to displace industrial capitalism as the major means by which to extract surplus value. At present (1977), capitalism in the U.S. claims about 15% of the GNP and, of that amount, 8% is rent or profit and 7% is interest. Most corporations such as Sears or Wards or Master-Charge now prefer to sell credit [finance capitalism] rather than merchandise [industrial capitalism] since credit has lower capital costs and higher returns.
Capital intensive production: The use of machinery to produce food, shelter, clothing, electronics, automobiles, or other commodities. Workers cost a lot of money; wages, pensions, vacations, health insurance and such; machines don't. Workers get ill, get angry, go on strike, criticize management and quit; machines don't.
Capitalist World System/Economy: Immanuel Wallerstein laid out several helpful points about the capitalism world which is useful to the beginning student:
1. Capitalism is a world economy with a single global division of labor and a lot of differing cultures. It funnels wealth from the poorer countries to the richer.
2. World economies are unstable; they collapse or turn into empires of the strongest state(s).
3. The present world economy emerged in the 19th century as factory production and international division of labor emerged, mostly in Northern Europe and North America.
4. There are two divisions of labor to consider:
a. Ethno-nations with 1) an owning class which makes investment and controls state power, 2) a middle class which consumes luxury goods and support the owning class, 3) a large working class which produces wealth and 4) an underclass surplus to the labor market.
b. A global division of labor which mirrors the national division: 1) the core industrial countries with military power, 2) the semi-periphery whose fate is tied to the core and 3) the periphery.
5. The state in the core is stable; both industrialists and commercial interests want an open market. The state in the semi-periphery is unstable; the industrialists want a protected market; the merchants want free trade so they can sell luxury items.
6. There are three mechanisms which keep the world system stable: a) military force, b) ideological commitment by employees in the public and private sector whose jobs and life-style depends upon capitalism, c) a split in the large majority of non-owners between those who benefit and those who live at the margins. See New World Order.
Central [economic] Planning: An economic system in which the state manages the economy through periodic plans, usually 5-year plans. It is used a) to change rapidly to industrial production, b) to improve neglected lines of production, c) to re-employ the surplus labor force, d) re-distribute wealth to housing, hospitals, schools, roads, highways, dams, irrigation systems, electric power plants and other 'infra-structure' needs. While rightly claiming many achievements in many socialist countries, still it has several flaws: 1) too inflexible, b) promotes white collar crime as well as a 'black market,' c) obstructs more democratic forms of production and puts quantity before quality.
Centralism, Democratic. A fraudulent facsimile of democracy in which a central committee makes all the relevant policy decisions while party members are expected to carry them out in the name of democratic centralism. In USSR, the Central Committee of the Communist Party had effective control of the government; the People's Congresses were little more than rubber stamps. See also Vanguard, Vanguardism.
Chaos Theory: A body of knowledge about the changing mix of order and disorder in natural and social systems. Modern, newtonian science gives preference to order and stability; chaos theory tends to support the idea that some disorder is essential to all complex, adaptive systems and that change is continuous to the human experience. Chaos theory provides an elegant empirical support for both dialectic theory and for postmodern concern with variety, surprise, contrariety and difference.
In Chaos theory, really existing structures have a fractal and temporary geometry; there is a secession of dynamical states; with each bifurcation, more complex dynamics develop, causality is looser and prediction less possible. One should note that all living creatures and societies require some disorder to survive; innovation, creativity, flexibility and revolution are everyday words we use to make this point. Too much order and systems die; too much disorder and systems cannot be planned or trusted to behave as expected. See Science, Postmodern. See also Nonlinear, Fractal, and do compare with other ideas about Metaphysics.
Chivalry hypothesis: The idea that females are treated more kindly than are males by police, district attorneys, judges and parole board. This being the case, so the argument goes, women are less likely to be crime statistics; not because they are so much less criminal but because they are treated with the courtesy said to be part of knightly virtue toward women. Feminists make the point that any relation between gender and favorable treatment in the CJS disappears when marital status is factored in: that police and judges are considerate of women when they are single mothers but not when they are single and compete with men for jobs. Patriarchy requires women parent children; men can be sent to prison since they are not expected to parent. Other feminists point out that the CJS leaves control of women to the men in their lives.
Civil society: A social order in which the rights of egoistic, atomistic individuals are proclaimed. A system (not really a society) in which the bonds between people are those of physical survival, safety, and preservation of private property. This contrasts to community wherein bonds are social.
Civilization: French; civilis = of or belonging to the citizens. Cililizare: the process by which a criminal matter become a public issue. Now it refers to a social life world informed by the Enlightenment and marked by formal social relations, impersonality and rationality. Mills and Coleridge contrasted civilization with culture and imbued the first with positive emotional content and the later with negative content as in savage, primitive, barbarian. After Raymond Williams.
Class: Class is one of five great systems of domination which affect patterns of health, housing, self esteem, religion, education, recreation and politics. It is based upon one's relationship to the means of production and distribution.
For Marxists, a class consists of people who have the same role in the process of production. The two basic classes under capitalism are the capitalist (or ruling) class called the Bourgeoisie: those who own and control all productive processes-and the working class called the Proletariat [see which], who because they lack that control have to sell their labor for wages. Bankers, major corporate stockholders, top managers and absentee landlords belong to the capitalist class. Factory and construction workers, police, secretaries, hospital workers, teachers, and many others belong to the working class. There are also other classes, such as the middle class of self-employed people (farmers, storeowners, poets, brokers, lawyers, doctors).
The Marxist definition of class is different from that used by many sociologists who use terms like middle-class to refer to level of income rather than relationship to the process of production. Many workers do have incomes comparable to middle level functionaries in the U.S. However, since the workers do not own the means of production, their position in terms of wages could change quickly. As factories move overseas, as inflation increases, as taxes increase, the difference in wealth between capitalists and workers becomes more visible. (URPE)
Class Action Suit: A legal procedure in which a number of person harmed by a company or an agency come together to petition a court for remedy. This legal action is very important in controlling corporate crime and/or unconstitutional action by a local governing body. Corporate conservatives try to limit eligibility for class action status; those harmed try to expand it.
Class Collaboration: When elements of the working class or the intelligentsia cooperate with owners or with the state, they are said to 'class collaborate.' Many orthodox communists despise class collaboration. Liberals claim that such reform can turn into qualitatively different and more humane economic systems. Liberals make a good case, however, in any capitalist economy, it is a good idea for workers to remain independent and work for the common good rather than cooperate with capitalists to exploit unorganized workers, third world countries and weaker firms.
Class conflict: In class organized societies, there are several conflicts of interest between workers and owners. first and foremost, some of the surplus value of labor produced by workers is appropriated and claimed by capitalists. Secondly, there is the question of how the labor process is to be organized; capitalists want workers to be excluded from management decisions over how fast workers work, when they work; where they work and who they work with. Third, there is the question of what is to be produced; some workers don't like to produce unsafe toys, foods with dangerous additives, weapons of death, or low quality goods. Indeed, some religions prohibit this kind of labor. However, as long as a lot of workers have access to sufficient material wealth and time to create ideological culture, and as long as the instruments of coercion are in the hands of an elite, the conflict of interests is contained. However, as soon as capitalism faces an accumulation crisis, appropriation of surplus value increases and the capacity of people to create culture is threatened. At this point class conflict transforms into class struggle. Usually the class struggle is over wages and working conditions but success here is short-lived. The marxist position is that the objective of the class struggle is to reclaim ownership of the means of producing culture rather than an increase in wages with which to purchase culture. Some hold that the class struggle is to be seen in absentee rates, turnover rates, wildcat strikes, petty sabotage, shoddy workmanship and grievance rates, quarrels, drug and alcohol use at work. This is more privatized conflict than organized struggle. See class struggle and cultural struggle as well.
Class consciousness: An awareness of one's own class interests, a rejection of the interests of other classes, and a readiness to use political means to realize one's class interests (From C.W. Mills). Most people identify themselves as middle class even if they don't get paid much and even if they can be fired tomorrow with no warning. Many people go to college and learn they are better; more successful than are 'common laborers' and thus try to distance themselves from their brothers and sisters who work at unskilled jobs. Workers, too, look down upon the underclass and thus the 'working class' is fragmented into sectors with little interest in class struggle.
Capitalists too have very different interests but tend to unite in the face of class opposition. Those who produce raw materials have to sell them to industrial capitalists; there is always conflict there. Merchants have to buy from industrialists; there is conflict there as well. Both merchants and industrialists need to borrow money from finance capitalists; so there are more conflicts of interest. Then too, all those in the same line compete with each other. Big business tends to destroy small business as for example, when Walmart comes in and takes customers away from small shops and stores; or when McDonald's comes in and takes customers away from small restaurants.
Class Consciousness, theory of: Marx' theory of class consciousness is that industrialism and the factory system brings thousands of workers together in the same place. Being together, they begin to realize their own social power and see more clearly the conflict between workers and owners. Lenin said that workers are not truly class conscious until they respond to all cases of tyranny, oppression, violence and abuse, no matter [who] is affected.
Class Structure: In advanced capitalism, the three significant strata are the capitalist class (1.5% of the adult population), the working class (73.5%) and the surplus population (25% and growing relative to the working class). Allied with the capitalist class are professionals, middle management, and bureaucrats (18.5%) who though they have only their labor power to sell, still support their employers politically and ideologically since they get higher wages, higher status and often, a share in profits. Separated from the unskilled workers (30%) are the skilled workers (15%) and the technical workers (10%) who are organized on occupational lines rather than class lines. Then there is the reserve army (composed mostly of minorities, women and young people, 15%). The class struggle is to forge class alliance now in order to advance theoretically informed class conflict later. See Underclass.
Class Struggle: A struggle over who controls the labor process; it arises between strata in any exploitative society since each class has different and incompatible differences. The struggle is over a) who owns the means of production; b) the uses to which they are put; c) the labor process itself as well as d) how 'surplus' value is to be divided up. Class conflict on the part of the capitalists involves price fixing, black listing, union busting, bribery, pre-selection of candidates for public office, pollution, dis-investment, and cartels. Class struggle by workers include strikes, sit-ins, general work stoppages, unionization and support of political candidates and sometimes rebellion. Sabotage, theft, falsification of time cards and acts of petty rebellion are also tools sometimes used.. Even consumers sometimes engage in class warfare with boycotts, bans, pickets, shop-lifting and political activity. For the socialist, class struggle does not mean the replacement of one elite by another but rather the end of class relationships. See also the role of the State in class struggle.
Commodity: The transformation of a good or service from its meaning as a support for social relationships to a meaning of private profit. Food, sex, housing, medicine, transport could be used to create and affirm social relationships (as is the case in a family) or for profit (as is the case in capitalism).
Commodification: The practice of converting use-value into exchange value. This is a very important idea; think about food. It has a use value but its exchange value may be set so high that people starve when there is a lot of food. The same is true for any essential good or service once it has been commodified. Then too, as Marx noted, all that is sacred can be commodified; sex, friendship, child care, even religion itself can be marketed.
Commune: In marxist/socialist theory a commune is the most human and humane form of social life. The means of production are owned by the whole community while food, shelter, health care, education and recreation are shared out on the basis of social status rather than on the basis of wages/profits/dividends/rents or other non-social grounds. Governance is by direct participation of all adult members. In the former USSR, communal life was mandatory until 1931. Extensive agricultural and industrial based communes exist in China. In modern U.S., an attempt on the part of young people to form an extended primary group in which middle class values of property and commodity are avoided. Most US communes are parasitic on society (or partly so) in that middle class parents fund their children and communes are exploitative of women. Some communes try to avoid elitist, sexist, or parasitic practices but it is difficult in the larger context of capitalism. The term comes from the medieval towns in France which demanded and practiced local self-government. Such was the beginning of the end of feudalism and the rise of capitalism. In these and in the Paris Commune, Marx saw the promise of communism.
Communism: Latin: communis = common, universal, public. Communism is now chiefly understood to be an economic system set forth by Marx and a great many other critics of capitalism. For Marx, communism entailed 'the appropriation of human nature through and for people.' It was a return of people to human, i.e., social being as well as a system which promotes and enhances the natural and dialectical unity of individual and society. It is a non-alienating humane and human society not to be confused with bureaucratic socialism in some Eastern European states. In advanced communism, the means of production is held in common: this means that what is produced, who produces it and how it is produced is a matter of collective discourse and decision; it means as well that any surplus value [profit] is allocated to serve collective rather than private needs. Not to be confused with bureaucratic socialism.
Communism (the idea): A society without the structures of domination which now debase and degrade so many people. Primitive communism is marked by production and distribution for use [rather than for profit] and by a low-tech means of production. Advanced communism has both an energy efficient and effective means of production as well as a system of distribution based mostly on need but also on merit. It uses surplus value in capital intensive production to provide for labor intensive production lines of production; child care, health care, government and policing, as well as retirement. Surplus value is also used for public goods: parks, art forms, roads, bridges, environment, water, sewage and such.
Chinese policy is to set income in a ratio of 4 to 5; four parts based upon need, 1 part of five based upon merit. Compare to advanced monopoly capital in which managers of big corporations in the USA get 500 times as much as the average worker (in Germany the ratio is about 350 to 1; in Japan, about 90 to 1, 1990 figures).
Communism (The Movement): A loose coalition of socialists, marxists, and other radicals bent on the overthrow of any society organized in such a way that the mode of production of culture alienates people from self, from nature and from each other. In capitalist countries, the movement has a bad name for a number of reasons: it puts aside national loyalty in favor of working class unity across state boundaries; it is largely negative in its criticism of a society; its rhetoric is sometimes strident and contrived; it is supported by repressive socialist regimes; and counter-intelligence operations in capitalist societies plant false evidence whereupon members of the movement often discredit each other. See Vanguard/vanguardism.
Communist Manifesto: A document put out in London in 1848 by the Communist League which links theory and revolutionary action by providing a brief overview of the social sources of human misery and suggesting a plan of action to eliminate those sources. It was drafted by Marx and Engels. In brief, the Manifesto reviews the history of oppression, lists the positive and negative aspects of capitalism and concludes with a call for the workers of the world to unite and throw off the economic and political chains which reduce their humanity. Compare to the Declaration of Independence which attributes social evil to a single person (George II) and grounds the reasons for action on supernatural law. These two documents have moved many to revolution since their writing.
Communism, Primitive/Communalism: An economic formation in which all persons share on the basis of kinship and/or social status but one in which there is a very simple technology and division of labor. As Hobbs said, in such societies, life is ugly, brutal, nasty and short.
Competitive Sector: That sector of the economic institution characterized by many undercapitalized companies with low wages, poor working conditions, transient labor, small work force, arbitrary discipline, and little opportunity to advance. Consisting of small business supplied by the monopoly sector, this sector involves about 1/3 of the work force and is market share to huge corporations such as Walmart or McDonalds. (after O'Connor).
Conflict Theory: A term which includes a wide variety of analyses to the effect that some of the structures in a society are not at all helpful or necessary; class, racist, sexist, or other 'structures of domination' can and should be dismantled. Compare to Functionalism, Consensus theory. Hegel, Marx, Darwin, Weber and others have looked at the sweep of history and have seen systematic efforts to exploit/degrade people on the one side and rising opposition to such forms of domination on the other. 'History is a slaughterbench for the happiness of people.' Hegel.
Conflict methodology: A method of inquiry which serves the human interest in change and renewal. Conflict theory implies conflict methodology to reduce the conflict in favor of those who are oppressed or excluded. That knowledge required to emancipate humans from alienating social forms is often withheld by a class or a bureaucratic elite. Under such circumstance, an partisan stance is required of a social scientist. Participatory research, action research, standpoint methodology and the new 'incorporative' research of M. Wardell and A. Zajicek all take the point of those at the bottom of social hierarchy and try to empower them and democratize the organizations studied. See Consensus Methodology; see Eleventh Thesis.
Conflict theory: There are two varieties, a conservative and a radical view of conflict. The conservative one (after Coser) holds that society is held together by conflict! Conflict is a safety valve which helps solve problems in this school. This approach tends to reduce the hostile contrast between groups: exploitation, oppression, enslavement, depersonalization and such to mere differences of opinion which can be resolved by "men of good will" in reasoned discussion. In marxian theory, conflict arises from a poorly designed social life world and requires social revolution to eliminate the conflict while in Coser's view conflict is viewed to be symptomatic of healthy and open relations between groups.
Consciousness Industry: The organization of information flow in mass society in such that the human interests in praxis and community are defeated while the content of the media is such that capitalist and/or elitist relations are reproduced. The characteristics of the system includes: 1) the repressive use of the media, 2) centrally controlled programming, 3) immobilization of isolated individuals, 4) one transmitter, many receivers, 5) depoliticization of content, 6) passive consumer emphasis, 7) production by specialists, 8) control by capitalists or bureaucrats. These conditions obtain both in the U.S. and in the Soviet Union. The U.S. system is "leakier" and, hence political legitimacy suffers. (after Entzenberger).
Constitutive Theory: This social psychology blends key insights found in symbolic interactionism, phenomenology, and labeling sociology, along with Marxism and postmodern social thought. The person is a subject in process-- not a passive receptacle of social rules, norms, roles and controls. For example: education both constitutes social relations and is constituted in turn by a subject's use of the educational process. Determining which comes first, individual or society becomes a nonsense goal. Both are in a changing/changeable dialectic process of construction.
Constitutive theory further argues that language/discourse is a problem in that constitutive dialectic since language honors the voice of some and represses the voice of many. Consider psychiatry; in order to be released, psychiatric patients must employ only those speech patterns and those coherent thought sequences consistent with medico-legal wellness. By adopting this discourse, mental health systems users re-legitimize and further concretize the power of medicolegal discourse to linguistically (and therefore socially) regulate their lives. If they resist the discourse, patients are defined as 'mentally ill.'
Core/periphery. A term used by Wallerstein and others to refer to the structure of imperialism; the core countries were European, the colonial countries were called the 'periphery.' These were the colonies of England, France, Germany, Italy and now the USA in Africa, Latin America, Asia, and islands in the Pacific.
Core/periphery: At home, this term refers to the division of workers into a relatively secure core group and a much less secure peripheral group. There are two principal contexts for this term: 1. In an entire economy, employees of large corporations may be seen as part of the "core", and those of small business as the "periphery". This is particularly the case in discussing Japan, where major "core" companies, with lifetime employment, rely on a "periphery" of workers/subcontractors with much more precarious conditions of employment. 2. In an individual company, the "core" is composed of those workers carrying out its main function, while the "periphery" consists of those whose work is not part of the company's main business and can be contracted out, such as cleaners, cooks in the factory canteen, and so on.
Corruption, theory of: There are four general rules with which a society maintains a social monopoly on items and behaviors used to reproduce that society:
1) Some supplies and activities are defined as sacred and used to create dramas of the Holy in which persons, roles and institutions are sanctified. Among the supplies are special clothing, psychogenic drugs [beer, wine, marijuana and such], special foods, and special tools. Among the activities are sexual acts, music, gambling, pain/violence as well as eating and drinking. The rule is that these are required; one must do these things; use these things even if unpleasant.
2) The non-social, purely personal use of such items and events is forbidden. Pejorative terms are used to discourage such use; perversion, pathology, addiction, depravity etc.
3) Those psychogens and ecstatic activities used by other cultures to create different dramas of the Holy are also forbidden and defined as deviancy, depravity and degrading.
4). Activities which tend to subvert age, class, gender or other social differentiations/stratifications are also defined as deviant or pathological.
Corporate crime: The antisocial activity of corporations to increase profit or reduce costs: adulteration of food, unsafe products, bribery, avoiding taxes, subverting the political process and so on. There is far more corporate crime involving larger amounts of money than petty unorganized crime (burglary, robbery, extortion, embezzlement, and such). The average street crime garners about $150; the average white collar crime over $100,000 and while corporate crime runs into the millions and sometimes hundreds of millions. Corporate crime is seldom policed, reported or punished.
Corporation: A body chartered by the state and consisting of a formal agreement or contract among people joined in a common purpose to hold property, make contracts and share profits. It has the added virtue that, as a legal entity, it enables the people who own the stock to avoid the responsibility for any harm done to the larger society.
Corporativism: An economic variety of capitalism in which a weak state helps achieve integration of workers, capitalists, farmers and other class fragments into a 'corporate' whole. A bit different from fascism in that the state is not as central to the process. Japan is the current embodiment of corporativism in the capitalist world. Singapore is a high-tech version of corporativism.
Costs (Socially Necessary): The costs of producing the material base of a society. It includes the cost of capital goods (factories, railroads, etc), of reproducing a healthy labor force, of the extraction of raw materials as well as the cost of repairing any damage to the environment upon which all life ultimately depends. The concept is of interest since it enables an analyst to subtract SNC from gross national product and get the surplus value produced. Once we know surplus value, we can see how it is used (misused) and can judge that society. In the U.S., there are many socially unnecessary costs which restrict the use we make of surplus. Among these unnecessary costs are a) profits, b) selling costs, c) legal services, d) surplus employee compensation, e) bribes, political donations and such.(After Baran and Sweezy).
Counter-memorializing: A postmodern concept which denies the underlying reality of scientific truth including social science; it rejects impersonal and eternal foundations of standards, morals or enquiry. Claims of origins and endings are, likewise, questioned. After Ashley and Walker.
Creativity: As a moment of praxis, creativity involves thought and action located in history, i.e., produced uniquely in the situation at hand by insightful humans. In contrast to behavior which is identical to that of other persons at other times (thus producing a social life world in which prediction-and-control are possible), praxis requires behavior quite unpredictable and, at the same time, delightful in its aptness and originality. It is not restricted to poetry, painting, or marginal cultural endeavor but is to be central to work, religion, sports and love. (After Crocker).
Crime: From the Sanskrit, Karma, meaning that which a person is responsible in contrast from that over which a person has no choice. In American criminology crime is defined as: 1) a violation of a legal specification, 2) enacted by a competent law making body, 3) involving both culpable intent and 4) overt action which 5) carries a specific penalty. This definition safely confines the policing of behavior to that which is defined as illegal; itself often under control of an elite.
In socialist theory, a crime is that which tends to destroy community or detract from human dignity. In addition to murder and rape, the most serious crimes in socialist theory are: elitist ownership or control of the means to produce human culture, appropriation of the surplus value of labor for and only for private use, objectification of other humans, counter-revolutionary activity. Reductionist Theories of crime demands that the individual change while the socialist theory of crime (q.v.) requires radical social change, intensive socialization to socialist consciousness, primary group (commune, brigade) control and incorruptible policing.
Crime (Forms and Theory of): There are five kinds of crime which are promoted in capitalism as a system. 1 ) Street crime involves theft, burglary, arson, robbery, murder, and kidnapping [see rape separately]. It increases as the surplus population increases and as welfare systems become depersonalized. Marxian theory holds that most street crime is the 'forcible re-unification of production and distribution by the underclass and under-employed. 2) Corporate crime are those acts committed in order to enlarge market share, lower costs or increase profit rates; it involves conspiracy to fix prices, the use of dangerous ingredients, the sale of dangerous toys and medicines, violation of labor laws, pollution, and tax evasion. It increases as profits fall, demand slackens, competition increases or public laws lower profit. 3) The rackets (organized crime) produce and distribute sex, gaming, alcohol, drugs and other supplies traditionally used for solidarity purposes. It commodifies sacred supplies. 4) White collar crime involves betrayal in a position of trust; it increases as the middle class attempts to build a retirement 'portfolio;' maintain an upper middle class lifestyle and/or when employees come to resent working conditions. 5) Political crime is that crime committed by the state or against the state. State crime increases for two reasons: a) to help the capitalist class realize profits at home or overseas and b) as legitimacy is lost and the state moves to repress criticism and oppress critics. Crimes against the state increase when oppression is endemic and when institutional politics do not work. When migration is difficult or when underground structures are heavily policed, direct political action increases.
Crime, female, theories of: Women are found in courts and prisons much less frequently than are men; Hoffman-Bustamante lists five reasons for this: 1) differential role expectations, 2) differential socialization and control tactics, 3) structurally different opportunities to commit different kinds of crime, 4) differential recruitment to deviant careers, 5) Sex differences in defining crime categories. Note these are common to patriarchal gender relations. The crimes women are likely to commit are mostly economic crimes; shop-lifting, writing bad checks, prostitution and embezzlement. Looking at these from a structural point of view, one notes the weak/missing connection to the means of production and distribution experienced by women. See also, Needs, false.
Crimes, male: Most crimes are committed by males; violent crimes are predominantly male since patriarchy requires males to be controlling and dominating; absent social power or economic power, male often use physical power on each other or upon women in order to command compliance. See Macho, machismo.
Crime, social location of: Each kind of crime is found in a different part of society and is policed differently. Street crime is located mostly in the underclass, mostly poor males, white and black; corporate crime is located mostly in the upper class, it mostly involves white males; white collar crime is committed in the professional and managerial classes for the most part while organized crime in organized by white males in the middle or upper classes while employees usually come from the underclass and customers from every social class. Political crime is usually committed by the state or by small groups opposed to the state.
"Crimes without victims": Legally prohibited actions that involve no unwilling, or complaining party: for example, drug addiction, alcoholism, and prostitution. Often injury occurs slowly and is hard to link closely to the acts above. The phrase is often used to promote the privatized use of drugs and sex by decriminalization. This means that anything can be sold as a commodity and is compatible with the principle of free enterprise.
Criminal law: A set of laws which define what is and what is not subject to punishment and incarceration. Criminal law is greatly influenced by class, gender, and racism. French radicals have a saying: 'The law in all its majesty forbids equally the rich and the poor from sleeping under bridges.'
Criminalization/de-criminalization: Many acts which are not permitted within a system of norms are defined as sin in pre-modern sensibility. In modern times, they have been defined as crime rather than sin as science displaces religion in the explanation of human behavior. Of late, such behaviors have been re-defined as illness rather than sinful or criminal. Postmodern scholarship treats both the prison and the mental institution as social control tactics which reproduce stratified cultural formations [after Foucault].
Criminal Justice: A state-initiated and state supported effort to rationalize the mechanisms of social control in order to solve the problems of advanced capitalism which include an unruly surplus population, political dissent, monopoly and inflation. Most criminal justice systems are based upon pain and degradation. Utilitarianism teaches, incorrectly, that human beings organize their behavior on pain and pleasure rather than upon norms and morés. In fact, what is defined as painful and pleasurable vary considerably across cultures.
Begun in the Johnson administration, the Criminal Justice program in the USA socializes the costs of solving the problems of capitalism, but not the profits of capitalism. The criminal justice program strengthens the larger system which produces crime in the first place. (After Quinney). See Social Control, Parallel Systems of. Compare with Social Justice as a way to produce a low crime society.
Crisis Theory: Marxian crisis theory has two parts: The first part says crises are generated by the separation of creative processes into two phases, production and consumption. This occurs since, in capitalism, production is not for direct use but rather for exchange/profit. The crisis occurs when production increases at the same time consumption decreases. When there is surplus production and when people are in need without the means to buy these 'surplus' goods, trouble comes. The second part of the theory holds that crisis is a rational mechanism for the reactivation of the economy. There are several ways to solve the crisis involving the "forcible reunification" of production and distribution. This means either customers pay what is demanded or that suppliers sell even when they cannot stay in business on these terms. Such reunification of the two parts of economic activity is achieved also by welfare, war, crime, or other political action. The looting during the 1977 blackout was such a "forcible reunification." Trent Schroyer generalized crisis theory to encompass both capitalism and bureaucratic socialism by emphasizing a third aspect: The separation of formal rationality from human purpose.
Critical theory: An approach to the study of society in which human interests shape and guide the research enterprise from the formation of analytic categories to the quest for accurate, relevant, timely, sensible information. Critical theory has an overt political goal: that of a rational and decent society. By contrast, structural-functional theory asserts itself to be value-free. However, its analytic categories and research focus are controlled by its sponsors. The transfer of the political responsibility for the use of science from the producer to the user simply masks its politics and, at the same time, exculpates the scientists from any responsibility for his product.
Habermas identifies three kinds of knowledge necessary to critical research: positive knowledge, hermeneutic knowledge, and emancipatory knowledge (see which). Critical theory is associated with the Frankfort School (which see).
Culture (of Resistance): A term coined by Mina Caulfield to indicate those social structures in a colonial society which oppose, neutralize and/or destroy the efforts of colonists to impose a capitalist culture upon occupied lands. Such structures also protect and allow socialist modes of production. Caulfield analyzed life in the West Indies, Africa, Appalachia, South America and other colonized areas. She identified many social structures which resisted economic and cultural oppression. The family structure was central but, in addition to underground political organization, church, "provision grounds," as well as other family-centered structures staffed mostly by women as males left the household to work for the colonist.
Death of God: A 19th century claim by Nietzsche and later, Sartre, that belief
in God is impossible by a person educated in modern science. Modernists thus dismiss the
god concept or identify it with natural and social laws. Postmodern theology holds that
god is a social construct and is destroyed when believers cease to believe and to act upon
the teachings of that particular god concept. There is a radical American theology [Thomas
Altizer, Wm. Hamilton] which, in 1966, proposed a religious sensibility without the god
De-centering: A postmodern objective: the result of re-examining truth claims of, say patriarchy, stratification, or truth itself and showing the human hand and human agenda which brought the claim, theory or practice to the fore-front and celebrates it as eternally valid and objectively existent.
Deconstruction: A postmodern method of analysis; its goal is to undo all permanent, objective, determinative 'constructions' of scientists. Deconstruction tears a text apart, shows its unexamined assumptions, reveals its contradictions and its refusal to deal with contradictory materials. Typically a deconstructive critique endeavors to point out the classist, racist, sexist, ageist, and other oppressive dimensions of speech. Deconstructionists "unpack" the layered dimensions of speech in order to appreciate the politics and special interests behind words, particularly when that intent invalidates, de-legitimizes, or otherwise, de-values specific individuals or a class of citizens. In affirmative postmodern work, deconstruction is prelude to the construction of new, more participatory social forms. In so doing, one accepts personal responsibility for the constructs rather than attributing such text or theory to God (gods) or nature. (After and beyond Derrida).
Democratic Self-Management: A form of work in which the workers decide upon all the major issues of production and distribution of profits. In both socialist and capitalist societies, some firms are owned and/or operated by workers. They decide upon managerial staff, hiring, work schedule and working conditions on the floor, investment and dividends as well as wages, bonuses and fringe benefits such as vacations, health care and pensions. Compare to Z theory.
Demonization: The social practice of treating someone or some people as if they were demons, monsters, devils or the source of all bad things which happen. Most capitalists demonized communists; many communists demonize capitalists; most racists demonize minority groups; some minority groups demonize Anglos; some women demonize men while man men blame women for their own troubles. The marxist/socialist position is that the enemy is to be found in alienated social relationships rather than in people as such. It is true enough that there are thoroughly despicable people but most people work within social institutions with social values to which they were socialized as children. If there is evil to be seen, look first at social problems; if one wishes to reduce social problems to a minimum, first work for social justice. See crime, racist, sexism, patriarchy, alienation, profanation.
Dependency Theory: A theory of colonial imperialism which informs anti-American sentiment in Latin America and elsewhere. The theory correctly asserts that capitalist imperialism distorts local economics and creates a surplus population but is often an effort to substitute foreign exploitation with that of local capitalists. A country becomes dependent upon the U.S., Germany, England, or Japan by selling cash crops or natural resources and dependent upon the same countries for food and luxury goods. The developed capitalist countries set the terms which benefit multinational corporations and banks and give "aid" subsidized by workers in capitalist countries to repair some of the distortions, especially those of hunger as cotton, coffee, cocoa, tea, beef or other foods are exported to capitalist countries. By 1976, total debt of non OPEC nations to capitalist countries was $180 billion, up 15 fold from 1967. See Capitalist World System/New World Order.
Depressions: A depression is a down turn in the demand for goods; the demand for labor power and the demand for investment capital itself. They are part of the ups (see expansion) and downs of capitalism. Of the five great economic systems in history, capitalism is the only one with such cycles; in other economic systems, hard times are the result of natural calamity, not the every day working of the economy. There are three economic cycles which have been identified: Kondratieff curves which come in 30-50 year cycles, Kutznets curves of 15 year cycles and 2-5 year mini-cycles. In bad times, workers are laid off; laid off, they cannot buy, factories close and the economic process grinds to a halt. Capitalists blame depressions on organized workers, on government interference and upon "unfair" competition by "foreigners" (other capitalists). Workers blame depressions on the government and the government blames the previous administration. Actually capitalism causes depressions since workers do not get paid 100% of the value of goods they produce, they cannot buy all of it back. The 'surplus' piles up, factories shut down and the depression worsens.
Derrida, Jacques: Architect of French deconstructionist philosophy (see Deconstruction). Derrida's contributions to deconstructionism include a number of important postmodern concepts:
1) Reversal of hierarchies - any value position (e.g., man, good, objective) takes on its valuation in relation to some other oppositional value (e.g., woman, evil, subjective). text, however, can be read so as to reveal such power relations and reverse them through 'discoursing' about them. 2) Metaphysics of presence:- related to the reversal of hierarchies is Derrida's 'presence of the absence.' What this means is that in every binary opposition, the value that is dominant/privileged is present. The value that is subordinate, is 'absent.' The oppositional value of 'beauty' is 'ugly.' The value "beauty" is dominant and therefore privileged. We automatically assign positive value to persons identified as beautiful. The oppositional value "ugly" is subordinate and, therefore, repressed.
3) Differance: Differance (with an "a") implies both the activity of differing and of deferring. All hierarchies include words that are different from each other (e.g., male versus female, heterosexual versus homosexual, white versus black). In addition, however, each defers to the other in the sense of implying the opposite term. We cannot understand what it means to be white without understanding what it means to black and vice versa). There is a mutual deferential interdependence.
4) Trace: Hidden within each term of a hierarchy, is the trace of the other. The trace is what maintains the relationship between the two terms. In order to deconstruct the hierarchy, one must identify the trace which maintains the ascendancy of the privileged, dominant term as a presence. This is the activity of making visible the hidden. Revealing the hidden trace (women, minority, gay, poor) makes possible the de-centering, of the dominant term (men, WASP, straight, wealthy). (After Pauline Rosenau)
Desire: French: desir = yearning/passion for. In postmodern terminology, desire is always and already communicated in and through language. All speech is saturated with certain longings, aspirations, needs, fears, passions, and beliefs. The French psychoanalyst, Jacques Lacan, argued that desire was at the core of human being. Lacan maintained that desire could never be fully described. We can never completely capture in speech, in words, in sentences, the essence of our very existence without leaving some trace of it behind. When describing why we love someone our words are filled with desire. We find that we do not do 'desire' justice, art, poetry, the laughter of children; that is, the words themselves are inadequate to communicate how we feel. For Lacan, desir was illusive yet polymorphous, elusive yet omnipresent. The dominant language of modern science greatly erodes our capacity to desire; the needs of the capitalist system to realize profit channels desire into owning things. See advertizing, Realization problem.
Developing Countries: About 120 nations in the world have systems of production and distribution based upon low-tech base and upon strong social ties. These are said to be under-developed. The phrase means that capitalists can solve three problems by controlling the politics of the country: cheaper labor, cheaper raw materials and expanded markets for manufactured goods.
Such countries then begin to have problems of crime, class inequality, juvenile delinquency and suicide, prostitution, and drug use. They are then said to be 'developing' by capitalist economists.
Development/Under-development: Theories of progress assume that a society becomes developed when it: 1) industrializes, 2) commodifies all goods and services and exchanges them in a market, 3) discards all traditional stratifications in favor of class stratification and 4) replaces social status [kinship, ethnicity, race or gender] with money as a nexus for the exchange of goods and services. Societies which do not accept these changes are said to be underdeveloped. See Modernization theory.
Dialectic: Greek: dialektos = discourse, debate. In everyday life, dialectics refers to a dynamic tension within a given system: a process by which change occurs on the basis of that tension and resultant conflict. Fichte coined the triadic process in which a dialectic has a 1) thesis, 2) an antithesis, and 3) a synthesis when the dialectic has run its course. A dialectic is said to arise since all (A) implies (Not-A). Schelling applied the dialectic to nature and to history. Marx used a more open and progressive conceptualization taken from Hegel's Negation of the Negation; thus a class system, possessing many 'negations' will produce a political economy which will negate it. [After Kevin Anderson].
In orthodox marxist views, dialectics is raised to science of the general laws of society and knowledge (after Engels). In this formulation, the three forms of the dialectic are: 1) struggle and unity of opposites; 2) the transition of quantity into quality and 3) the negation of a prior negation. An example of the first form of a dialectic would be class struggle in which workers and owners clash and out of which a new, more humane economic system might/will arise. Of the second, an example might be the transformation water into steam with a small quantitative rise in temperature and for the third 'law,' a good example might be when capitalism [a negative] is destroyed by revolution [another negation].
The concept of the dialectic is hostile to the linearity which is at the core of modern science; as such they are much the better explanation of how complex systems worked. The rise of Chaos theory gives dramatic empirical support and much sharper focus to the concept of the dialectic. See Feedback, forms of.
Dialectic materialism: A view espoused by Marx, Engels, and Lenin that revolutionary change comes as a result of the contradictions in the concretely existing modes of production rather than by
supernatural or mystical reasons. The idea of 'telos' or fate is pushed aside as well. Natural stage theory, historical cycles and metaphysical causes are rejected in favor of human action and activity in changing the nature of a society. For Marx, each economic system may have 'tendencies' which can be seen but they should not be taken to be inevitable.
Dictatorship: The rule of one small group over an entire society by force. Often, the word is used as if one person or one small party were the 'dictatorship.' Such a view is decidedly unmarxist; it takes a lot of people to support dictators and reproduce dictatorships. If a lot of people were not direct beneficiary of Nazi, Italian, Spanish, Argentinean or Nicaraguan dictatorships, they would wither on the vine. There can be no leaders without willing followers [Simmel]. Force and ideological hegemony play a part in dictatorships however the objective interests of a lot of people are served by dictatorships. See the Great Man theory of History.
Dictatorship of the proletariat: Control over the production of political and economic policy by a party elite in the name of the workers. Orthodox socialists argue for an intermediate stage in which state control of production replaces capitalist/elitist control. This stands in sharp contrast to the ideas of Rosa Luxemburg who argued for mass democracy from the beginning in setting policy. Centralized control, while unmarxist if permanent, is said to be necessary until the false consciousness of workers is repaired and until the last vestiges of bourgeois mentality are gone. Since the marxist position is that consciousness grows out of concrete social relationships in the production of culture, any such dictatorship must be short-lived and closely constrained else socialist consciousness is aborted. Careerism and sycophancy develops along with self-glorification and the cult of the individual and/or elitism.
Dictionary: A book which defines words; a good dictionary tries to present the more common usages of a word since, in every society, words mean different things to people in different social positions. For example, rape as a concept, is used differently, almost casually by men; women see rape in a very different way. All dictionaries are political in that the definitions given first place are those which make most sense to the writer in a given social-life world. All dictionaries thus reproduce that world by setting the understanding of a thing as fixed and beyond argument. A good dictionary is admittedly political and admits its politics.
Différance: A way to establish an idea or truth claim by its positive and negative references to other texts. The meaning of a text thus recedes in history and/or is circular. See Derrida.
Discourse: A special kind of interaction in which "validity claims" are checked out. Most of the time, people just talk together about the practical matters at hand. But sometimes that which is taken-for-granted is called into question. Habermas identifies four validity claims about discourse which may result in distorted communication and, thereby need to be examined more closely. In postmodern work all that is written or spoken is seen as discourse; claims of objectivity and impartiality are presumed to be political tactics which remove truth claims [about gender, race, class, or 'reality' from discourse.
Discourse, Lacan's four: Lacan identified four ways of thinking/talking which preshape speech and behavior. The first line shows the flow of speech; the second depicts the way in which the listener experiences his/her own understanding or desire.
Discourse of the Master:
S1 -------> S2
$ <------- a
The authority imposes his/her language/narrative on the other and endeavors to convince the other of this knowledge. The underling, receptive to the message, experiences an incompleteness, a lack of self-valuation in the words/narrative. Despite this, the student reproduces the very knowledge that represses.
Discourse of the University
S2 -------> a
S1 <------- $
The discourse of the university is a more hidden form of the discourse of the master. Some governing elite or prevailing paradigm (e.g., the law, a patriarchal family, medicine) infused with its unique knowledge/truth, constitutes the other. In so doing, however, the other experiences psychic distress in this knowledge. That which is missing, left out, leaves desire unspoken and unspeakable.
Discourse of the Hysteric:
$ -------> S1
a <------- S2
The despairing person, alienated from her/his own knowledge/desire, realizes that their truth is not affirmed. Thus, the repressed subject endeavors to communicate this suffering and angst to the other. The other, however, interprets this suffering through only conventional master codes of crime, mental illness, sin or deviancy. This response only contributes to the psychic despair and longing of the divided subject.
Discourse of the Analyst
a --------> $
S2 <-------- S1
The "revolutionary" subject begins by offering to the other that which is left out (pas tout). The other embodies this existence and forges new master signifiers, new awarenesses,; desires more compatible with the despairing subject. This produces new truths or mythic knowledge. This knowledge, in turn, contributes to and affirms what is left out. Here, knowledge is positional and local. This form of discourse is found in both religious conversions, social movements, rebellions and whole revolutions.
Discourses, Replacement: In the postmodern sociology of knowledge the pivotal question is to identify and validate discourses more fully affirming of social differences and ways of knowing which reflect our society without necessarily invalidating those ways of knowing already in existence. Rather, the humanistic project in creating replacement discourses is to "widen the net" for knowing, experiencing, living, and being human. This project validates the excluded voices of women, racial and sexual minorities, the disabled and disenfranchised, and all of those peoples whose styles of existence, when spoken and embodied, encounter resistance, degradation, and de-legitimacy. See Lacan, Foucault, Constitutive theory, feminist theory, chaos and complexity theory.
Discursive Formations: This is a key concept developed in the writings of Michel Foucault. Foucault was concerned with the manifestation of power communicated through language. Discursive formations in law, sexuality and mental illness exercise power in the lives of people. Foucault encouraged active resistance to all discursive formations, alleging that they produced system-sustaining social control, citizen alienation, and a disciplinary/punitive society. According to Foucault, any systematic constitution of reality possesses tremendous influence in our lives. This influence lives in specialized knowledges which includes no (or little) room for dissention, difference, or alternative knowledge forms. Thus discursive formations as power/knowledge give privilege to certain ways of knowing, certain claims to truth, while ensuring the continued silencing of repressed (oppositional) voices.
Disemployment: Capitalism is the only economic system in which there is a systematic elimination of workers; either by replacement by machines [to increase profits] or during a depression [in order to control costs]. Capitalist economists say that a 5% disemployment rate is necessary in order to keep wages down and profits up. If there were full employment, profits would fall, capitalists would fail and the economy collapse...so they say.
Harrison and Bluestone estimate that over 3 million high paying jobs have moved overseas while more than half of the new jobs pay less than the poverty line. See Fiscal crisis.
Dramaturgical analysis: The use of the concepts and processes found in the world of theatre and cinema to discuss how social reality is constructed. The political question to be raised is whether dramaturgy is simply a helpful approach to teach people about society (Goffman) or an ideology used by people to pursue private goals such as profit, manipulation, and management. The radical perspective is that such an approach arises in a society in which social relationships warrant it.
Dramaturgical society: A society in which the technology of theatre is used to manage the masses via electronics media and with the aid of the sciences of sociology and/or psychology. The world of make-believe enters the world of serious discourse as an alien and dominating force. In politics, a cadre of hired specialists now use dramaturgy to generate a public for a candidate or issue. Such practice converts politics from a cultural item into a commodity to be purchased by the highest bidder. The same is true in sports, medicine, religion and other activities which used to be cultural activities. (After Young and Massey). Dramaturgy could be used to celebrate, illuminate or politicize rather than alienate people from the political and economic questions which affect their lives.
See Radical Theatre.
Early Marx: The early writings of Marx focussed in on the creative role of
humans in producing social-life worlds. The concepts of praxis and alienation were central
and therefore Marxist writings were decidedly "humanistic." The later Marx is
said to focus more on larger structural factors especially on capitalist relations and
upon global analysis. There are those 'marxists' who are in each camp and some who are in
both. The issue seems to be whether those who look at Marx and see his humanism are too
romantic to be useful in the hard task of making the revolution since making it requires
understanding and opposition to the structural variables by which domination occurs.
Critics of the "structuralists" say that a revolution which does not speak to
the point of praxis and democratic self-management is a fraud--the older Marx without the
early Marx is pointless. The nature of marxism in some countries was settled before some
of the early writings were available and so the structural reading was dominant and often
used to justify a dictatorship.
Economic determinism: The view that economic events determine, shape or influence all social forms. In marxian terms, the base determines the superstructure. Thus, capitalist relations shape art, science, religion, and other forms of ideological culture. These, in turn, tend to reflect and to reproduce capitalist relations. See Early Marx.
Economic Formations: There have been five economic systems in human history. 1) For most of that history, people lived in bands and tribes and shared out food and labor; this is called primitive communism since the technology and division of labor was very simple. 2) Interspersed in such economies was a certain slavery which used people captured in predatory warfare (which see). Slavery grew to be an industry in itself in the 16th, 17th and 18th century. 3) The conquerors in predatory warfare often extracted tribute from conquered villages; this expanded into feudalism as some of the conquerors remained behind to collect on behalf of the others. Rome and Greece became imperial systems based on warfare. 4) Settled agriculture developed about 10,000 years ago and, about 4,000 years ago, hydraulic societies developed near river systems to irrigate crops. The surplus food permitted a great division of labor and, most say, very complex stratification systems. 5) Industrial Capitalism came along in the 18th century to upset all these economic arrangements. Feudalism, slavery and primitive communism were pushed aside as capitalists replaced kings and workers replaced serfs, peasants, and slaves. There are two other economic systems which have had little success: bureaucratic socialism had some limited success early on but collapsed in its rigidity and inability to improve the means of production. Advanced Communism has yet to be instituted. See also Market Socialism.
Economic forms, Parallel. Wage labor is the only way those who do not own capital can 'reunite production and distribution.' However, there are many parallel economic systems in every 'capitalist' society, indeed most goods and services produced in the USA are available through these other systems. The more important economic systems which parallel and thus moderate capitalism include:
1) The family system continues to be a very active economic system; most goods bought in the marketplace are later re-distributed on the basis of status within kinship systems. Many goods and services are produced and distributed within the family system on the basis of status rather than profit.
2) The social welfare system of the state which re-distribute tax dollars to rich and poor alike.
3) Private charity: Red Cross, Good Will, the Community Chest, Church stores as well as private foundations give away billions to rich and poor alike.
4) Crime is a very large economic system in the USA; some say 8%; some say 25% of the gross national product is in corporate crime, street crime, white collar crime and, of course, organized crime.
5) A 'grey' market in which friends, neighbors and other people exchange labor instead of cash in order to avoid taxation.
Economic Imperialism: The use of state power by multinational corporations to ensure cheap docile labor, access to natural resources and easy entry into the markets of weaker, poorer countries. Japan, Germany and the U.S. are the major capitalist nations involved in the practice while the Soviet Union  engages in a modified version with respect to socialist countries.
Economics, Demand Side: A view that the best way to prevent economic depressions or to get out of them is to make sure capitalists get high enough profits such that they can invest in new factories, outlets and products. Compare to Economics, Supply Side.
Economics, Supply Side: A view that depressions are best handled by increasing wages or decreasing taxes of ordinary citizens in order that they may buy the products and services and thus stimulate the economy. See Economics, Supply Side.
Economism: A term which helps warn against the tendency to turn social revolution into bread and butter issues as trade unions often do. This tendency may leave capitalist relations intact as in American worker movements or minimize the marxian emphasis upon worker self-management, praxis and community as in U.S.S.R. (After Rosa Luxemburg).
Ecriture Feminine: In French postmodern feminist theory, the question is whether it is even possible to cultivate a 'grammar,' a way of knowing and speaking, freed from the misogynous/sexist trappings of masculine culture and male-speak. This is an important enterprise. Establishing such a grammar would open the door to new vistas of meaning, different expressions of truth, alternative ways of knowing and empower women in their daily lives. However, some postmodern feminists have considered whether the question itself might not be cloaked in the logic of masculine thought. After all, developing such a code distances women from men in an sharp, precise way. This is how men understand social phenomena, human relations, and feminine consciousness, according to several postmodern feminists. Thus, on the one hand, a grammar is needed for empowering women; but, on the other hand, the process of producing such a code would further legitimize masculine ways of being/thinking in the lives of women.
Education, revolutionary: A form of education in which cognitive, emotional and political capacities are developed and critical use of them encouraged in the classroom and out within a framework of community. The line between teacher and pupil is eliminated; cooperation rather than competition marks the progress of the class.
Eidetic: Plato used the term to refer to the 'essence of a thing.' Husserl used it to refer to the natural categories of thought and perception into which human beings fit sense data. In Husserlian phenomenology, one sets aside [brackets] all particular aspects of a thing so that its essence will 'shine forth.' Postmodern phenomenology sets aside both eidos and eidetic reduction as human devices rather than intrinsic 'essences' of a thing.
Eleventh Thesis: Philosophers have only interpreted the world in various ways; the point is to change it. This is Marx' comment on the role of depolicitized science, religion and politics. Lenin too said that one best understands social reality when one participates in the building and rebuilding of it.
Emancipation of the Senses: The beginning of the radical impulse in Marx was his understanding that human freedom is rooted in the human sensibility: The senses do not just "receive" what is given to them, they transform, interpret, form and discover that which exists or may exist. In a society based on alienated, divided labor people perceive things as they are given by bosses and managers; made by owners and elites; used by the existing society. In a repressive society, new emancipatory forms are forbidden. Breaking out of this prison requires breaking away from alienated society and emancipating the senses of each and every adult person once again to interpret, transform and discover. See Praxis.
Emancipatory science: a system of research and critique by which the human interests in change and renewal toward a rational and decent society are served. Contrast to positivism (empiricism) which describes what is in such a way as to lead the student to believe that what is must be. Contrast also with "objective" science which purports (incorrectly) to be unconnected to human interests. Emancipatory science is always in dialectic conflict with existing social forms and is served by conflict methodology (which see).
Embourgeoisiement: The thesis that workers are gradually becoming middle class in that they earn more and live the middle class life style. Such views often overlook the loss of control over the means of production and confuses between possession of consumer goods and ownership of productive property. One should not select the better paid workers in the 1st world as case in point to prove the thesis while ignoring exploitation and oppression in the 3rd world upon which the comforts and securities of 1st World workers so much depends. See proletarianization, immiseration.
Engels, Friedrich (1820-1895): A wealthy German Industrialist, friend, colleague and co-author of the Manifesto with Marx. Born to manufacturing wealth, Engels first entered the military but resigned next year. He used his wealth to help the working class movement and, over the years, became an economic, historian, philosopher and revolutionary. He gave the Marx family considerable financial help and took responsibility for the natural child of a maid fathered by Marx. After Marx' death, Engels continued the struggle for social justice. He is credited with collaboration on The Holy Family, the German Ideology, Anti-Duhring, and Origin of the Family among other works. (After WL Reese)
End of Ideology: A thesis that all the political questions of a good society have been worked out and all that remains is to set up the technical means by which to handle social problems. This view (a)tends to freeze society in one historical moment and (b)preempts all future history while (c)eliminating human beings from the production of political culture. The thesis was put forth by a liberal theorist, Daniel Bell. With the collapse of bureaucratic socialism, many in the West believe that all economic history has ended, that all that is left to do is to extend capitalism to other parts of the world and the system is complete. Chaos/Complexity theory teaches us that history never ends; never repeats itself with the precision required by 'modern' science.
Engels, Frederich (1821-1895): Partner, sponsor, and co-author of important articles on political economy, Engels contributed much to "marxian" theory including the criticism of capitalism for turning all values into cash commodities, the view that small business persons are thrown into the proletariat as capitalism progresses, the view that class struggles increase in size and importance and will lead to a revolution abolishing capitalism and bringing a communist society. (After Struik) Some fault Engels for an over-emphasis on economic determinism and 'historical necessity.'
Epoché: A Greek word meaning, to suspend judgment. Pyrrho used the word as a solution to the problem of knowledge; one simply suspend judgment and found ataraxia, pleasure/tranquility. Husserl used it in his modernist phenomenology in order to engage in the process of reducing understanding of a thing to its essence. He called this eidetic reduction. Eidos = essence.
Erotic/Eroticism: Greek, eros = love. Today, any art, music or literature which facilitates mutually rewarding and enjoyable sexual relationships. Erotic art is fulfilling to the human project when it is used to affirm sensuality and sexual passion expressed in a mutually rewarding and enjoyable relationship.
See Pornography for contrasting used of art.
Entelechy: The ability of a form to realize itself in perfection [after Aristotle. Used to claim that there is a natural destiny built into each natural and social system toward which the system strives. Compare to the humanist belief that human beings, increasingly, have choices to make about how to organize family, religious, economic and political life; it is not at all pre-decided.
EPM: The Economic and Philosophic Manuscripts of 1844. They contain much of the humanist/democratic thrust of Marx' work. They were re-discovered and published only in 1932. By 1932, social and cultural factors worked to establish marxism as merely dogmatic economic and materialist doctrine. EPM created a revolution in marxism which infused it with a humanism and a concern for the individual as an active/potential creator of a decent society. This polemic continues to be the central point at dispute between the "structuralists" and the "praxis" wings of marxism (1977).
Exploitation: This term not only refers to the process by which the wealth is taken from the people who produce it, but refers to the more general process by which the capacity to produce culture is impaired by claims of private ownership of the means to produce both material wealth and culture. Farm workers who don't get enough food when working for Del Monte is an example of the first. The use of mass media to merchandize commodities instead of public discourse is an example of the latter, more general form of exploitation. (After L. Crocker)
Exploitation, super. Wages below the level for the reproduction of labor power. Each set of workers needs enough to reproduce itself; to get ready to work the next day, week and year. The amount of work needed to do this is called Necessary Labor [see which].
Expropriation: Socialist economic theory holds that most rich people get rich by 'expropriating' the surplus value of the labor of the working class. This means they take the wealth that is produced by one class and use it to support a very nice life style for another class; using force and ideologies to justify it. There are three ways to expropriate: interest, rent and dividends [see which]. Sometimes corporations fix prices or bribe politicians to increase the rate of expropriation [see corporate crime]. Marx argued that the Expropriators must be expropriated. Cubans expropriated the land and factories which were abandoned after the 1959 revolution; Sandinistas expropriated the farms and firms left when the bourgeoisie fled to Brazil and Miami after the 1979 revolution there. Sometimes liberal states expropriate wealth via taxation. Criminals expropriate through force or fraud. White collar criminals steal from the corporation using the knowledge they have to or by taking bribes...there are lots of ways to 'recycle' wealth. Best that the surplus value go directly to common needs and not have all this war and crime.
Externalization: The process by which humans attribute their essential properties to a God through worship or attribute their hopes and dreams to another person through charisma. At the same time, the evils (faults) in a social system are denied by projecting them on to a devil, witch or a scapegoat.
F G H I J K L
Fabianism: A socialist movement advocating a slow, peaceful and parliamentary
road to socialism. It was founded in England in 1884 and gets its name from the Fabian
Society [after a cautious Roman general, Quintus Fabius]. It's most famous members are
George Bernard Shaw, Sidney and Beatrice Webb, G.D.H. Cole and H.G. Wells.
The society founded the London School of Economics and helped found the Labour Party. The Labour party looked beyond the immediate wage/work process interests of workers to help institute many of the social justice programs; free education, health care, housing allowances and pensions for all citizens.
Factors in Production: Land, labor and capital goods, sometimes entrepreneurship. In capitalist economics, each factor is entitled to its share; rent for land, wages/salaries for workers, interest and dividends for capital and royalties/fees for entrepreneurs.
Socialists regard labor as the sole creator of wealth; these categories are seen to be inventions to justify expropriation. Capital is thus wealth created by previous workers; land is a gift of nature which does not have Value until worked by labor.
False consciousness: The inability to identify and act on one's own human interests. Marx' assumption was that the class controlling the means of production controlled the production of ideas. The ruling class produce ideas which justify its own existence. Being powerless, the subjected class readily embraces this set of false ideas about what is and what must be. Thus, they embrace as true and necessary their own subjugation.
Family (disorganization): There are several factors in capitalism which tend to disorganize families: (1) the capitalist philosophy of individualism and self-interest, (2) the conversion of social relationships into cash commodity, (3) the need for cheap labor, (4) the use of the family as an instrument to reproduce the labor force, (5) the use of the spouse as an unpaid worker, (6) the use of advertizing to turn children into demanding consumers, (7) the division of labor into paid male work and unpaid women's work, (8) the destruction of the family as a productive unit, (9) the conversion of the family as a productive unit to a unit of consumption, and (10) the inability of parents to socialize children as the state controls the educational process and converts it from moral to technical training. Then too, advanced (semi-) monopoly capitalism moves workers and capital around the world to take advantage of short-term profit opportunity. This tends to destroy the family system as men migrate in search of work and as whole communities are deserted by capitalists when they move jobs to cheap labor states and countries.
Family Violence: In radical family theory, family violence has several major sources; patriarchy, bureaucracy and/or capitalism; all of which stratify power. In Patriarchy, men are given the moral right to beat women and children into compliance. In capitalism and or/bureaucratic socialism, those men who have been socialized to patriarchy have no social realm in which to exercise their 'masculinity' other than in the home and/or fights and brawls in bars and sports events. When things go badly at work, males often resort to pretheoretical violence within the family.
Fascism: Latin: fascis = bundle. A bundle of rods [signifying unity of the people] was a symbol of authority of Roman magistrates. Now used to refer to a form of government in which state power is used to reproduce elite privilege in class, race, religious or ethnic inequality. It is marked by Nationalism, Authoritarianism, Totalitarianism and Militarism. The fascism state has two main activities: suppression of dissent at home usually by force and propaganda and 2) exploitation of minorities or other countries to ensure loyalty from the masses at home. Usually based in the small business strata and supported by the underclass in its desperation, fascism gathers into its hands the entire state apparatus, the army, the universities, schools, the press and networks, and all workers organizations. Although workers, small business, and the surplus population expect to benefit from state power and thus support fascism, the usual case is that big business thrives by increasing its share of surplus value and inflation runs wild as the state tries to maintain legitimacy either by coercion or by appeals to patriotism and nationalism. Deficit spending has been used extensively in the late 20th century to preserve legitimacy.
Germany and Italy were the first modern states to try fascism. The best modern example is in Brazil (1977). "Out of human dust, fascism unites and arms the scattered masses. It gives the petty bourgeois the illusion of an independent force. It begins to imagine it will really command the state." Trotsky. See also Corporativism.
Fascism, techno-: The use of computers and other electronic devises to monitor the behavior of workers, customers, voters, students and petty criminals. These range from software which count the numbers/time/topics of employees who use the computer to electronic 'dogs' which sniff out all sorts of forbidden chemicals. Soon every automobile will come with a chip with which police can monitor speed, location and fix their location via communications satellites. A growth industry.
Football: A game in which the object is to move a ball into the space protected by a male solidarity. Football began as a contest between hostile villagers in which the head of a fallen enemy was kicked back and forth between the villages or opposing armies. The Romans brought the game to England some 2000 years ago. By the 16th c., the English had adapted it as a forum in which competing classes and regions inflicted physical damage on one another in controlled situations. A proper match placed goal posts a mile or more apart. Shrove Tuesday was a day in which most villages and parishes had one great game before Lent; countrymen against city dwellers; merchants against gentlemen, guilds against guilds and workers against workers in nearby towns. King Charles forbade the game since it injured too many prospective soldiers.
In the modern game in the USA, it is a star system in which the elegance of physical grace and skill is used as an envelop into which to insert advertisements; as such it helps solve the 'realization problem' of advanced monopoly capitalism.
A Freudian analysis would focus upon the center as the symbolic mother; the ball as a phallic symbol and the opposing goal line as the hymen of a forbidden female.
Feminists would note that it reproduces machismo and teaches young men to compete and to dominate other young men.
Fordism: A form of labor process with an extreme sub-division of labor, close control of the work process by supervisors and the pace of work determined by the speed of the Assembly Line. Named after the Ford automobile factory system, itself modeled after the meat packing plants in Chicago. Compare to Z theory, democratic self-management.
Foucault, Michel (1926-1984): French psychologist who stopped working within the existing systems of social control and began to criticize them. He made the point that knowledge is an important form of power which can be used for or against people. Foucault went on to criticize the psychiatry in his book on Madness and Civilization, Medicine in The Birth of the Clinic, and the criminal justice system in his book, Discipline and Punish. These all concerned the use of language/power against those confined/treated by such institutions. He studied the 'games of truth' in his last work and argued that truth-telling was a political virtue.
Feminism: A movement and an awareness of the cultural sources of gender inequality. The movement have three major components: separatist feminism; bourgeois feminism; and socialism feminism. These contrast to traditional femininity/gendering patterns in which men use four kinds of power to dominate women: social power, moral power, economic power and, often, physical force. Feminism is opposed to biological interpretations of gender inequality; to most theological justifications as well as structural-functional views which hold that gender division of labor is essential to the functioning of all societies. See each form separately for a more detailed explanation. See also Feminist theory/socialist feminism.
Feminism, Bourgeois: Bourgeois feminists advocate equal opportunity and equal rights for all women. They demand the right to compete fairly for all jobs and professions including the top positions in public and private life. This stands in contrast with traditional gendering patterns in which women are taught to defer to men in all public and most private spheres. It stands in contrast to socialist feminism which argues for the elimination of class and bureaucracy rather than for equal opportunity to compete in what socialist call 'structures of domination.' It also contrasts to separatist feminist who don't want to compete with men but to exclude them from their social life.
Feminism, Separatist: Separatist women want to build separate family systems, separate business, separate sports and recreational as well as separate religious organizations from men. Separatist feminists argue from the data that men are irreconcilably violent, brutal, demanding and dominating. Some separatist feminist reproduce role inequality in personal and public relationships; others advocate a much more democratic set of relationships. Separatist feminists constitute about 2-3 percent of the population .
Feminism, Socialist: Socialist feminist urge the elimination of all forms of inequality; class, race and gender. Embodied best, perhaps by the Angela Davis, a professor of philosophy and an Afro-America, socialist feminists argue that Bourgeois feminists and their call for equal opportunity to compete only changes the gender of the oppressor, not the oppression. They point out that the gender division of labor converts women into unpaid workers who chief role is to reproduce each new generation of workers and to repair the physical and psychological damage done by capitalist relations to men by conditions at work and while dis-employed.
Feminist Theology. See theology, feminist...sorry for your trouble. Saves space this way.
Feminist Methodology: Feminist methodology has several major differences from modern science methodology. Feminist theory emphasizes Standpoint epistemology; a view that each major group in society has its own standpoint from which to understand and act upon social life. This contrasts to the presumption of Objectivity in which modernists assume that the researcher can stand apart from society and history; can make judgments and form theory without any cultural or political bias. Feminist methodology also values story-telling and poetry as sources of insight and understanding while modern science tends to use standardized questions and statistical analysis. Finally, feminist methodology is openly partisan on behalf of egalitarian gender relationships and a much wider status-role for women...and for men too.
Feminist Theory: Feminist social theory argues that traditional gender roles are culturally determined and unnecessarily limiting to women. Instead of seeing the sources of gender inequality in biology or physiology, feminists hold that power inequalities reproduce gender inequalities. Feminists hold that patriarchy is a special, historical family form; that there have been dozens of other family forms in human history and that new family forms are emerging all the time as social, technical and economic conditions change. Most feminists accept gender divisions but do not want these extended to public office, high status jobs, middle class professions or sports. See Bourgeois and socialist feminism.
Femininity, Traditional: Traditional women view their role in life to center around the family; mother, home-maker, supportive wife and care-giver to the handicapped and elderly in the extended family. About 85% of the USA population, these women accept both biblical and 'scientific' statements that these are the natural and indispensable roles special to women. See other feminist thought: bourgeois, separatist and socialist-feminist.
Fiscal crises: The capitalist state buys a thin political legitimacy by financing the costs of capitalism out of the state treasury. Care of the surplus population, education and insurance of workers, supply of transport facilities, energy, police, and research all enable an unprofitable system of production to show (and pay) a "profit" when such costs are absorbed by the state. At the same time, the state declines to tax the rich and the corporation to pay for these things. The crises comes when the state generates additional funds by printing money (thus producing inflation), raising taxes on the middle classes (thus immiserating and infuriating those who receive wages and salaries which can be taxed), or by deficit spending (thus adding to inflation and to debt service.) See also Kondratieff cycles.
Football, (ideology of): Football helps reproduce capitalist ideology by the character of the sport. Among the capitalist ideas and relationships found in commodity football are: (1) division of mental and physical labor; a special coaching cadre plans while the players execute, (2) objectification of football players; they are merely human capital to be used and discarded, bought and sold for profit, (3) the extraction of surplus value from fans through the market system and from players through the wage system, (4) militarism in training and in game as well as pregame shows, (5) emphasis in the game on possession, (6) and on destructive competition, (7) as well as upon accumulation (of points) without purpose, (8) as well as on the demand for respect for authority, (9) there is also an labor elite of "stars," and (10) passive consumption for "fans." Football is as close to political fascism as any institution except prisons in America. As in the larger society, racism and sexism divides the productive workers (players) and interferes with collective action.
Football is used by universities to maintain the dramaturgical image of greatness even as more socially valuable educational programs are missing or reduced. In the fiscal crises of capitalism, a university like Oklahoma, Nebraska, or Notre Dame can generate fanatic support even with third-rate academic programs. (After Koch).
Force, Structural: A system of social practices which fixes as permanent the unequal chance to satisfy needs. These include: racism, sexism, class position, ethnocentricism, bureaucracy as well as nationalism. One cannot criticize nor change such structures without facing a variety of formal and informal sanctions. Apart from a belief in the legitimacy of such norms due to childhood socialization, structural force is based upon fear of and submission to sanctions as well as the individual's recognition of his/her own powerlessness as well as by lack of realistic alternatives. (After Habermas). The various forms of authority (charismatic, tradition, legal-rational) validate "structural" force.
Foundationalism: A pejorative term applied to the effort to ground some set of principles upon pre-given facts. Postmodernists are generally opposed to foundationalism; affirmative postmodernists accept foundations as long as those who set them accept responsibility for so doing; thus it is possible to 'ground' morality but only as a set of behaviors special to a given social life world constructed by humans for particular, historical purposes.
Frankfurt School: The Institute for Social Research founded in 1923 and located in Frankfurt, Germany; it brought back concern with ideology, human intentionality and reflexivity into marxist theory and into sociology. It was marxist, Freudian, weberian and neo-Hegelian all at once. In World War I, the working class of each country joined the capitalist class to fight other capitalists and workers in other countries. The founders of the Frankfurt Schule thought that ideology was part of the answer and began work on the social sources of fascism and authoritarian personality. They found it in the patriarchal family; in the racism, sexism and fascism of art, cinema, magazines and other mass culture. Then too, orthodox social science tended to adopt the model of objective 'laws' which seemed to be beyond human reach. Radical sociology had been depoliticized by adopting a positivist style after American, French, and British Philosophy of Science. Led by Horkheimer, Adorno, Marcuse, Fromm, Benjamin and others, the marxian interest in alienated consciousness and the creative role of humans in constructing social forms is reasserted. Critical theorists, especially Marcuse, made a criticism of the obstacles to human praxis in both capitalist and "socialist" societies.
Also known as the School of Critical Theory or critical sociology, it recognizes that structural marxism leaves many questions unanswered. Critical theory seeks to remedy this by incorporating theory from Freudianism, phenomenology, and existentialism and lately, from feminist and from postmodern scholarship.
Function/functionalism: Latin; fungi = to perform. In math, the notation, 'y = f(x)' means that the value of 'y' depends upon the value of 'x.' In so adopting such notation, one adopts the idea of a dependent and independent variable...and directional causality, so beware.
In sociology, the term is used to justify existing structures in the claim that society would not function (survive) without those structures. No great problem until one understands that functional theory supports poverty, inequality, hierarchy, gender differentiation and class divisions. Purists also argue that crime, vice, and pollution are necessary to make the system work. With a bit of imagination, one can see that it is a simple matter to build a different society in which such structures were not necessary to make the system work. Fangs are functional on a lion or a snake but not at all necessary on a lamb or a lizard.
Freudian revisionism: The use of the principles of psychology to manage consciousness on behalf of an elite rather than to liberate humans from their inability to communicate with themselves and others honestly and openly. Undistorted communication is a central concern of Freud as was the ability to love and to affirm the "instincts of life." However, his 'vision' was subverted by the use of sociology and psychology to sell commodities on television in a particularly despicable form of Freudian revisionism. Sexual insecurities thus are exploited to sell autos or beer rather than to resolved in order to invest sexuality in mature forms of love. See Freud and/or Marcuse.
Gender: Gender refers to the psycho-social division of labor in a society; not
to the biological and physiological differences between men and women. Gendering varies
dramatically across cultures; biology and physiology vary but little. One uses the words,
male/female to refer to biology; one use the words, men/women to refer to the product of
social gendering work. Most societies socialize to two and only two genders but some
societies provide for three or more. Physiology differences permits the specification of a
great many genders. Gendering patterns begin early to develop some skills, beliefs and
attitudes in young males and females. By age three, most young people begin to embody a
gender division of labor in household, play, school and friendships. In such societies,
boys and girls form separate groups before puberty and begin to embody traditional
patriarchal role relationships soon after puberty. In more egalitarian societies,
childhood is much less differentiated by gender while adult relationships are much less
Gene: A term introduced in 1910 by W. Johannsen which refers to a hypothetical packet of information thought to govern the inheritance of a single trait in a plant or animal. All such traits are determined in part by genetic material and in part by nutrients and other environmental conditions. Most human traits are set by a great deal of separated genetic material working in sequence as well as environmental conditions working in parallel sequence. Thus the mechanical connection between genes and, say, I.Q. cannot be supported.
Geneology: The practice of looking at history in order to re-claim forms of knowledge and being which have been omitted, excluded, disqualified or local. Geneology dismisses any history which is presented as an accurate and complete account of 'that which happened,' or 'ideas about what constitutes a science.' After Foucault.
Genome, the human: The nature and variable structure of the human genome is most important to any theory of human behavior based upon either genes, physiology or psychology. There are 2.9 x 109 base pairs in the human genome. They come in 23 chromosomes. An individual inherits two sets of each. Each individual also inherits the clusterings of base pairs which are uncountable since 300 billion base pairs can produce many quadrillions of clusters. There is basic research ongoing which, one day, might identify significant clusters of base pairs and link them to specific social behaviors. Until that time, all is speculation, ideology and very often coercion to define 'racial' traits or 'innate' ability. See Race, Racism, Ramsey theory.
Government, forms of: There are several forms of government every student should know: anarchy [no rulers], aristocracy [rule of the best], monarchy [rule of a king], oligarchy [rule of the few], democracy [rule of all adult persons via public discourse], totalitarianism [close control of all aspects of public policy by a dictator or a junta], fascism [close control of economics, politics and the media by state officials], neo-fascism [the use of high technology to control thought and behavior more so than the use of police, prisons, and military]. Socialism comes in several forms; bureaucratic socialism [similar to fascism], democratic socialism [same as democracy but extends beyond politics to economics], communism [worker control of production; distribution on the basis of need and/or merit]. Patriarchy refers to a form of social life organized around a large family, band or clan in which the senior male rules. Matriarchy refers to a set of sisters and their children in which the senior female rules. Seniority is based upon several factors; age, experience, wisdom, strength [for men], number of children and personal style. See each entry separately.
G.N.P. (Gross National-Product): The total dollar value of all the goods and services produced for sale by U.S. firms. GNP is the total output of U.S. firms both at home and abroad. However, it is not a measure of the useful and necessary things people do; the unpaid work that women do in the household is not included in the calculation, while many forms of useless production are. It is a measure of quantity, not quality of life in a state. Since capitalism depends on expansion, growth in GNP is closely watched.
Gilligan, Carol: An American social scientist who noted that the voices of women were excluded by L. Kohlberg in his work on the stages of moral development. Gilligan tells us that, if these voices had been included, moral development would have put people and supportive social relations as prior to the use of abstract principles as the bases for assigning moral standing to those who take such tests.
Gramsci, Antonio: (1891-1937). Founder of the Italian Communist Party and author of Prison Notebooks in which he added much to the role of intellectuals in helping or obstructing human emancipation. His concept of 'organic' intellectuals emphasized the connection between social location and political understanding of intellectuals.
Group of Seven: There are seven nations which meet regularly to co-ordinate economic and political policy in the global economy. These are: the USA, Great Britain, France, Italy, Germany, Canada and Japan. They use a variety of tools to maintain a false peace in which food and profits flow from the poorest, hungriest countries in the world to the richest. In the global stratification system, these seven are joined by some 20 or so societies with advanced industrial capacity which extract wealth and food from some 120 or so 'under-developed' countries. Then there are a hand-full of socialist countries outside of this stratification system; China, Cuba, Yemen, Vietnam and others.
Hegel, Georg Wilhelm Friedrich (1770-1831): A German philosopher whose work and
its criticism advanced self-understanding of human beings. From Hegel, Marx took much; the
notion of alienation, the role of labor in creating human consciousness, the idea of a
continuing 'negation of the negation' [see which] and other less tangible contributions
such as Hegel's great confidence in sweeping analysis and personal insight. To Hegel, Marx
gave more. He took an abstract Hegel and brought him into the world of loving, struggling,
bone-weary workers growing daily more miserable in capitalist societies and created the
theoretical basis for democratic self-government, community and praxis with his critique
of Hegel. Hegel is used by some to justify fascism since he held that the state embodied
'objective spirit' [i.e., that what small rationality was possible in human affairs was to
be found in the state].
Hegel charted some 272 natural categories which are the grounding of modern phenomenology. See Phenomenology, postmodern for a different view of analytic categories used in the sciences.
Hegelian dialectic: A view offered by Hegel that all "A" implies "Not A;" that "Not-A" tends to negate "A"; and that a new "A" emerges out of the conflict between "A" and "Not-A". Hegel was concerned to show that one approached absolute knowledge by such a process. Marx' critique was that knowledge was a product of creative human beings, not an absolute to be approached through a dialectic. Marx did, however, accept the principle of the dialectic to account for class conflict and social change.
Hegelian Left: A student movement in Germany which extracted the liberal elements of Hegel's work and used it as a base for social philosophy. In particular, they took Hegel's idea of historical trend to self-knowledge to locate progressive politics in education and the knowledge process. Marx was a member but abandoned H. Left it since it lacked class analysis and gave too much credit to ideas and not enough to action; he located the general interest in workers and democracy more so than the state and science.
Hegemony, Ideological: The use of law, religion, art, science, cinema or literature to celebrate and legitimate one way of doing things to the discredit of alternative ways. It is often used in preference to direct force. Marx put it succinctly, 'In every epoch, the ruling ideas have been the ideas of the ruling class.' Law, religion, art and literature has been and is still being used to justify racism, sexism, class privilege, religious bigotry and ethno-centricism.
Hermeneutics: Greek: hermeneutikos = interpretation. In religion, hermeneutics is the study of the meaning of holy writings. In literary study, it is the search for the 'true' meaning of a text but see postmodern view on the text. In Critical theory, it is the study of how intersubjective understanding is possible and how it emerges through symbolic interaction. Habermas held that a good and decent society requires three forms of knowledge; positive knowledge, hermeneutical and emancipatory knowledge, which see.
Hermeneutics: The science of inter-subjective understanding. A study of how humans mutually organize each other's consciousness. The study of interpersonal (shared) understandings. An inquiry into how human beings can create social life worlds which are sensible to them and shared by them. Ordinarily we think that we think all by ourselves. Yet we recognize that others understand us and we understand them. Such intersubjective understanding probably means that we work together to create meaning. Symbolic interactional theory, ethnomethodology, phenomenology, and dramaturgical analysis all focus in on how social reality is constructed by intending, insightful, cooperative humans. (Greek: hermeneuein; to interpret).
Historical Materialism: The use of the mode of production to explain all existing relationships and all changes in these relationships. According to this view, all analysis of state policy, ideology (including religion, political ideas philosophy, art, and science), the military, and all other social institutions must be firmly based in the state of, and contradictions in, the mode of production of the society in which they occur. Qualitative changes in these social institutions must similarly be explained by changes in the mode of production, or contradictions between various elements of the superstructure and the mode of production. (After Al Syzmanski) With this concept, Marx wanted to reject abstract idealism as a force which shaped human affairs. Any system of explanation must, according to Marx, be concerned with concretely existing factors and be sensitive to the special history of each process which produces human activity. One cannot explain human events in terms of God, chance, destiny, history, fate, or probability. One must explain a society, a car, an individual, an act by the process and means which produces it and only that process. Historical materialism does not reject the role of ideas in the productive process as often assumed. For Marx, human labor involved conscious shaping of nature after an idea. It is this ability to purpose and to act on that purpose which distinguishes "The worse architect from the best of bees."
Historicism: A pejorative term used to reject the belief that there is pattern in history and that the future is determined by the past. The term was introduced by Mannheim and adopted by Troelsch to place more responsibility on humans and to open up the future to alternative, well considered futures. See Pre-history.
Historicity: The particular combination of concretely existing social factors, the interactive effect of which produces a unique event. Since humans create meaning through intention, the causality of an event thus can have a variable pattern. That varying pattern is what we call "history." This contrasts to Ahistoricism in which one seeks unchanging, universal laws with which to explain events. See also stage theory.
Historiography: One's approach to history and to its study is said to be a historiography. There are several theories about how to understand the sweep and patterns in history. There is marxist thought and dialectical materialism as a theory of history; there is the Great Man theory; there is a theological view accepted by most people on earth in which a God or gods exist; have a plan for social life and make changes now and again for good reason. There is technological determinism which says that great inventions create turning points in history; fire, the wheel, the alphabet, irrigated farming, metal working, the steam engine, automobiles, radio, television and now, computers are given great emphasis in explaining the twists and turns in history.
The marxist perspective is that "man makes history and that history has no independent causal power ... thus "historical necessity" and "History decides" are mystifications nowise different from attributing such reified and deified powers to gods, nature, the "absolute" or such. "History does nothing, it fights no battles, owns no riches, and does not use men for its purposes; it is nothing but the activity of men pursuing his ends." Real people do set conditions in concert with other real people which do limit the freedom of choice of other people. If the price of bread or milk is set by an agreement by suppliers and distributors or if only one version of history is permitted, then there are "historical" conditions which "determine" behavior but this does not mean that history determines human affairs as some (including some marxists) would have it. The better view is that there are degrees of freedom for human agency within differing historical contexts.
History: Greek: historia = information, inquiry. That which deals with the unique, the private, the nonrecurring. To be contrasted with modernistic theory, that which deals with the external, the universal, the unchanging patterns of nature and society. In Chaos theory, these distinctions are lost since real systems display a mix of order and disorder; of pattern and variation, of change and renewal.
Housewife. A sexist term from patriarchal
societies which refers to a division of labor in which men are allotted jobs outside the
household while women are restricted to jobs centered around domestic work and parenting.
In such political economy, most forms of power are held by men:economic,
social, moral and physical power. Men control exchange of goods, hold title to
property and livestock, including women and children of the household as well as control
over whatever forms of money are used. Honor, status, title and esteem give men
social power to which women and children defer upon pain or threat or violence. Men
may use fists, clubs, guns and other weapons to enforce rules of patriarchy without legal
redress on the part of women, slaves, serfs, servants or children. Moral power comes
from different religious beliefs, practices and ceremonies all of which combine to enhance
ideological hegemony of men over women. Housewifery and wifery itself tends to
disappear in late monopoly capitalism since gender divisions are often hostile to
ownership concerns for expansion of markets, cheaper labor, and higher profits.
The traditional home and family becomes replaced by single person households in
which men and women form temporary sexual and social liaisons. Children become
economic liabilities as technology expands and improves. Women gain economic and
social power as they take over jobs held by more costly male labor. Parenting tends
to deteriorate as familial and communal resources for parenting and schooling are reduced
in favor of privatized life styles. Males and females gain the illusion of freedom
in such massified, depersonalized, privatized worlds but that freedom is the freedom to be
alone in a struggle for survival in which all human beings are at risk to problems of
health, status, security and violence.
Humanism: An ideology in which human dignity and the collective good is emphasized. Humanism usually uses science and logic to address problems rather than supernatural or mystical approaches. Freedom of the intellect, of criticism and of association are highly valued as well. As such humanism often opposes institutions which are coercive and/or exploitative. Sometimes humanists are criticized by marxists as lacking a sociology, i.e., as not understanding the roots of oppression in the class struggle.
Humanism, Abstract: The view that men and women are the measure of all things; that people should be the master of their own destiny and engineer their own social life world through free and open political discussion. It was to this abstract humanism (of Feuerbach) which Marx objected. In Marx, human nature is a product of social conditions: it is historically determined by concretely existing social relationships rather than existing in a pure form distorted by historical conditions.
Humanism, Socialist: The starting point of socialist/marxist humanism is a militant struggle against "those conditions in which mankind is abased, enslaved, abandoned or rendered contemptible." This militancy goes beyond mere rhetoric to action for two reasons: (1) in struggle one transforms reality and thus satisfies the marxian requirement that humanism must be real and (2) satisfies the marxian requirement that " man [sic] makes history," i.e., that the only hope of emancipation comes from the people themselves. This point emphasizes the value of autonomy in marxian humanism. Socialist humanism also is integral in the sense that it seeks the human fulfillment of the whole of mankind rather than the isolated individual or a single class although Marx does invest hope in class struggle as the engine of progressive humanism. The goal of any marxist humanism worthy of the name is to affirm the dignity and to support the promise of human beings. (After Schaff). See Postmodern theology.
Human Nature: In Marx, the mode of producing culture determines the being of people. "Production (in capitalism) does not merely produce man as a commodity, it produces him as a mentally and physically dehumanized being." The larger point is that human beings, unlike animals, have the rare gift and ability to create themselves in their full humanity if they act upon this radical anthropology. Marx's vision of human nature was that it became human in the process of creating culture (in the labor process). Here culture implies an ongoing process of intending humans joined in creating a rational mode of production. Just as language implies joined activity, the creation of all culture is collective activity. Art, science, medicine, knowledge, self and society are collective productions which comprise the nature of those who produce them.
Human Rights: A set of rights which include: freedom of worship, of assembly, of association, of speech, travel and migration as well as democratic self government. The United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights includes these elements but also stresses cultural diversity and respect for national borders. Many critics argue that there are Human Obligations which parallel these rights. Other claim the idea of human rights go against human nature [see Hobbes] and/or that in any case, they are hopelessly utopian without great change in social institutions.
Husserl, Edmund (1859-1938): Husserl is noted for his work on modernist phenomenology. He developed a method for identifying the basic concepts with which people worked...it is called eidetic reduction. The process of discovering the eidos [essence] begin with a bracketing of all its non-essential elements. Space, form, weight, and time for example have an essence apart from what occupies the space; what takes the form; what gives the weight or what happens in the time. The process of finding essence is called the epoché. Noesis is the process of intending to do, say, feel, make something; noema is the object intended; phenomena is the thing, act or thought from the point of view of an outside party trying to understand internal psychological workings. Postmodern phenomenology takes the view that space, form, time and such exist only in the particular case; there is no pre-existing ontology which answers to the concept. Without something having a form, there is no form. The concept of the cube is all abstract idealism with no concrete reality since, in nature, there is no perfect cube. (After WL Reese)
Hyper-reality: A concept coined by the French postmodernist, Jean Baudrillard. Baudrillard argues that objects (commodities) have more control over us then we do of them. The term used to make the claim that whatever reality exists has been replaced by image, illusion or 'simulacrum.' This occurs in late monopoly capitalism [Jameson] and is made possible by mass electronic media [Baudrillard] harnessed to the profit needs of commodity capitalism or the managerial needs of the capitalist state [Marcuse]. In a consumer-driven society, we buy things for the signs and statements they make rather than for their utility. The hyper-real is a copy of a copy of a copy ad infinitum such that no original can be found. Thus LB Johnson tries to present himself as a fictionalized FD Roosevelt or a Ronald Reagan tries to act like a president rather than an actor portraying a president.
Hyper-space: This term refers to the difficulty of locating firm and indisputable boundaries on both social groups, nations, peoples, races, genders, universities or even physical objects [see fractal]. The allied concept of cyber-space eliminates the concept of geographical space altogether.
Identity, social: The socially determined answer to the question, "Who am
i?" One's social identity and self system is comprized of all of the roles (and
associated social identities) which a person occupies and enacts in the course of a given
stage in life. In mass societies, roles are so brief, superficial, and manipulative that
an identity does not emerge as a stable, discernible pattern. Without social identity,
behavior is often unstable, antisocial, and/or self indulgent. In Logic, identity denotes
the absolute equality of one thing and another.
Ideology: A generalized blueprint by which a given social life world is created. That which given meaning and purpose to life. Art, music, poetry, prose, science, myths, jokes, and song. Religion is an especially important part of an ideology. Sometimes ideology becomes reified into dogma and comes to be more than a general guide to the construction of social reality but rather a superorganic thing beyond the control of humans.
As a term, it is used to put down any social philosophy with which one disagrees. The term began as 'the study of ideas' by Destutt de Tracy (1775-1836) in opposition to the ideological hegemony of Napoleon. All social life requires a set of fairly comprehensive [but not necessarily compatible] ideas as the beginning point for the 'self-fulfilling prophecy' in the construction of a social life world. The only interesting questions are: which set of ideas, how are they to be transmitted to young people and how much criticism is to be allowed? Marx held 1) ideology varies with the kind of political economy at hand, 2) it varies with position with class, race, gender and ethnicity, 3) it is necessary for solidarity purposes, and 4) it can be progressive or oppressive depending on which ideas are valued most highly.
Ideological Hegemony: The attempt on the part of all ruling classes to universalize their own beliefs, values, morality, and opinions as part of the "natural order of things." Control of schools, law, churches, the media, as well as the political process aids in consolidating hegemony. (Gramsci)
Immiseration: A process by which poverty and misery are produced by the ordinary operation of a social system. Marx held that the working class would be immiserated by the ordinary workings of capitalist since it tended to disemploy workers and to concentrate wealth and political power in the hands of a few; then too, capitalism tends to cycles of boom and bust which periodically immiserates both workers and owners. Many say that capitalism tends to eliminate the lower and upper classes and points to the great improvement of workers in Europe and N. America [see Embourgeoisement thesis. However, when one looks at the whole world instead of the more prosperous nations, there is support for the thesis. Compare to the view that poverty and misery arise from biology, psychology or faulty socialization by mothers.
Imperialism/Empire: A set of nations, countries, peoples all controlled by a central nation which benefits from empire. Imperialism includes: 1) expansion of production and distribution outside national borders, 2) central control of money supply and finance, 3) export of finished goods to client nations, 3) division of labor; manual labor in the colonies, intellectual labor in the core country, 4) restriction of human/civil rights in the periphery. Often direct military control is used until a 'friendly' government can be installed. Both capitalist countries, monarchies, dictatorships and Soviet socialism established empires.
Imperialism: Marxist-Leninist theory of: Marx and later Lenin argued that the capitalist class must demand that the state help them obtain overseas markets and a dependable supply of cheap raw materials in those countries which have them. Overseas markets are necessary since the workers at home do not get paid 100% of the value of the goods they produce; therefore they cannot buy it all back; in order to 'realize profits,' markets in other countries are necessary. Since capitalists in other countries want the same thing, the capitalist state has to go to war and or bribe government officers in the target country. Cheap supply of raw materials are also necessary to keep production going and to keep profits up. The USA is the chief architect of capitalist imperialism today with over 286 military bases and the C.I.A. to provide 'friendly' countries for some 500 US Corporations which buy and sell around the world. The Group of Seven rich capitalist countries cooperate to manage this capitalist world order.
Imperialism (Economic): A whole network of methods of control (economic, political, military, cultural) which the dominant groups in one country use to subjugate and exploit people in other countries. The power of U.S., Japanese, and West European governments and corporations in numerous areas of the world has been and still is the major cause of underdevelopment. Most of the time, imperialism by the U.S. is called "aid" or economic development. Imperialism does aid many in dominated countries; usually large land owners, cooperative politicians; and small business temporarily. But as capital intensive production replaces labor intensive production, a surplus population grows, community lost, prices increase, crime increases and the whole process moves toward fascism to bring law and order. Imperialism has three major sources in Marx; The search for markets to realize surplus value; the export of surplus capital to other countries where interest and profits are higher; and the search for cheaper labor as workers in the advanced nations make gains in wages and working conditions. (After Marx).
Inplode/implosion: The tendency of phenomenon in postmodern times to turn inward thus destroying themselves and/or the assumptions which ground them. Thus, meaning implodes when special micro-languages are used in medicine, computer science or religious sects. After Baudrillard.
Individual, Theory of: The marxian theory of the individual (sometimes called the Philosophy of Man (Woman)) has three fundamental assumptions: (a) that the individual is a part of nature and not apart from it, (b) that the individual exists as a function of social relations and (c) the individual is a product of self-creation-of his or her own labor within social relations.
Individualism: A social philosophy which sets the single person as the measure and repository of all judgment, wisdom, sin, folly and morality. Adam Smith, Jeremy Bentham, John Stuart Mill and Herbert Spencer provided the arguments for individualism. It is part of the Protestant ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism since it justifies private interests above collective/public interests. It is progressive in that it opposed monarchy, church hierarchy, deadening collectivism and suppression of human rights. See Praxis for a more balanced social philosophy.
Individualism (Possessive): There are several assumptions which are used to justify the private accumulation of wealth among which are: (1) to be human means to be free from dependence on the will of others. (2) The individual is free from any relations into which (s)he does not voluntarily enter with a view of pursuing his/her own interests. (3) The individual is essentially the proprietor of his/her own person and capacities, for which (s)he owes nothing to society. (4) In a market society, one can sell one's capacities in exchange for fair remuneration. While each assumption could be criticized on a number of counts, the main points of rebuttal are in order:
1 . To be human involves the capacity to create culture.
2. Culture, by its nature cannot be produced apart from social relations.
3. A person learns to produce culture as a consequence of a labor intensive process called socialization. One cannot socialize one oneself.
4. In a market economy, one may sell one's labor power only if some of the value of one's labor is appropriated as profit by one who purchases it.
Individual (and Socialism): According to Schaff, what matters most in socialism is the principle that the welfare of the human individual is the supreme good. "Socialism is by definition a system in which every individual is entitled to genuine, full development." Enmeshed in society, the real, concrete individual is the concern of revolution and is the maker of history. According to Schaff and the humanist marxism he embodies, social revolution is the protest of real humans against their isolation from community and it is this which makes marxism sensible. Without concern for the fate of the individual, all struggle loses its point. This view opposes the focus on class, class conflict and class struggle apart from the goal of relieving alienation and ensuring the possibility of praxis. An emphasis on the single individual has problems: it may encourage possessive individualism, it may deflect attention from social relationships and it may endanger social revolution to the extent that privatized individuals find comfort and benefits from stratified societies. "Man is an animal which can develop into an individual only in society." (Marx)
Infrastructure: The material base of a society; its method of producing goods and services. Roads, bridges, dams, power stations, sewage and water purification systems as well as all those lines leading into and out from offices, homes and factories. Capitalism systems externalized the costs of production by transferring the costs of the infra-structure to the state which, in turn, uses taxes on workers to pay for these essential tools.
Institutional racism: Those accepted practices which permit certain racially identified population categories to be excluded from the production of culture, usually political culture, and relegated to menial work. Since institutional racism involves rules, policies, precedents, it often occurs that people who are not racists continue the exclusion of people from access to housing, medicine, law, politics and education by following ordinary procedures and recruiting from within kinship, friendship and ethnic affiliations.
Institutional sexism: Practices in everyday life which presume women are less capable than are men. In law, religion, moral development theory as in business, women are treated as if they did not have full adult standing. In the classroom, men are called before women; women are touched more frequently; diminitives are used to refer to women [Jeannie instead of Jean; Susie instead of Susan; Elizabeth becomes Betsy] while men are called by their adult names [James instead of Jimmy; Robert instead of Bobby]. Then too professors often respond to a comment made by a male while passing over comments made by women.
Insurgent Sociologist: [Now, Critical Sociology] A journal published by the Socialist sociology collective at the University of Oregon in 1971. The journal is dedicated to the liberation of sociology from bourgeois ideological hegemony; to the transformation of capitalism and to the building of socialism.
Interest: The price paid for the loan of money. Interest comes from surplus value [which see]. Sometimes interest is a fair return on investment. Sometimes it comes from super exploitation [which see]. One should be careful here; Biblical law provided for usury; a fair charge for the wear and tear of equipment lent to someone, and for a small payment for the loan of money. However interest rates of 10, 20, 50 and 100 percent per year were defined as violation of God's law. In addition, debts were forgiven entirely every seven years [that's where we get the word, sabbatical]. In capitalist societies, interest rates are supposed to be set by the free market. There are two practices which ignore free market ideology; first banks get together and fix interests rates. Second, the state sets interest rates up or down in order to stimulate or discourage consumption and investment [see corporate crime for the first; Keynesian economics for the second]. See also rents and dividends; Usury.
Internal Colonialism: A theory of poverty in which (1) one ethnic group dominates another in a given country; (2) there is territorial separation of subordinate ethnic groups into "homelands," "reservations," or "Native reserves," (3) a special government created by the dominant group to rule the subordinate group. The laws to be applied differ from those of the dominate group but are fashioned by them and (4) the systematic appropriation of the surplus value of the labor of the subordinate group by the dominate. As Walls points out, the concept is applied in the U.S. where it doesn't fit too well. Walls insists that poverty in Appalachia and other areas is due to the normal workings of capitalism while the term is safer to use than that of class conflict and socialism as a cause and solution to poverty. (After Walls).
International, First: (1864-1876). An organization founded in London to co-ordinate the working class movement around the world. The organizing committee included G. Odger, W.R. Cremer and Karl Marx. It had modest success, always limited by nationalism, conservative religion, racism and gender privilege.
Internationalism: The term refers to worker solidarity which reaches beyond national borders. One of the factors which divide workers and get them engaged in destructive competition for jobs is nationalism. This is called alienation of patriotism. In the Manifesto it is clear that the proletariat have no homeland. Internationalism is an inseparable part of communism. The auto, textile or computer industry in the U.S. can move to south Korea, India or Mexico and play those workers off against those in this country. By paying low wages in one country (S. Korea: $.22 per hour, Hong Kong: $.57 per hour; U.S.: $2.99 per hour), wages can be depressed and the "surplus" value extracted from workers increased. The workers of the world must unite to prevent this competition. Given historically existing antagonisms, this is indeed difficult.
International Monetary Fund: The financial agency used by rich countries to force debtor nations to institute state policy in order to return both principle and interest to the banks which loan money to them. Higher taxes, fewer programs of social justice, and greater share of the gross national income in poor nations ensue as a result of the work of the IMF. The USA is a dominant power in the governing of the IMF. It is one of three power tools used to force poor countries to bend to the USA and the Group of Seven which the IMF serves. The other two are the C.I.A. and the US Military; usually Military Advisor Groups which provide weapons and training to armies serving local, friendly elites.
International, Socialist. There have been four. The first was organized by Marx and the International Workingmen's Association; it met in 1864. The Second was organized in 1889 but collapsed when German, English and French workers opted for national interests rather than international class struggle. The Third International, called Comintern, was organized by Stalin and died when he died. The Fourth was organized in opposition to Stalin by Trotsky in 1938 as an alternative to Stalinism. It continues but without mass, transnational support. Ernst Mandel is its best known leader.
Interpellation: The process by which one enters into and is understood through a special language system [la langue]. All persons, in order to convey intended meaning, situate themselves and/or are inserted within the language system in use. For example: in order for a jailhouse lawyer to represent a fellow inmate's case during a trial, the jailhouse lawyer must situate him/herself into and be inserted within the language of law. Indeed, within the stated illustration, this is understood to be "good" lawyering. The interpellated subject, then, is, knowingly or not, an agent for the continued legitimacy of the language in operation.
Intertextual: Infinitely complex interconnections between stories about nature, society or history which do not permit of clear and identifiable beginnings, boundaries, endings or binary oppositions.
Absolute intertextuality presumes everything is connected. After Bauman.
Issue: A conflict situation in which there is no accepted solution for dealing with an exigency. Often two (or more) publics take differing positions on how to reduce mismatch between system and environment; wisdom and judgment are required to resolve issues. A problem, on the other hand, is a situation in which there is consensus on how to deal with the mismatch; only technical reason is necessary to solve a problem. Problems have solutions; issues require a political process in order for a solution be generated.
Japanization: The introduction into countries other than Japan of industrial
relations systems and methods of production generally considered to be typical of
Japanese-owned companies. Supporters claim that Japanese management techniques make for
greater productivity and less conflictual industrial relations. Critics say that such
methods intensify work; in effect, "working smarter" also means working harder
for the same pay; and that it reduces workers' control over how they do their jobs.
Japanese companies themselves use different methods in different countries. For example, a
Japanese company may have a company union in Japan, a tame union chosen in a "beauty
contest" in Britain, and a non-union plant in the United States. Japanese companies
outside Japan also omit some of the more desirable features of employment by a large
corporation in Japan, most notably "lifetime employment". See also: kaizen, lean
production, quality circles (QC), team working, total quality management (TQM). For a good
general introduction to the debate, see Global Japanization? The transnational
transformation of the labour process, edited by Tony Eiger and Chris Smith,
London and New York, Routledge.
Jouissance: A notion of profound significance in French postmodern theory. As developed by Jacques Lacan, jouissance (delight, hope, bliss) refers to that enjoyment which is beyond; that excess or fulfillment which is beyond. Its application to postmodern theory signals how, through discourse, we try and fail to convey our needs, hopes, despairs, longings, aspirations; in short, our desire. However, words and phrases (whether spoken or written) are incomplete. They do not ensure us of our jouissance. We struggle to ensure that our desire finds embodiment in discourse, through intersubjective communication and through the language of our behavior and life cycles. We seek and search; sometimes in pro-social ways; sometimes in purely private ways; sometimes in ways which exploit and oppress others. See Desire, Discourse, four.
Jus: Latin: ius = right, law. There are four kinds of law those in the sociology of law should study closely; jus civile or civil law; jus divinum = divine or eternal law; jus gentium = the law of nations or international law; and jus naturale, natural law. One must be careful here, Natural law usually means the same thing as jus divinum while natural law means those regularities in nature [and maybe society] which can be teased out by the scientific method. Jus civile and jus gentium are clearly made by humans; there is considerable argument between premodern thinkers and modern thinkers about the reach, if any, of Natural law. Postmodernist tend to see all such laws as human work.
Justice: Latin: ius = right; law: That which is right and proper in terms of a given set of principles or traditions. One must distinguish between justice stemming from the technical, rational application of a set of formally established rules, laws, or standards on the one side and that justice which comes from social status, mercy, compassion, love and reason which transcend technical rationality. Often technical justice is used to defeat efforts to obtain more substantive justice in housing, jobs, health care, education and social standing.
Justice, Distributive: Those judgments which attempt to restore and repair the damage done by a criminal act. The idea is that justice and the general good is better served if a criminal is made to restore the original conditions of, if impossible, make some restitution to the victim. In the case of wrongful death, the person responsible might have to provide for the family of the person who died. Roman law is much more oriented toward distributive justice than is Common [English] Law. Compare to Retributive Law, below.
Justice, Retributive: Those judgements which effect revenge upon the convicted criminal; an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth, or a life for a life. In retributive systems of justice, the idea is that pain and punishment have healing qualities for both the victim and the perpetrator. The victim [of family of] gains a satisfaction from knowing that the perpetrator has experienced the same pain, shame or loss as has s/he; the perpetrator is said to benefit since s/he learns to avoid such behavior in the future.
Justice, Technical. A ruling or justification of an act from a set of established laws, rules, norms or values. The problem is that the rules, norms and laws are often biased in favor of one group or another so that when justice done, it may be irrational in terms of human rights or humane reason.
Justice, Substantive. A form of ideological culture in which some set of principles are used to ground the judgment of right and wrong, guilt or innocence, reward or punishment in a society. A society cannot be called a 'just' society until such principles honor and sustain dignity and productivity for every human being.
Justify/justification: To show a lawful reason why an act may be done. Here law means both a universally valid principle as well as the tight logical rationality used to derive a judgment. The question arises about the larger justice of the 'lawful reason.'
Just-in-time production: Just-in-time (JIT) production entails having the parts delivered as they are needed, avoiding costs for buying, storing and protecting from theft. Debate often centers on how far this can go, and it often pointed out that Toyota, the company which had gone furthest along the road of JIT, has now reintroduced warehouses because of the traffic jams around the factory caused by trucks making just-in-time deliveries. An advantage of JIT for workers is that it gives remarkable scope for a quick and effective strike. If the gearbox assembly plant goes on strike at a multinational like Ford, it can stop production across Europe in a couple of days.
Kerala: A small state in India controlled by communists since 1957. The first
and most successful communist government elected in a free and open election. It held was
rejected by voters in 1959 and returned to power in 1967. It has one of the highest
literacy rates, lowest death rates, lowest crime rates and the highest employment rates in
India. [After M. Zarariah].
Keynes, John Maynard (1883-1946): British economist who wrote a book in 1937, General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money, which has become the key text for saving capitalism from its cycles of boom and bust. He also did work on probability which continues to be used in mathematics. See below and see Kondratieff curves.
Keynesian economics: The ups and downs of capitalism can be eliminated or at least moderated in the short term by the fiscal policy of the capitalist state. When times are bad, the state stimulates demand with grants, low interest rates, subsidies, money supply, tax incentives or by buying the 'surplus' production and giving it away to needy people. When times get better, the state is supposed to increase taxes to pay for all the things it did during a depression. President Roosevelt first used Keynesian economics in the great depression of 1930; President Nixon said, 'We are all Keynesians.' President Reagan used the fiscal policy of the state to buy political legitimacy and left a huge national debt for the current generation to pay off. About 9 of 10 dollars used by the state to stimulate growth go to the rich. Named for John Maynard Keynes, British Economist who made the case in a book written in 1930; General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money.
Keynesian economics will work best if and only if the credit is used wisely and is paid back by taxes when times are good. Depressions will be less serious and shorter but, again, the long term tendency of capitalism is to destroy itself by disemployment, concentration of wealth and subversion of the political process. Keynesian economics can postpone or moderate these tendencies but not eliminate them. In the USA, state credit is used but, since President Reagan, the taxes have not been collected to pay back the debt.
Kibbutz: Agricultural communes in Israel in which workers share in planning of work, parenting, health care, education and recreation. It takes the slogan: From each according to ability; to each according to need. Kibbutzim were founded by Jewish socialists from Europe after the founding of the Israeli state in 1949. One of the more successful in Israel is Maagan Michael on the Coast of the Mediterranean; it produces fish, fruits, drip irrigation technology and some market vegetables. Housing is assigned free on the basis of seniority and need. It has its own collective nursery but children go home at night; it has a senior center where elderly folk may work for wages or not. It provides free health care, free education up to high school and pays for college tuition. Young men and women live in separate houses after age 16 and generally run their own lives. People may eat in the cafeteria free or they may buy their own food and prepare it at home. There is a theatre which shows movies, plays and concerts. It is one of 300; not all of which are as successful since they exist in a larger capitalist economy.
King, Martin Luther: A very effective Afro-American Civil Rights leader, M.L. King helped organize boycotts, sit-ins, and marches on behalf of black Americans. King was assassinated in Memphis in 1968; he had become much more a threat to the powers elite since he was there to support black workers in Memphis and had begun to oppose the war in Vietnam. King referred to the welfare system as an 'evil system' which corrupts people and called for more sweeping reforms. The F.B.I. engaged in secret and illegal efforts to discredit King. There is now a national holiday and a great many public honors given him.
Kondratieff Cycles: Capitalism tends to exhibit regular cycles of boom and bust; there are three kinds. Long cycles with 30 to 50 year waves are called K. cycles after the Russian economist who identified them in 1910. There have been several going back to 1740 then 1790, 1840, 1873, 1890, 1930 and now, perhaps the USA is on the downturn of such a wave. They come about since capitalism does not share out profits enough for all the wealth produced to be bought in the marketplace. Workers do not get paid 100% of the value they produce; owners cannot use all the remainder. A surplus accumulates, workers are laid off, factories close and the whole system tends to slow down.
Then after companies go bankrupt, products wear out, and prices fall, new demand is generated and there is an upswing. There are several 'solutions' to these cycles chief among which are Keynesian economics, wars, crime, welfare, and the inflow of foreign capital; all renew demand and supply. Unemployment is said to prevent inflation and these economic cycles. There is much debate whether they really exist; in recent work, Brian Berry reports K. cycles are non-linear so they may well exist although not in the regular, predictable form required by modern science.
Knowledge: Greek: gignoskein = to decide upon, determine or decree. Now it means sure and certain understanding of how nature and society works. There are many pathways to knowledge; in premodern times, one meditated or used psychogens to connect with the infinite. Inspiration and revelation are also part of pre-modern knowledge processes. In modern science, there are two major pathways; rational, logical deduction from formal theories on the one side and statistical inference from data sets collected by observation and/or questionnaires. Plato contrasted opinion [doxa] with episteme [authentic knowledge]. The highest form of knowledge, according to Plato, is sophia, a knowledge of first principles from which all truth can be deducted. These, presumably, came from the gods. Postmodern views are that all knowledge sets are constructed within and for a given social life world. Each culture uses different concepts to slice up the extraordinary complexity of nature to serve its own purposes; each society creates social knowledge in the act of constructing the various social roles and relationships which comprise social institutions and social-life worlds.
Knowledge, democratization of: Socialist theory requires a system of production and distribution of knowledge involving those who are the subject of knowledge and the user of knowledge. Thus the sub-division of knowledge into experts and clients who pay experts for their knowledge is replaced by a system which makes all knowledge free to all persons based upon need and interests. Computer based internets which charge a modest user fee could serve to democratize medical, political, religious, sexual and economic knowledge.
Knowledge, Sociology of/Processes of: There have been three major pathways to human knowledge; the first is pre-modern and goes back to the earliest human beings. The second is modern science and is crystallized by the success of Newton to find very precise patterns of behavior in physics. The third epoch is the postmodern and began in earnest in the 1960's. The first knowledge process gives the human knowledge process the capacities to believe, to trust, to have faith and to trust their own inspiration as a pathway to knowledge. The second emphasizes measurement, prediction and observation as a way to ground truth claims. It has given us a much better agriculture, communications, transportation, health technologies as well as many other gifts. The third pathway uses history, cross-cultural comparisons, class or cultural interests to understand how truth claims are made and adopted. The view of the present author is that all three are essential to the human project.
Kutznets Cycles. These cycles in capitalism are said to come along about every 15 years; there is considerable controversy about them. See Kondratieff curves for a general explanation of such cycles.
Labor: The concept of labor is very important to marxist/socialist theory. It
refers to the process by which people create themselves as social entities by
"appropriation of nature." Labor, thus, is not merely working but rather forming
social relationships in which and in which material culture is produced to the end of
creating collective life. "In labor, (wo)man as a species-being creates all his/her
human characteristics." Marx. Some theorists (e.g. Markovic) prefer to use the
concept "praxis" for unalienated labor and the term "work" as a
neutral term for productive activity. "Toil" is a more pejorative term for
Labor, alienated: Labor is alienated when it occurs within exploitative relationships: slavery, feudality, colonialism or capitalism. The solution to alienation in this framework is social change rather than psychological counseling.
Labor, contradictions in. Marx was quick to note that capitalism made the production of wealth relatively independent of labor power but still insists on using labor time as a measure for the giant social forces thus liberated. Capitalism sets the price of commodities in terms of the wages of those who produce them; thus a dollar, mark or yen is a call upon a given amount of labor power of a given worker. Yet industrial capitalism tends to disemploy people and thus reduce their ability to offer the labor power essential to get money. This at once creates inflation and at the same time makes it difficult for those made surplus by capitalism to have such bills with which to exchange for necessary goods and services: food, shelter, education, health care, communications and transport. The State steps in to reconcile this contradiction and is made enemy to both worker and capitalist.
Labor discipline: A policy in which workers are "disciplined" such that the cost of their labor is competitive with the cheaper labor of workers in other countries. Opposition to unions and high wages, safe working conditions and other benefits in America stems from the need to compete with workers in S. Korea who are paid 23 cents per hour and less. Capitalists operating out of military dictatorships capture markets from American industry and, thus, force American capitalists to discipline their workers.
Labor, estranged: When labor is sold as a commodity, one's labor is no longer an affirmation of one's own essential being but the property of someone else. The worker feels free only when not working and work ceases to be an end but a means to an end. Its alien character is revealed in the fact that work is shunned like the plague if possible. As a result, the worker feels alive only in the exercise of his/her animal functions-eating, drinking and procreating. (EPM)
Labor, International Division of: A global economic system in which most countries produce raw materials, food and provide cheap manual labor while rich, industrialized countries produce high profit goods to sell abroad. Globalization of the economy began in the middle ages with trade of clothing, ornaments and small goods in exchange for spices, slaves, sugar, coffee and precious metals. Now, in the modern global economy, rich and powerful countries sell cars, armaments, movies, knowledge and luxury goods to non-industrial countries in exchange for raw materials, tourist facilities [including prostitution], foods, blood and transplant organs, and an uncertain partnership.
Labor power: The capacity to produce wealth from raw materials as well as the capacity to use the material wealth thus produced and to produce ideological culture: science, law, religion, art, music, drama and all forms of family, intimacy, and friendship not to mention police, prisons, warfare, patriarchy or genocide. Marx said, 'Take the land and tools away from producers and all they have left is labor power.' In capitalism, most people have to sell labor power to survive...however there are several parallel economic systems which work within capitalism to provide goods and services [see Economic forms, parallel].
Labor power, re-production of: All humans beings have fundamental needs, material and spiritual; all societies have a set of common needs, an infra-structure as well as culture [art, science, music, drama, religion and recreation. Together these constitute the minimal requirements for the re-production of labor power. Any wealth produced above and beyond the satisfaction of these needs constitutes Surplus Value [which see]. See false needs, profits.
Labor market, segmented: The USA has a labor market with three main parts: the primary or monopoly sector employs about 1/3 of the workers in the USA, provides good wages and benefits as well as decent working conditions. The secondary sector is composed of those who work for small firms which compete with each other for the trade of big business; wages are much lower, far less job security, few prospects for advancement and few benefits; about 40% of the workers work for these firms. The State sector is a good place to work although wages are a bit lower, job security is higher and often other benefits as well. (After Gordon, Edwards, Reich and O'Connor).
Labor Power, surplus: the extra labor power used to produce more wealth than is required for the reproduction of labor power. The standard of living varies widely and the amount of wealth allocated to the families of workers varies greatly but there is an irreducible minimum standard of living below which family life and community life dies out. See Exploitation, super.
Labor intensive production. A system of production in which the capacities of human beings is used to produce. Indispensable in creating ideological and political culture.
Labor theory of value: A theory which says the value of an item is set by the labor-time required to produce that item. This implied for Marx and socialists that workers should receive the value added to nature by their labor; that the appropriate of some of that added value by capitalists is exploitation. Marx took the concept from classical economics; neo-classic economics used the concept of marginal utility and diminishing returns [which see] to set the source of value thus moving it from the workers who produce it to the consumers who buy goods and services.
Lacan, Jacques (1901-1981): The architect of postmodern psychoanalytic semiotics, He combined Freud, Saussure, Levi-Strauss and Kojeve. Lacan maintained that the unconscious was structured much like a language, thus it was essential to identify the inner workings of that discourse located within the unconscious. The unconscious was the repository of knowledge, power, agency, and desire. In brief, however, Lacan argued that the speaking subject was not in control of what s/he said; rather, the structure of language pre-shaped thought and desire. This is what Lacan meant when he claimed the subject was divided ($) or decentered. For Lacan. the subject could not be so purposive, in control, self-aware, because the discourse of the unconscious was the crucial arbiter of all experience, knowing, and living. This was a direct assault on the rational, logocentrism implied in Descartes' maxim "I think therefore I am." See Desire.
Language as productive labor: Most theories of exploitation and oppression focus upon the ways material wealth is funneled from those who produce it to those who 'own' it. Critical theory and postmodern critique views language as a productive process in which both society and ideology are created. Such a view leads one to analyze 'language games' in science, religion, politics and economics for their role in exploitation or emancipation. The new industries of advertizing, management science, computer languages and 'cyber-space' created by those who control information and the rules of meaning gave rise to postmodern terms as the 'text,' 'simulacrum,' 'voices,' 'stories,' 'narratif' and such.
Language, sexist/racist: The everyday use of terms which degrade women and other minorities. Sexist language makes it appear that men are the only interesting part of the human species and that only they make history. Racist language makes it appear that one group is genetically superior to another group. Socialist feminist protocols offer non-sexist terms to be used in writing and speech; 'person' for 'man,' 'woman' for 'lady' or 'girl.'
Law: Old English, lag = to lay down. 1) Any body of rules made by an authoritative body and enforced by a state. 2) a particular rule passed by a duly authorized body. 3) Tight connections between cause and effect which can be stated in precise mathematical terms; Newton's law of gravity is accurate to one part in 10 to the 27th power. Celsus defined law, 1) above, [ius] as 'ars boni et aequi,' the art of promoting that which is good and equitable. The idea of statutory law replaced both tribal norms, holy books and commands of kings sometime around the 5th century, B.C.E. Both Cicero and Julian wrote that the law must be made with the consent of those governed by it; Cicero claimed that no one was above the law; not kings nor rich nor powerful people. Both Greek law and Roman law provided for due process as did the Mosaic Code.
As a result, we now think of law as a statute enacted by a competent law-making body forbidding/requiring a certain act and carrying a penalty for violation. The socialist critique of law in this sense is that such legislation usually embodies the interests and aims of those in power. Reproduction of class, racist or sexist inequality requires the use of the monopoly of force claimed by the state; most existing law helps do this; 'The Law in all its majesty forbids equally the rich and the poor from sleeping under a bridge.'
Law, Natural: A set of commandments given by one's God which supersedes laws made by human beings. For those in the Judeo-Christian-Islamic tradition, the laws set forth in Deuteronomy comprise the core of natural law; each religion also has a set of interpretations and explanations which accompany the laws in the Old Testament. See Aquinas.
Law, natural: When spelled with a lower case 'n,' natural law refers to those laws detected by scientists which describe regular and recurring patterns in physics, chemistry, physiology, biology, psychology and sociology as well as economics. The new sciences of Chaos and Complexity teach us that 1) close connections between variables loosen as bifurcations increase in a dynamical regime and 2) that feedback loops displace the notion of causality.
Law, Sociology of: The systematic study of the social origins of law, the social context in which law operates, and the social results of a given legal system. Law is a form of social control which arose in Persia, Rome, Britain and France by which the behavior of the population was regulated by an elite; customs were set aside in favor of new rules about property, family, religion, work and politics. There is reason to believe that formal law is found only in conflict situations.
Law, Bourgeois: Capitalist law provides for the private ownership of the means to produce essential goods and services. Bourgeois law allows a fictitious entity, a corporation, to take blame for the crimes committed by the owners/stock holders. It also gives the state the legal authority to enforce the rights of owners, landlords and banks over the rights of workers, people who rent homes and people who borrow money. Before capitalist law came into effect in the famous Carrier's Case [See which], if someone did something that a capitalist didn't like, the capitalist would have to turn to civil law or to church law.
Law, Formal: With settled agriculture, new social forms arose including empires. In Persia, the laws of diverse peoples were encoded into a formal set of state laws called the Code of Hammurabi. As new empires formed, new legal codes were developed. The most important are: Roman law [Justinian Code] which grounds the legal system in much of Europe and in its colonies in S. America; Napoleonic law which grounds the present legal system in France and french colonies; the Constitution of the USA which grounds law here and in a number of newly independent nations around the world. All provide for capitalism but also provide for equality before the law and for free elections which moderate the worse excesses of capitalism.
Law, Socialist: Socialist law guarantees equality before the law; eliminates the right of private persons to own the means of production of essential goods and services, guarantees access to health care, education, housing, jobs, and provides for retirement with dignity.
Law, religious: For most of human history, law came from the various holy books of a people. Deuteronomy gave hundreds of laws, some of which protected the poor and the stranger. It served as the legal base for Jews, Christians and Muslims [the first five books of the Torah are shared by all three religions].
Left-wing Marxism: That wing of marxism which emphasizes human intersubjectivity, dialectic change, alienation, and historicism. It is criticized as being too idealistic (rather than materialism), too subjective (rather than concerned with objective relations in capitalist societies) and, in the rejection of the "right-wing," an obstacle to the development of marxist science. Left-wing marxism raises important questions about the role of philosophy, about method and about the necessity of cultural and ideological revolution as part of the total social revolution.
Legitimation Crises: As the economic crises of capitalism grow (inflation, unemployment, obsolescence, loss of markets), the administrative branch of government expands into the realm of things usually handled by public discourse. The role of history and of traditions shrinks and, in reaction, public opinion politicizes settled items like the right to tax, the right to welfare, the right of the state to govern.
Lenin, Vladimir llyich (1870-1924): A Russian revolutionary who guided the first great socialist revolution, founded the Russian Communist party and the Comintern [3rd International]. Lenin made many contributions to socialist theory. Perhaps the two more important of which is his principles of organization to make the revolution and his strategy to prevent counter revolution after taking state power. Syzmanski has summarized Leninism as an organizational vanguard to make the revolution: (1) recruitment of energetic, hard working respected and militant people into the vanguard party, (2) commitment and enthusiastic execution of party policy, (3) a thorough knowledge of existing social conditions in which the party must work and the internal situation at all levels of the party, (4) coordination of all activities of all members, (5) full democracy within the party, (6) flexibility in strategy and tactics in advancing the revolution, (7) the proper mix of openness and secrecy and (8) an appreciation of the role of leadership. Marxists-Leninists parties are to be disciplined, dedicated and determined. After the seizure of state power, the major role of the socialist state is suppression of the former ruling strata, control over demoralized workers, over the petite bourgeois, the peasantry and the lumpenproletariat. Lenin's theory of imperialism and the conditions of colonial exploitation makes leninism widely accepted in third-world liberation movements today (1977).
Lesbian/lesbianism: Sexual activity between women. From the Island, Lesbos, upon which resided women who felt no great need for male company and intimacy. Sappho was a strong woman and poetess who lived on Lesbos and gave the name to any woman who refused to be dominated, sexually or otherwise, by males.
Liberalism: There are two uses of the term, very different; first it refers to an ideology which supports progressive and humane change within the rules set for a given social paradigm. They stand for freedom of association, speech, religion and residence. They use the state to moderate the worse inequalities/injustices in capitalism. These Liberals often defeat their purposes of a humane and just society by following the rules by which a stratified and exploitative society is created. A second usage refers to those who want absolute freedom in the marketplace; the unrestricted right to own, use, abuse or sell; the right to turn anything into a commodity if there is a demand; the right to move capital and jobs anywhere in the world where profits are higher or costs lower. See Laissez-faire.
Linear/Linearity: This concept refers to the case when a change produces an effect in perfect ratio to its effect. Thus a one pound push may move your car two foot; a two pound push may move it four foot; a three pound push may move it eight foot and so on. All modern predictive science relies upon linearity to yield the precision of predictions which is said to ground the highest, best theory. Chaos theory and nonlinear dynamics [see which] challenge these ideas; most systems have turning points at which small change produce large, unpredictable changes. See Chaos Theory.
Linguistic Coordinate Systems: In postmodern semiotics, acceptable communication is dependent on the language in use. Precise sense making cannot occur from outside the signifying sphere (la langue) in operation. To illustrate, in order to explain baseball's "infield fly rule" it is essential to rely upon baseball terminology. Without knowledge of the language of the sport, it is not possible to explain the infield fly rule. Linguistic coordinate systems assume several forms:
1) dominant linguistic coordinate systems: those which promote and sustain capitalism, bureaucratic practices, and status quo power relations. These would include, among others, medicine, law, finance, and engineering. In their very construction, dominant linguistic coordinate systems deny access to those who are not specifically trained in the privileged discourse in use. All dominant LCS's oppress/regulate those who fail to conform to the dominant code.
2) oppositional linguistic coordinate systems are those which resist, ignore, and/or work against the prevailing speech-thought-behavior patterns in use. Oppositional or insurgent codes would include the language of prison inmates, gangs, and the mentally disabled.
3) pluralistic linguistic coordinate systems refer to those discourses which are accessible to all citizens regardless of training or indoctrination. These would include the language of sports, popular culture, and media generated commercialism.
This dictionary tries to facilitate PLCS's.
Logocentric: A term describing systems of thought which claim legitimacy by reference to external, universally valid propositions. Postmodernists are opposed to logocentricism and say such systems are grounded upon circular logic. After Derrida.
Lumpen-proletariat: The refuse of all classes. The unemployed and casually employed, discharged soldiers and discharged prisoners, vagabonds, swindlers, paupers, beggars, bandits, and hustlers of all sorts, brothel-keepers, servants and hangers-on, beggars and pimps, petty thieves and those who live off of them, the unemployed, male and female prostitutes, sons and daughters of the bourgeoisie too proud to work and those surplus capitalists still dreaming of success. It does not include the dependent children, the discarded aged, the lame, the halt or those who accept welfare passively. Alan Spector says that Marx used the term LUMPENPROLETARIAT to describe those people who were born into the working class but who accepted, internalized, and acted out the
exploitative philosophy of the capitalist class the only way available to
them -- in gangs, instead of corporations and capitalist armies; as pimps
and drug dealers instead of Hollywood producers and liquor companies. They
acquire money not through working for wages and being exploited by
capitalists, but by mainly taking some of the surplus labor from the working
class. Despite their working class origins, they have a different
relationship to the means of production than most working class people.
Other Marxists tend to view the L. with contempt since they are too quick to steal or to sell themselves to those who have money. But see the play, Les Miserablés for a more progressive view of the potential of the Lumpenprols. L's support themselves by various scams, hustles, and angles. Movies such as "Midnight Cowboy," "The Sting," New Jack City," and "Cabaret" give us a feel for such life. Robert Redford, Paul Newman, Jane Fonda, Woody Allen, and Dustin Hoffman routinely play (and glamorize) the young hustler too proud to work at boring or menial tasks and with too much talent to resign from life.
Luxemburg, Rosa (1870-1919): Born in Poland, the youngest child of a cultured Jewish family, Rosa Luxemburg grew up under the oppression of Czarist Russia. At 18, she was forced to flee to Switzerland because of her work with the Proletarian Party. Taking a doctorate in 1898, she wrote over 600 books, articles, letters, pamphlets, and essays. Luxemburg is best known for her case against Leninist centralism and against anarchist opposition to organization. Her position is that organization depends upon existing conditions of class struggle rather than a predetermined formula. She did original work on the role of military spending on domestic economy. Luxemburg worked actively as an organizer for revolutionary opposition to capitalism in Germany. On January 15, 1919 she was arrested and then murdered, her skull smashed in under a soldier's rifle-butt (Looker). She had been urging young men not to enlist in WWI and kill other young men on behalf of German capitalists.
M N O P Q R
Macho/Machismo: A set of values and behaviors the net effect of which is to
elicit respect and response to requests and commands by and for males. Some cultures
require males to be controlling and competitive; such requirements result in male behavior
said to be 'macho.' Males fight with each other in order to define hierarchy; men beat
women in order to elicit compliance to male demands; see Abuse, spousal.
Macro-economics: A field of study which looks at the larger sweep of history and the role played by different economic systems in history. The contributions of Adam Smith, T.R. Malthus, Karl Marx, Max Weber, David Ricardo, James O'Connor and Milton Friedman, are important to the ability of a student to participate in discussion of history, economics, sociology, politics and to an extent greater than many believe, psychology.
There have been five great economic systems in human history; 1) hunting/gathering, 2) agrarian in two stages; first settled agriculture which gave rise to the idea of property and to patriarchy and second, hydraulic agriculture which gave rise to hierarchy, division of labor, and stratification. These include the extensive irrigated farmlands in Persia, Egypt, India, China and Mexico. 3) Slavery is a third mode of production often superimposed upon others but existing with its own dynamics. 4) Feudalism and Colonialism are twinned systems in which one tribe or ethnic group uses force to extract wealth from another short of outright slavery. 5) Elements of commodity capitalism is found in all prior formations but began to displace others in the 1700's with the appearance of industrial capitalism.
Socialism and Communism are alternative economic systems which have yet to be instituted with any great success, non-the-less, they are very important as they carry the hopes for both enlivening social justice and for adequate material resources.
Macro-social psychology: A large body of work which holds that much of the ways of thinking, feeling and acting arise within the larger social formation into which one is born. This contrasts to biological theories of behavior; micro-analytic theories of behavior which focus upon face to face interaction and to theories of deviancy which locate hurtful behavior to self and others within the isolated personality dynamics of the single individual. As yet we do not have the research findings to judge the truth value of contending claims. It is likely that there are changing and nonlinear inter-connections between physiology, psychology, micro- and macro-sociological dynamics. Quite a challenge for your generation.
Maritain, Jacques (1882-1973): Maritain makes several points worthy of consideration by affirmative postmodern science and theology: first, that there are many kinds of knowledge and one should not exclude others in favor of one [such as modern science]. Second, that poetic insight takes place in concrete situations and represents a flash of insight about that concrete reality. Maritain grounds this insight upon the eternal beauty of God and His wisdom but this is not essential to either postmodern science or theology. Third, Maritain adds to Locke's political philosophy by adding obligations to the inalienable rights [given by God]. Fourth, he recommends an 'ordered' democracy to balance between the possessive individualism of Locke and the totalitarian excesses of Fascism, Stalinist Socialism and bureaucratic capitalism. To Aquinas five arguments for the existence of God, he adds a sixth for those who need reason for faith; the insight that one's own active 'I' is not located in time/space...and thus must be connected to infinite Being.
Managed Society: A society in which social unrest due to capitalism or bureaucratic socialism is brought under control by technical (rather than coercive) means. Control of commercial media, electronic surveillance, counseling and chemotherapy techniques as well as infiltration of radical (right-wing and left-wing) groups all are technical measures by which an elite can control dissent with technicians and professionals instead of police.
Management, Democratic self: In democratic self management, workers own and operate the means of production. Management is spread broadly over the employees; those who represent the plant, shop, farm, factory, mill or mine are elected for a term and can be recalled for incompetence or abuse of office. There are many worker owned and operated firms around the world. They have limited success since they have to operate in a larger, globalized capitalist economy and thus are often unsuccessful or indifferent to collective needs.
Management science: a set of principles and a set of practices by which the consciousness (ways of thinking, ways of feeling, ways of acting) of workers is controlled by a small group of functionaries who specialize in learning as much as possible about psychology and sociology in order to reproduce capitalist relationships. A humane effort to replace coercion with persuasion and manipulation in the factories, offices, and schools, also a net effect is to sustain elitism and to defeat praxis and community. Also a technology by which prediction of and control of human behavior is perfected. This science is rational in that the behavior of workers is identical to the intention of managers. Compare to praxis, intentionality, and free will.
Marcuse, Herbert (1898-1979): Marcuse was part of the early Frankfurt School; he came to the USA when the Nazis took over Germany and taught at Columbia University, Harvard then the University of California at San Diego. Marcuse made many contributions to emancipatory knowledge beginning with his views on art [most of it squelched rebellion since it was too beautiful or too remote from everyday life] and ending with his views on sexuality in Eros and Civilization. In brief, he made the case that there was some justification for sexual repression [in order to invest creative love in art, science, music and politics]; but there was also 'surplus' repression [the denial of love and compassion in class, racist or sexist societies]. Marcuse also rejected the 'heroic' theory of history [see Carlyle] in his work on Prometheus. But Marcuse agreed with Prometheus--and Marx--who said that he hated '...the entire pack of gods' since they rob humans of freedom and agency. [Prometheus was chained to a rock by Zeus after he gave fire to people in spite of a command by Zeus not to do so]. From this came a student slogan of the 60's, The Great Refusal. One should say No! to sexual repression; No! to the investment of genius and craft in war; Yes! to the investment of joy, delight and love in prosocial work; Yes! to erotic joy in friendships, marriage and play. In One Dimensional Man, Marcuse spoke of 'repressive toleration' in which the most contradictory works are found side by side in a false peace and mind-numbing harmony. While Marx located the revolutionary leadership in the working class, Marcuse located it in marginalized groups in rich societies, liberation movements in poor countries and free intellectuals everywhere.
Marcuse took funds from what came to be the C.I.A. since he criticized Stalinism and bureaucratic socialism in the USSR. His Great Refusal requires blind fate and a leap into liberation and whatever it brings. Along with Mao and Marx, Marcuse inspired the New Left [which see].
Market: a network of buying and selling usually based upon use value, supply and demand. Capitalists say a free market works best in the long run; most socialists/marxists hold that it should be replaced by collective planning such that production and distribution is based on needs rather than profit. Some market socialists [see which] say the market plays a vital role in any economy since it brings flexibility, creativity, and motivation to the economy. Your generation will have to figure it out; we can't.
Market Socialism: A form of marketing [developed by O. Lange] which tries to retain the many advantages of a market system in which buyers and sellers negotiate prices on quality, supply, and use value. Scarcity values are set by the market but the state intervenes when scarcity [of housing, health care, education, infra-structure, etc] is not meet. Prices are set by the market and by marginal cost.
Marx, Karl (1818-1883): Marx was a humanist, moreover a socialist humanist and marxism is socialist humanism if nothing else. Marx' humanism was tied to a critique of the forms of domination by which humans were alienated from their human potential. In the present epoch, capitalism and the class system are the major obstacles to human dignity, fellowship, and mutual aid. The class struggle is the means to overcome alienation while communism is the social form in which one's full humanity is possible.(After Struik). Marx was born of a German-Jewish family converted to Christianity. As a student at Bonn, Germany he came under the influence of Hegel but came to reject idealist philosophy in preference to historical materialism. He related the problems in a society to the means of production and urged armed revolution by the proletariat in order to regain control over the means of production of culture without which human life (Species being) is impossible. Marx took a doctorate in Philosophy from the University of Jena and went right to work in the sociology of law to explain why one set of laws replace another [to serve elite interests]. In 1848, Marx and Engels wrote the Manifesto of the Communist Party. In 1849, Marx went to England as a refugee from political oppression. Marx and his family lived in poverty while Marx spent years of research on Capital, the first volume published in 1847. Marx helped organize, agitate, and analyze for social revolution. His sympathy lay with the oppressed; his animosity was directed at the oppressive social form. Marx came to the conclusion that genuine human emancipation requires a radical transformation of capitalist (civil) society such that a human labor is possible wherein people create themselves and each other as social entities. Marx held that this kind of human labor is possible only in a communist society since other forms of society: capitalism and feudalism, alienate people in the ordinary operation of society. Marxian theory rests upon the work of many predecessors, collaborators, and critics. There is much left to do to perfect both the theory and practice of human emancipation. One should not sanctify Marx nor ignore him. The marxian response to Marx is to transcend the limitations of his analysis and retain what is worthy of human emancipation as one base upon which to build. Marx died in 1883.
Marxism: A theory and a method by which community is thought to be created or lost, The theory holds that collective production of culture creates community while the loss of community arises from treating cultural products as commodities to be exchanged for private profit. The method of marxism requires the "relentless criticism of everything existent" in terms of how praxis and community are affected. Marxism also makes some important assumptions about how the acting subject participates in the creation of social facts and the interpretation of physical facts. Central to marxist analysis in the present era are the concepts of class, class conflict, surplus value, surplus population, class interests, global capitalism and social revolution. Marx' critique of capitalism [which see] remains an anchor point for progressive politics. Marxist feminists and Black marxists insist, rightly, that racism and sexism combine with mode of production to challenge both progressive scholars and activists.
Marxist-Leninism: A view that there are five basic principles upon which all marxists worthy of the name agree:
a) the theory of surplus value
b) dialectic materialism
c) the class struggle
d) imperialism and
e) the dictatorship of the proletariat. (after Szymanski)
Serious challenges to Dialectic Materialism and the last two principles underlay much of the discussion of marxist meetings today. Then too, there is question about the role of the working class as sole repository for progressive politics.
Marxist methodology: Those practices by which science and philosophy are united with politics in the struggle for revolutionary change. Generally, any research effort which makes visible to workers the social sources of oppression as well as an effort to make visible a world which might be conducive to praxis and community. Marxist research must enlighten, inspire and politicize. It must be integrated into progressive social action oriented to Praxis [which see]. As Marx said, the point is not to study the world but to change it. See Conflict methodology, Standpoint Epistemology. Contrast with Consensus methodology.
Masculinity Crisis: In a society in which sexual activity is sublimated into aggressive competition, channeled into a narrow genital mode, or converted into a commodity to be sold only to those with discretionary income, one's essential sexuality is in crises. For the male, working conditions further desexualize self and role: the division of labor strips the male worker of power and autonomy while it makes work machine-like in its practice. In such a society, sexual panic can be exploited to sell macho cars, cigars, sports, flicks, magazines, and cosmetics. Sexual panic can be harnessed to moral outrage at the new, gentle pan-sexism of young people. Sexual panic can and is used to sell fascism and other political packages which emphasize strength, discipline, domination, and brutal enforcement of the normative structure.
Matriarchy: Literally, rule of mothers. This concept refers to a form of governance in which a set of sisters and their children live together. They occupy all the essential roles and perform a wide variety of labor. Authority resides in the most senior female usually based upon age, experience, energy, personality, number of children and older daughters as well as status of her mother. Men are usually absent or occasionally in residence when not engaged in hunting, warfare, male religious solidarity rituals or other special activity. Matriarchy is thought to be the original form of governance of a primitive communism. For the radical, critical, feminist or liberal scholar, matriarchy is of interest since it speaks to the question of the gender division of labor held in such esteem in patriarchy. Matriarchy was displaced by patriarchy with settled agriculture around 4000 B.C.E.; women became subordinated and property of men. (After Engels, Origin of the Family).
Materialism: A view that all knowledge comes from the senses; from careful observation and objective reporting of the dynamics of nature and society. Also a philosophy which explains thought from being; mind from matter and spirit from social organization and not the other way around as in classical philosophy. Material philosophy appeared early on in India about 7th century BCE. Leucippus and Democritus argued for materialist explanations of nature and society. Thomas Hobbes revived materialism and applied it to language and knowledge processes. La Mettrie tried to explain psychology from physiology. Lange and Haeckel used it extensively while Engels took it into what would become Marxist epistemology, politics and social psychology.
Many folk theories and formal theories held that spirit tries to express itself in material form and the natural (imperfect) world results. Thus God (pure spirit) creates the world. Feuerbach and Marx reversed the relationship and argued that concretely existing social relationships determine thought, ideas, philosophy and consciousness generally. This approach is known as the sociology of knowledge.
Logical positivism and quantification are inherently materialist philosophies of science since they posit that all logical statements must be tested; that measurement is basic to the knowledge process. Australian materialist physiological psychologists [Smart, Armstrong, Place and others] argue that pain, thoughts and all concepts are merely states of the central nervous system.
McDonaldization of Society. George Ritzer coined the term to refer to the effort to control all aspects of the production and distribution of goods via a highly organized set of rules. It embodies the bureaucracy of which Weber called an 'iron cage.' All employees must wear the clothing specified, use the words rehearsed, work the hours set and make the hamburgers exactly the same way in Moscow, London, Peoria and Hong Kong. This routinization of the labor process tends to destroy both variety and human agency. Not to worry, the hamburgers are very different in London, Tokyo, Hong Kong, Vienna and San Francisco...even McDonald's cannot do away with culture, human creativity or variety.
Merleau-Ponty, Maurice (1908-1961): A French social psychologist who insisted that being include physical and emotional as well as cognitive functionings. Along with Foucault and Lacan, Merleau-Ponty expanded the Cartesian notion of being [I think, therefore I am] to include feeling, touching, smelling, tasting and any other bodily sense which implied there is a sensing person there and that there is something out there to be touched, tasted, smelled or seen. I caress, and am caressed; I smell and am smelled; I taste and am tasted; I love and am loved, therefore I am. Merleau-Ponty accepted the importance of language, speech and symbolic interaction as foundations of human behavior [against instincts and/or theological sources] but discussed desire and body pleasure in additions to roles, norms, sanctions and other interactive dynamics as important to social life. Initially drawn to marxism, M-P later took the position that there were many sources of human alienation and many avenues for progressive politics; but whatever one did, one must reach out to justice and sociality.
Mind: Premodern understanding are/were that the mind was that part of the body that was separate and existed before and after birth; as such, it held all the knowledge of the universe and could be released by meditation or contemplation. Modern science generally held that the brain was a 'black box' impossible to know; only behavior was observable/knowable. Postmodern understanding accepts there is a mind; that it is the software while the brain is the hardware of human knowledge, feeling and activity. Some of the software is pre-programmed by genetic inheritance; Chomsky says that language abilities are pre-programmed. Others say that aggression, territoriality, domination and acquisition are genetic. The truth is we don't know yet and may never reach certainty.
Mind, as a social product: In sociology, mind is a product of two or more persons in interaction. One's ways of thinking, feeling and acting are, in Symbolic Interactional Theory, constituted in part by one's culture, by one's status-role(s) and by role-others in a given definition of the situation. Mind is not something confined to the brain-case of a single person nor is it a stable, measurable entity; it is a fluid, emergent collective product. See Mens rea, Mental disorder.
Modern, modernism, modern science. Latin: modus, modo = recent, current practices. The word is now used to refer to the kind of science and approach to solving problems modeled after Newton's  most successful tracking of the movement of stars and falling objects. Modern science and modernity have given us a great many benefits; better communication, better transportation, better roads, buildings, bridges, sewer systems and better housing. It continues to improve the means of production of food, shelter, clothing, and medicine. Yet, it has many problems in that it dismisses complexity; dismisses mystery; objects to surprize and is hostile to the emotions which expand the endpoints of human endeavor. It is an magician's apprentice which may well be misused with applications to war, to exploitation of people and environment as well as to the reproduction of its own lifeless, soulless, amoral approach to human knowledge and human frailty. See postmodern.
Modernization Theory: An economic theory in which science, technology, art, and all essential goods and services must be mass produced and mass marketed in order to maximize social well being. Much mischief is done in 'under-developed' countries by displacing community and agrarian/craft work with capitalist markets which displace people from land and kin to become the surplus labor in large ghettos, barrios, favelas and cities around the world. Dispossessed from land and family, young people must find work at low wages or turn to beggary, prostitution, theft or worse. The USA, the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund are the chief architects of modernization in the 3rd world.
Monopoly capitalism: A system of highly concentrated production and mass, unorganized consumers. Many isolated buyers compete against each other to purchase from a few large suppliers. A later stage of capitalism, monopoly capitalism creates serious problems of political legitimacy for capitalism by squeezing small capitalist out of the class and thus, eroding its own political base. Monopoly capitalism also undermines legitimacy by its inflationary practices and by corrupting the political process. Liberals think that the problem is monopoly while marxists think that capitalism, as a form, leads to bigger monopolies.
Monopoly, international: There several lines of production which are controlled by a few firms which get together to fix prices and divide up the world market. Among these are: automobiles, oil products, chemicals, pharmaceuticals, breakfast cereals, nuclear energy systems, military goods, electronics, banking, light bulbs, sugar/sweeteners, coffee, plastics, book publishing, advertizing and communications including news services and entertainment. Coca Cola gets China; Pepsi Cola gets Russia.
Monopoly sector: That part of the economic institution comprised of big business with budgets up to several billions, a work force up to 300,000 and more, high wages, price agreements, employment stability, job security, good working conditions, pension plans, opportunity for advancement and collective bargaining. About one third of the work force (in 1975), the monopoly sector is growing at the expense of the competitive sector.
Moral Agency: The right to set policy and enforce rules. In authentically democratic societies, moral agency is widely dispersed among workers in school, medicine, religion, government, business, sports and the arts. In bureaucratic/elitist societies, moral agency is vested in a few people, firms or state offices. Moral agency is always a social product; one cannot be moral all by oneself even if most tests and measures of moral development make it appear so. Even dictators can't lead if no one follows. Still the politics of a society create very different models of morality.
Moral Entrepreneurs: A term used to heap scorn on those who wish to outlaw pornography, sexual/sexist lyrics in rock or rap music, gambling, drug use, abortion, homosexuality, prostitution or other efforts to control morals. As a pejorative term, it excludes open discussion.
Morality: A term referring to the degree to which the norms, laws, values, customs and morés of a society are embodied in the everyday life of a person. People of high moral standing take care to live in conformity to the normative structure. Two things to think about: 1) how do these norms and customs speak to exploitation, inequality and oppression, 2) what is the social location of the norm/rule/law making process. When moral agency resides in an elite in stratified societies, individual morality becomes difficult. All forms of government and business which rely upon bureaucracy thus defeat morality. In socialist theory, moral agency is to be distributed broadly throughout the population and is to work in all domains of life.
Morality, social location of: Central to all social theories of morality is concern about the degree to which stratification and hierarchy places moral agency in the hands of the rich and the powerful. Doing so, takes moral agency out of the hands of those at the middle and lower echelons of bureaucracy and/or hierarchy. The call for social democracy is a call for broadly based moral agency.
Moral Development: The process by which the norms of a society are internalized into the self-system of the individual. Lawrence Kohlberg posited six stages of moral development; the first involves grudging obedience to the norms in fear of pain; the last is oriented to transcendent principles of ethical behavior. This sounds progressive but there are problems. Carol Gilligan pointed out that women tend to put people before principles; then too, blind enforcement of principles tend to do great harm to both inter-personal relationships as to situated judgment informed more by wisdom than by rational calculation. One should always consider the effects of principled behavior. Then too, focus upon individual moral development tends to ignore the large social inequalities in moral agency. See Praxis.
Moral order: A system of human obligation, rights and relationships which calls forth/patterns a system of interaction a human system. That which is 'good' and 'bad' is defined by the moral order. Many organizations involving people have no moral order other than narrow self-interest and thus cannot be said to be truly "social" organizations. Banks, supermarkets, factories etc. have little in the way of a moral order; they are economic not social systems; good and bad are not of interest; profit, efficiency and productivity drive the system. See Praxis, Moral Agency and Moral Development.
Moral Panic: A term referring to the great distress one shows when faced with norms and values which are different and/or challenging to one's own. Moral panic usually occurs in times of great political or economic upheaval. It takes the form of racism, witch-hunting, genocide, fear (unfounded) of crime on the part of minorities, suicide, depression and, arguably, drug use and abuse.
Mystification: A process of information control by which a person or class cannot identify self-interests. The. marxian position is that whoever controls the means of production controls the means to produce ideological culture: art, literature, drama, religion and will use this control to mystify its opposition. Also the process by which false consciousness is created. Usually coercion or repression underwrite false consciousness but sometimes, in the U.S. especially, the authority of respected persons can mystify voters, customers, students, children and others by asserting that as true which does not correspond to one's experience in a concrete situation. (See also the sociology of fraud and false consciousness).
NACLA: The North American Congress on Latin America publishes a continuing
analysis of the impact of the U.S. capitalism on South America. Full of hard data and
devoid of the strident, overdone rhetoric of many socialist publications, NACLA is a
valuable resource for anyone interested in the next arena in which capitalism and U.S.
interests combine to produce violence and liberation movements.
Narrative [narritif]: A postmodern term which conveys doubt about the value of grand theories, universal truths, global explanations, 'totalizing' practices or master-codes with which to explain and understand every thing. Mini-narratives, micro-histories, local codes and traditional myths make fewer such claims and thus are more acceptable in postmodern sensibility. [After Rosenau].
National Security Managers: Those who control opposition to capitalism at home and abroad. They include the secretaries of state, defense, H.E.W., heads of the three armed services, head of the F.B.I., Director of the C.I.A., and chairman of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. Barnet holds that the owners and top executives of business and industry along with the national security managers make up the " ruling class", the real decision makers in the U.S. See also, Group of Seven.
Natural Law: Those laws said to be permanent, necessary and unchanging behaviors of nature and/or society. In ancient Greece, legal theory and social philosophy held that each human being possessed a right to perfect justice. This right usually came from God or the gods and/or from nature. It stands in contrast to positive law [which see] which is the body of law imposed by the state, usually to give preference to an elite. Postmodern sensibility holds that such 'laws' are arbitrary depictions which are used to hide political agendas. For example, when Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas was confirmed, there was interest whether he put Constitutional Law first or Natural Law first. In this context, it meant supporting laws which forbid abortion, homosexuality, rights for women and affirmative action for those groups harmed by racism and bigotry. See Stoics.
Necessary labor: That amount of work needed to reproduce labor-power; the power to live, to learn, to work with skill as well as the capacity to think beyond the immediate job or problem. Any labor beyond this is 'surplus labor.' The question then becomes, how is the value produced by surplus labor to be shared out. See entries in both Capitalism, Communism and Socialism for different plans about how to use surplus value. See also Exploitation, super.
Necessity, the realm of: This term refers to the eternal and unvarying laws of God or nature to which all good, wise and sensible persons should bend. Heavily politicized in favor of some one of 3000 or more different socio-cultural formations, the realm of necessity is supported by both science, medicine and a wide variety of social control systems. Postmodern sensibility greatly expands the realm of necessary; some postmodernists reject it altogether. Chaos/Complexity theory instructs us that there is an elegant changing ratio between necessity and uncertainty.
Needs, False: Those needs above and beyond that which is required to construct a good and decent social life world. Marcuse said that capitalism must generate layer after layer of false needs in order to realize profit. Since most workers don't get paid enough to buy 100% of the goods they produce, it is necessary to convince others to buy more than they need. Advertizing is used to create these needs and to realize the last 5, 10 or 15% of profits on that which is produced but now laying unwanted and unused in warehouses. For those in the underclass who have little economic power from wages, profits or rents, crime is one means to 'reunite' production and distribution and thus satisfy both real and false needs. See also the Realization problem.
Negation: Latin: nego = I deny. In logic, negation is a rule by which truth values are derived. In philosophy, it is a method of analysis (and expansion of understanding) in which new ideas were derived from existing ideas by exploring their limitations and contradictions, "negating" every idea until a more adequate one is reached. Developed by Hegel, the "negation" is part of a dialectic in which 'A' includes and is negated by 'Not-A' and out of that negation comes clearer comprehension of 'A.' Hegel's own example is not very helpful: "Out of being and nothing is the unity of the two, and this unity is becoming." More simply, it is hard to understand something all by itself. Thus the concept of 'bourgeoisie' is made more understandable by the concept of the 'proletariat.' When we consider both concepts together, we have an insight which helps move us toward sensible action.
Negation (of the Negation): A term introduced by Hegel with which to refer to a change in which the old quality is canceled out and a new quality emerges; think of the addition of an acid to a base which produces a salt [in chemistry] or the theft from a bank which has been exploiting workers and/or customers. In Marx, the central negation is the negation of human dignity, community, and praxis. In these times, an important sphere of negation lies in the liberal assumption that the essential freedom of men and women is to be found in the realm of mind, reason, consciousness, or pure thought. And for liberal theorists, the negation of that negation was freedom of thought, speech, and consciousness. Soul and mind were thought to be sacred. Such a position negates the marxist view that human dignity lies in the realm of production of human culture, not solely in the realm of thought and speech. Modern modes of production require an invasion into the sanctity of pure thought. Management science preempts thought in the work process while advertising and Public Relations attempt to manage needs and understanding. These professions negate the last realm of liberal freedom. Critical theory and socialist revolution aims to negate this negation by restoring human control over the means of production-i.e., activity as well as thought (After Marcuse).
Neo-marxism: An attempt to renew marxism with the spirit and focus of his early writings, some of which were not available to marxist revolutionaries until after the nature of marxism was settled. The first wave of new marxist economics came with O. Lange, P. Sweezy and Joan Robinson [see whom]. More recent concern of neomarxists is with alienation, praxis, democratic self-management and the role of subjectively creating humans in producing culture and, in the same moment, themselves as human beings. Neo-marxists also incorporate the best of recent scholarship and theory into their own work but the social philosophy remains grounded in marxism.
New Left: A mixture of students, prisoners, blacks, women, older people as well as neomarxists which emerged partly in response to repression at home; partly in rejection of right-wing marxism and economism and partly in response to Vietnam in the mid 60's. Mostly without a coherent marxian analysis of the U.S., this force never the less moved against capitalist military venture. Of the marxists, many trace their roots to Marcuse, Habermas, Lukács, Korsch, and Horkheimer.
New World Order: The polite term for the capitalist world system. This phrase refers to a model of global economy in which some 1000 huge multi-national firms produce and distribute goods across national borders. When one looks more closely, one can see a hierarchy of nations; a core in which most of these firms are located; at the top is the Group of Seven [which see]; then there is a layer of NICs [newly industrial states: Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Singapore, Malaysia]; below them are semi-feudal states including most of the Islamic nations and the more industrial African, Latin American and Asian nations. At the bottom are the 'basket cases,' some 20 or so nations which are very, very poor and which cannot compete on the world market. See Capitalist world system/economy.
Nonlinear Dynamics: A form of dynamics in which a small change in a key variable has a large effect on the behavior of a system; think of the straw that broke the camel's back. Then too, large changes can be absorbed without changing the behavior of a system [think of Itzhak Perlman; he suffered polio as a child but still became a world class violinist. Lots of such cases. In Chaos theory, there are some five dynamical states; simple systems can display both 'linear' and nonlinear dynamics; complex systems display usually nonlinearity. Given nonlinear dynamics, the modern science search for stable, universal and eternal laws with tight causality is not possible. This opens space for human agency and qualitative change about what causes what.
Objectification: The process of turning a subject into an object. Any process
which tends to reduce intentionality and self-determination. People are objectified when
they are treated as a means to an end. Power objectifies by forcing people to do things
they judge to be inappropriate. People are also objectified when they are turned into
commodities (football players, prostitutes, slaves, and so on) in a market.
Objectivity: A stance of impartiality and disinterest in the search for truth. This stance assumes, erroneously, that there is a truth about society and nature which exists apart from the subjective activity of intending human beings. See Phenomenology, Postmodern.
Oligarchy, Iron Law of: The word, Oligarchy means rule of the few. Michel's Iron Law of Oligarchy says that those in power use that power to retain control of people, wealth and nations. The term is used to condemn union leaders, socialist bureaucrats and government bureaucrats who put their own office and staff above the programs and policies they are charged to administer.
Oppression: The practice of crushing those who criticize or advocate a different social-life world. Oppression varies from withholding rewards to beatings, jailings, assassinations, as well as the use of chemotherapy and psychological technology. Control over the means of violence by an elite is the major approach in oppression.
Over-Population. The idea from Malthus [see whom] that population growth outruns the capacity to grow food. Natural checks [disease, famine, war and infanticide] are desirable and not to be removed lightly. This is, in the long run, true enough. What is of interest is how many people could be supported in different political economies; there are now about 6 billions on earth. Most say the world is now over-populated and people should have fewer or no children. The marxian position is that, with a good means of production and a good means of distribution of food, shelter, clothing, education, jobs and health care, the good earth could support between 20 and 100 billion people; 20 billion with American standards of food and energy consumption; 100 billion with Asian patterns of food usage and energy consumption. Population theory thus needs to be set in the context of the political economy in question. See Demographic Transition Theory for a depoliticized explanation of over-population.
Paradigm: Greek: paradeigma = pattern, model, plan. In the philosophy of
science, the word refers to the general framework within which one works. Th. Kuhn argued
that there is progressive evolution of paradigms in physics and society; each more
encompassing than those coming before. Postmodern philosophy of science holds that, rather
than one final encompassing paradigm, there can be any number of 'paradigms of knowledge'
depending upon the human interests which inform each. Both nature and society are so
complex and so interconnected while humans are so creative, any number of paradigms, each
with some truth value, can be constructed. In sociology, a "social paradigm"
refers to the kind of society under construction. Again, there can be many. There have
been between 3000 and 4000 cultures in human history; Capitalism is one such paradigm and
socialism quite a different one.
Parlor marxism: The practice of talking about exploitation, sexism, and praxis but doing little to change the world (in disregard of the 11th thesis). See also Utopianism.
Paris Commune: For three months in 1871, the workers in Paris took power, held elections and formed the city into a workers' commune. It was the first such social experiment in history. The Commune established a Dictatorship of the Proletariat and set up ten ministries. The French army, with the aid of German troops, attacked and defeated the Communards.
Participatory sociology: A form of sociology which incorporates action into the research methodology and theory in response to the needs of the surplus population (after Colfax).
Pastiche: A postmodern term referring to a collage of ideas; a 'crazy-quilt' of views; a hodge-podge or patchwork in which contradictory claims, stories and views are put together. The use of pastiche denies the usefulness of logic, symmetry, compatibility or logic. It glorifies confusion and contradictions in music, art, architecture, explanation and social life itself. After Rosenau.
Patriarchy: Latin: Pater = father. A system in which gender relations are highly stratified; males are given a monopoly over economic power, social power, moral power and the use of physical force. Women are held to be inferior in intellect and in moral capacities; thus in need of control and guidance by putatively superior males. The patriarchal family emerged after settled agriculture developed (10,000 B.C.E.). In order to hold property [land, herds, tools, buildings], it is necessary to have a rule for transferring them from one generation to another; in P., transfer is to the eldest son. P. is the source of much mischief, much violence and much pre-theoretical rebellion by men, women and children alike. Anthropologists tell us that gender relations are highly variable across cultures and thus, subvert the claims above.
Capitalism tends to destroy patriarchal privilege since women can be hired at lower wages and since markets can be expanded by selling women goods and services formerly restricted to males; tobacco, sex, clothing, real estate and such.
Performativity: A postmodern term referring to the use of successful performance as a test of truth, value, validity or outcome. It centers around 'capacity, efficiency, control' [Benhabib]. Postmodernists tend to reject it as a modernist effort to reject diversity, flexibility, openness or autonomy. Lyotard views it to rely too much on logic and reason.
Person: Greek: Latin: persona from Gk, prosopon = Mask. The term first refers to the mask worn to depict some standard character in morality plays in ancient Greece. It went into Roman law, to refer to an individual who has legal standing and may claim protection or judgments from a court. John Locke identified it with self-awareness and memory. In sociology, anyone who has social status and has the right to social power within specified status-role sets. The notion of the person disappears in some postmodern social psychology. See Subject, Non-person, Competency.
Personality: An unique, presumably natural, attribute of a person. In his critique of Locke and Hegel, Marx insisted that the personality did not exist apart from the individual: thus it did not have a separation from the everyday, concrete behavior of people. Theories of personality today which treat personality as a stable, transsituational entity apart from behavior is a mystification much like having a theory of the shadow which is disassociated from the individual and given causal power in the dynamics of behavior.
For Marx, personality derived from social relations. Social relations embody existing modes of production. Modes of production thus are the foundations of personality. It is thus that Marx grounds a macro-social psychology which ties self to the social position one occupies and social position to the larger political economy. If we don't like the antisocial behavior of people in our society, the solution is found more in changing the mode of production than in "changing the personality" through psychotherapy, drugs or other means. (After Schaff)
Petty bourgeoisie: A strata of small business persons who own the means of production and also actively work with them to extract surplus value both by paying low wages and charging high prices. (Grocers, dentists, carpenters, restaurant owners, bar owners, small farmers, barbers, electricians, independent truckers as well as franchise owners in hardware, fast foods, television, automobiles and other products); these are the lower middle classes. The petty bourgeoisie often expresses hostility toward big business but, in the end, joins to preserve capitalism even as every small business is squeezed out by "modern business theory".
Petty bourgeois science: A view that sociologists, historians, psychologists and economists have most of the objective characteristics of small business persons: control over labor, over tools of production, income, privileges, ability to create ideas, and control over others (especially students). These conditions make social scientists a natural ally to the bourgeoisie. On the other hand, social scientists usually sell their labor power and are restricted in the ideas which they may produce to those which sell. Control over work conditions is being lost as "professional" administration slowly usurps traditional functions of academics. The question is "Whose side will they join" in a crisis. Most scientists, physical and social are conservative. Those who aren't may over-estimate their role in social revolution and talk too much.
Phallogocentrism: A term used by postmodern feminists which critiques/rejects privileged speech-thought-behavior patterns in Western society which esteem the male-centered, control-oriented logic of modern, western science. Postmodern feminists claim that such styles of interaction inadequately represents the ways of knowing for women and for peoples/cultures around the world who think and act in nonlinear ways not captured/privileged by the assumptions/goals of modern science.
Phenomenology, postmodern: The postmodern position is that humans create scientific categories and social facts. Social facts are created by first proclaiming the existence of some social form (phenomena) and then, through their own efforts, creating that reality (noumena). The result is a facticity which varies greatly according to time and place but still has come commonalities; our notion of family is a case in point; families do not exist apart from the ideas and activities of the members; no two families are ever precisely identical; over time, a given family unit has variable facticity. Interesting, isn't it??
Scientific categories, also, are established by human beings. We select just that part of incredibly complex and interconnected natural and social events which fits/creates the category and then treating all other events/elements as observer error, faulty research design, chance or poor reasoning. There are no noumena or objective categories of nature or society apart from or beyond the act of creating. There is no built-in tendency [teleology] for a thing to move in any given direction while the concept of perfection is, again, a political historical way to legitimate whatever exists or one thinks should exist. In postmodern philosophy of science, forms of reality may have a very fragile fractal and changing mix of order and disorder.
Philosophy, Materialist: The belief that doing and being is primary while thinking and feeling are derived from the first. The controversy in philosophy is between materialists, who believe that ideas, values, art, science, religion and philosophy itself are derivative while others hold that ideas, values, a spiritual life and aesthetics are the source, the end and the point of being and doing. This conflict may be a spurious one arising out of belief in and skepticism about gods and other supernatural beings. Affirmative Postmodern theology and social philosophy re-unite material and spiritual aspects of authentically human life.
Phonocentric: The view [Derrida] that modern science relies too much on the spoken word in creating truth claims. Instead, trust should be centered in written texts. After Rosenau.
Police State: A country in which the state uses police to prevent change in governing officials, in government systems or to prevent resistance to privileged classes, races, genders or ethnic groups. In capitalist societies, the underclass is most heavily policed; the upper classes seldom policed. See fascism, Neo-fascism, Authoritarianism.
Political Economy: A generic name for a socio-political complex which uses a given economic form as a basis for production and distribution of goods and services. There have been five major political economies in human history: primitive communism [hunting-gathering], hydraulic agrarian, slavery, feudalism and capitalism Socialism of a sort has been instituted with some limited success. Communism is a sixth yet to be instituted in any great degree. Marx held that each political economy had its own relations and its own laws [tendencies].
Positivism: A philosophy of science which holds the view that, if it exists, it can be measured; if it can be measured, it can be modeled and predicted. Thus, all human behavior can be recorded in 'facts.' Nothing else of interest to science exists but these facts. Saint-Simon introduced the concept; Comte made it an article of faith in his sociology. The concern of Positivism with measurement and prediction lends itself excellently well to social control and management science, thus it is suspect for those in the emancipatory sciences.
The major criticism of positivism is that it freezes the moment into all of history since it deals with that which is rather than that which could be. Emancipatory knowledge processes are concerned with change from what is to what could be in terms of praxis and human dignity.
A second criticism is that from the hermeneutical sciences which notes that human imagination and human interpretation are important parts of the social process not recorded nor recordable in number systems. See Quantification, Postmodern.
Political economy: A branch of social science which studies the economic foundation of political decisions. Usually involving marxists, political economy stands in opposition to bourgeois economics (which tries to make capitalism work better) and in opposition to bourgeois political science (which attempts to resolve the incompatibility between capitalism and a managed society within the assumptions of democratic theory.) See also U.R.P.E.
Political Emancipation: In "On the Jewish Question" Marx distinguished between the narrow range of political rights; freedom of speech, secret ballots, freedom of movement, universal suffrage and representation in government on the one hand and general human emancipation. These rights are fundamental but there are others essential to the human project: the right to pro-social jobs, preventative and therapeutic health care, critical education, civility and dignity as one ages. See emancipation.
Politicization: The process of returning questions of public interest to collective discourse. Sexism, racism, foreign policy and science (via abortion and euthanasia) have recently been politicized where formerly they were the taken-for-granted aspects of human life.
Population theory: There are two major theories about "over population", sometimes called population theory. Reverend Malthus theorized that overpopulation occurred since the poor were prone to irrational overbreeding. The marxian rebuttal was that a portion of the population is rendered "surplus" as feudal lords became agricultural capitalists and forced the peasantry off the land. The land was then used to grow cash crops (wool, cotton, beef, tea, sugar, cocoa, coffee, etc.) rather than grains and vegetables for food. (After Cereseto).
Population, Over: See Over-population and surplus population for some interesting political views on birth control and genocide.
Postmodern: A loose body of thought/criticism which holds that all knowledge processes are richly informed by personal aims and cultural world-views. All knowledge processes, including modern scientific theories, are constructed in and for a given socio-cultural life world; thus social theory may best be seen as a subjective narrative or text which legitimates existing or desired social relationships. Modern science talk privileges objectivity, rationality, power, control, inequality and hierarchy. Postmodern sociologists deconstruct each theory and each social practice by locating it in its larger socio-historical context in order to reveal the human hand and the group interests which shape the course of self-understanding of women, minorities and others. The political point of postmodernism is to enable women and others now excluded from such truth-claims to make and assert truth-claims which empower and honor different, more uncertain social-life worlds.
Postmodern, Affirmative: Many see postmodern sensibility as liberating. Old standards of truth and certainty are called into question. Traditional models of masculinity, femininity and gender relations are re-examined for their alienating effects. Old claims of social development [and underdevelopment] deconstructed to show their biases. Old models of governance and economics are given new life and more democracy by challenging the modernist tendency to control and to manage everything in a factory, school, office or church. See Pauline Vaillancourt-Rosenau's fine book on Postmodernism for the Social Sciences for both affirmative and nihilistic forms. Thus postmodern sensibility offers human beings considerably more scope for understanding and human agency than found in either pre-modern or modern world views. Pre-modern views tend to locate agency and full capacities to know in Gods or abstract realms of nature. Modern science retains the view that valid knowledge is buried in the dynamics of nature and that human beings must bend to natural laws if they are to be rational.
Postmodern, Nihilistic: The view that the knowledge process is hopelessly contaminated by subjective desires and political objectives; that there can be no basis for objective standards of truth, beauty, ethics, or philosophies of life. Universal and comprehensive theories of nature or society are impossible since, a) they do not exist and b) even if they did, one searches for them through the lens of one's own limited cultural concepts and values. Some more nihilistic postmodernists take the view a step further and claim that since there is no objective bases for ethics, all is permitted; all is possible if one has the will and resources to impose that will on others.
Postmodernity: A term which refers to that epistemological and historical break from the Enlightenment world of modernity in which truth claims about a retrievable, reducible, knowable, certifiable world were rejected. The postmodern historical period reflects a disenchantment with the limitations of the modernist agenda (e.g., the oppression of groups via capitalist market dynamics, the suffering and exploitation of those whose thinking departed from the presumed superiority of rational logic). Postmodernity marks the birth of a new aesthetics; one devoid of absolutistic, positivistic, essentialistic notions of justice, peace, community, society, culture and such. The postmodern historical period is much more attune to the incommensurable complexity of life in a social order and being human; that is, the non-linear dimensions of existence, e.g., its ironies, absurdities, inconsistencies, contradictions).
Postmodern Philosophy of Science. Postmodern philosophy of science accepts variety, contrariety, difference, loose causal connections as well as sudden reverses in causality in its discourse about natural and social dynamics. While modern philosophy of science favors the search for order and for tight correlations between two or more variables, postmodern scientists hold that causality is first of all a political construct which favors control and stratification of power. Affirmative postmodern philosophy of science holds that valid statements can be made which are limited but truth values change with changing dynamical regimes. Marx held that each social formation had its own laws or tendencies; that which produced crime in one society might not in another. Pre-modern philosophies tend to be more closely aligned with postmodern. Lots of fun to sort these things out.
Postmodernity, Sources of: There are several sources, often independent of each other, in which critique of modern knowledge and its tendency to totalize, simplify and depoliticize the knowledge process are made. Women object to the tendency of modern science to adopt euro-centered masculine values of power, control, order and hierarchy. Third world people criticize modern science tendency to set European standards for excellence/perfection in art, music, literature and poetry. Religious people criticize modern science for removing the mystery and magic of human life from its knowledge products. Homosexuals and lesbians criticize the confinement of human sexuality to Patriarchal values and social forms. Deconstructionists [after Derrida] put all this together to locate the knowledge process in the larger socio-cultural context in which they arise and tend to reproduce. Together, they reveal the partisan nature of all knowledge claims.
Postmodern scientists, informed by the new sciences of Chaos and Complexity, have objected to its concern and preference with order, prediction, and discrete categorization. Postmodernist scientists see dis-order and connectedness in most really existing systems. Such sciences provide an elegant empirical grounding for variety, difference, contrariety and change.
Post-structuralism: Post-structuralists maintain that no eternal truths or laws governing the social order; that knowledge of institutions and other systems depends on language. Post-structuralists argue that speaking/discoursing about social and natural reality is utterly dependent on language, and since the act of naming, describing, interpreting, understanding varies widely across cultures, then it follows that the assigning of meaning to institutions and systems of a culture/society is an arbitrary (subjective) process of selection; that is, it depends on people sharing similar meanings. Since people interact and communicate through many language systems, no precise, final, objective truths can ever be discovered; no 'deep structures' can ever be found. At best, there can only be approximations to the incredibly complex, variable and constantly changing patterns of social life and natural events. These approximations are themselves subject to divergent interpretations, dependent on the multiple codes through which individuals interpret and understand social phenomena. See also Fractals, Strange Attractors, and postmodern philosophy of science, Nonlinear.
Power, Alienation of: The practice of claiming and exercising social power by some class, party, or ethnic group. If social power emerges only through the cooperative efforts of all participants (including those who raise issues and criticize practices), then a claim by a small subset of those participants to make decisions excludes those who should be included and transforms them into objects rather than subjects as is required by Marxian principles.
Power, forms of: There are four major forms of power used to reproduce inequality: social power, moral power, economic power and physical violence or threat of violence. Add to that all the norms and values which legitimate inequality as well as all the established practices in everyday life which require compliance to inequality. Direct use of power is seldom necessary in 'well socialized' persons or in 'well organized' societies.
1. Social Power: this form of power comes from social relationships, social roles, and social institutions. When ever one is in a role, one must respond to role-others or sanctions/re-socialization ensues. Social life cannot go on unless there is response to the requests and needs of others in a role-set; parent-child, teacher-student, husband-wife, doctor-patient or boss-worker. The question then becomes just how much equality is necessary in such relationships.
2. Moral Power: this form of power comes from shared values and religious teachings. Even without role relationships, one is expected to respond to the needs of unknown others who are defined as persons in law and have social status in a group. Conversely, one can rob, maim, murder or ignore those who do not have social status in one's own religion or group.
3. Economic Power is the power of money: In societies which use money as the primary medium for the transfer of goods [rather than social status], money comes to have great power. As Shakespeare said, 'Yellow, precious glittering gold gives title, knee and approbation to the thief, plucks the pillow from beneath the head and refreshes the hoar leper to the April Day.' When one has no other economic system within which to get the necessities and the desires of life, one must get money. In capitalism, the only legitimate way is to sell one's labor power. When one cannot or will not sell it, one can turn to family, to charity, to crime or to state welfare.
4. Physical power: Physical power comes from the fist, club, gun or threat of force. It does not always depend upon size or skill in arms but often upon status; small men have the moral right to beat women; women do not have the moral right to beat large men or small children. States claim a monopoly over physical power; racist, sexist and class organized states often allow men, whites, the wealthy or ethnic groups the right to use physical force. See Underground structures.
Power-elite thesis: A view advanced by C. Wright Mills, G. William Domhoff and others to the effect that power in the United States is concentrated in a relatively cohesive and cooperating elite. Big business, big government and big military are held to constitute a power bloc wherein the basic political and economic decisions are made. Fiscal policy such as taxes, interest rates, money supply, unemployment, deficit spending as well as foreign policy, housing starts, energy policy, welfare policy, research policy, and much more are said to be set by the interests of the power elite. Many would add big unions and a technological elite to the power elite.
Praxis/Practice: A complex activity by which individuals, in collectivities, create culture, society, and create themselves as "species beings", i.e., as human beings. The moments of praxis include self-determination (in contrast to coercion), intentionality (in contrast to reaction), sociality (in contrast to privatism), creativity (in contrast to sameness) and rationality (in contrast to blind chance) (after M. Markovic).
Praxis, Christian: The practical way which the liberation theology (c.f.) took in "announcing the Gospel" calls for three kinds of action: 1) apprizing the poor of their exploited condition, 2) denouncing the injustices of capitalism and international imperialism and, 3) publicizing the facts of oppression and exploitation. (After Dodson) The worker-priests in the movement also give political education and organization to the working class poor as well as lead protests, confrontations, and demonstrations. Some priests engaged in Christian praxis have been beaten, imprisoned, deported and some have been def rocked. See Base Communities.
Prehistory: In Marx, human beings pass through three stages if there is good theory and good politics. The first is prehistory in which humans are at the mercy of the blind forces of nature; the second is history in which science and theory begins to offer human beings some control over their future and then, post-history in which knowledge and politics come together in democratic forms to allow human beings to build the social institutions which are supportive of praxis and species Being [which see].
Premodern: An era in which human thought was oriented around the idea that there were two worlds; one in which people lived in the present and a second spiritual world in which people lived in the past and will live again in future. This second world is peopled variously by gods, saints, devils, angels, and other invisible spirits. Modern science tends to dismiss these ideas and, at the same time, dismiss much that is valuable and indispensable to the human project. See Social Psychology, premodern.
Private Enterprise: A system of production in which decisions are made privately. The thought is that supply, demand, quality, and inventiveness go up while costs and waste go down if private initiative is encouraged. There is much merit (at least there was) to these claims. However, there are problems which are not mentioned. Loss of community, increase in the surplus population, increase in crime, imbalance in growth, ecological disaster, shoddy practices and other problems accrue from private decisions about production. The marxist position is that democratic and collective decisions are better than private decisions. In the U.S., food coops, credit unions, and public utilities are well run and generally produce at a lower cost than private enterprise. In private enterprise, the costs of production are often socialized while "profits" are privately used.
Private Property: That which is owned, used, and/or abused by a single individual. In most socialist philosophy, private property comes in two forms; the means of production which is to be owned in common or at least regulated in the common good; and personal property which is to be owned and used by individuals, families or private groups. Many 'simple' cultures view the notion of private property an absurd notion when it is applied to land, lakes, rivers, oceans or to forms of life.
Private Sector: In some political economic theory, there are two sectors, a private and a public sector. Each produces goods and services; the private sector is capitalist and produces for profit; the public sector is funded by taxes and distributes on the basis of need. James O'Connor divides the US economy into three sectors which produce and/or distribute goods and services; the monopoly sector, the public sector and the competitive sector. One should note that the family, the church, and many forms of crime are parallel economic forms outside the logic of either private capitalism or public sector.
Privilege/privileged: A postmodern term which rejects the practice of assigning great importance to an argument, a principle, a person, an event or explanations cum texts.
Problem: Technically, a problem is a contingency for which a solution does exist. An "issue" on the other hand is a breakdown (exigency/breakdown) in the system for which there is no agreed-upon solution. Issues are often defined as "problems" in order to avoid the search for a resolution. Both problems and issues assumes a mechanical model of society in which control and prediction are possible and desirable. A society could be organized such that "errors" in the system were tolerated.
Production (Social Relations of): This concept sensitizes one to the forms of ownership and control of the means of production, administration, political control and violence, the forms of exchange, distribution, patterns of consumption of the social product, the division and control of labor power, authority relations, and institutionalized social relations as well as law and the state. The emerging dialectic between social relations and the forces of production marks the basic contradiction in society which produces change in marxian theory. For example, the factory system contains both forces of production and social relations which tend to produce insightful critique on the part of workers and new social relations by which to deal with those contradictions. (After Heydebroud)
Productive labor: The unity of mental and physical labor. The idea here is that workers, forbidden to participate in mental labor become merely physical objects, i.e., the laws of the physical sciences apply to an understanding of their behavior. But, in order to be human, one must be productive, i.e., produce culture and this requires mental labor. Mental labor does not lend itself to analysis by physical science but by hermeneutics; the science of understanding and knowing.
Profanation: The process by which some people or some part of nature is treated as if they/it were objects to be used or abused without thought. Sociologists/anthropologists divide up society and nature into the sacred and the profane; the sacred is respected, cherished and preserved; the profane is used or ignored.
Profit: A claim, usually backed by force of arms or force of law, that some part of the value of labor power belongs exclusively to one person who may or may not have played a constructive role in creating that social wealth. In modern times, sufficient surplus value is accumulated to pay non-active "owners" a profit by transferring some of the costs of production to the State, to the workers or to the environment. Research and development, water and sewage treatment, protection, training workers, worker insurance, guaranteed profits, collecting bills, and so forth exemplify a few of the costs transferred to the state by legislators who come from business or serve business. The marxist view is that all social wealth is produced by a set of cooperating workers and that it is unsocial to use force to appropriate wealth. Moreover, the point of producing wealth is to insure that the people create themselves as Species being through community and through praxis, rather than the private use of material resources.
Profit: One of three ways by which surplus value is distributed; rents and dividends being the other two. Capitalist economists claim that profit is a return on investment and the skill/fore-sight or sacrifice involved in investment. Socialist economists tend to view profit as a form of crime in which surplus value is appropriated from those who produce it. In their view, the skill, fore-sight and sacrifice made in investment is a form of labor and has a specific value which varies. This should be distributed in the form of wages or salary rather than in profit since profit includes a lot more than the cost of the labor power involved in investment.
Profit, rate of: Marx defined the rate of profit as P = S/C+V where P equals Profit; S = surplus value; C = constant capital [machines] and V = Variable capital [labor costs]. Capitalists can increase profits either by decreasing Constant capital costs [via automation] or decreasing Variable capital costs [racism, sexism, union-busting, moving jobs to 3rd world countries or all of the above].
Profit, falling rates of: Marx held that it is a tendency in any capitalist system for profit rates to fall. The idea is that, as the role of machinery increases, workers are disemployed. Since all value comes from the labor power of workers, sooner or later, profit rates fall since the disemployed cannot produce more value to exchange for that which it already produced; the surplus piles up in warehouses, prices fall and profits decline. Profit rates in a 'free economy' can be increased by either restricting output [farmers could burn crops or kill cattle], or by generating new demand by temporary depressions which give time for goods to wear out, new inventions [cars, refrigerators, T.V., computers], crime, war, advertizing, state welfare and such.
Profit sharing: Generally the sharing of profit by workers in a factory. This gives workers a motive for faster, better work and results in lower rates of absenteeism and worker turnover. Sometimes, workers own a factory and share out profits to all workers after a probationary period. It can be used to sweat out more labor or it could be used to shift, gradually, from outside to inside ownership. Sometimes workers invest their pension funds in company stock and thus have a proprietary interest in caring for machinery and improving quality and quantity of goods/services.
Proletariat: Latin: Proles = Offspring. The word referred to the lowest class in ancient Rome which served the Romans only by having children. The word was picked up in during the Paris Commune to refer to those who served the nobility and merchant class with their labor. Marx, then adopted it in his class analysis to mean
those who have only their labor power to sell or those actively engaged in the production process. Lukács held the proletariat is the source of emancipation since it alone could directly experience the contradictions of capitalism.
Proletarianization: The process by which the middle classes [farmers, crafts-persons, small store owners, traders, doctors, office workers, professors, lawyers, clerks, and others] are gradually being reduced to wage labor, i.e., they no longer own the means of production but rather sell their labor power to the corporation or the state. See also Embourgeoisiement.
Prosperity Theology: A religious movement which holds that God wants believers to be rich; it cites several passages in the Christian Bible in support of this argument. While the Protestant ethic [see which] argued that God appointed some people as custodians of fields, flocks and nations, it also called for thrift and hard work; prosperity theology, on the other hand, permits/justifies a luxurious life style.
Prostitution, theory of: The socialist feminist theory of prostitution is that women enter sex business as a result of the separation of production from distribution. Those in the surplus population have only their bodies to sell. Women are more likely to be prostitutes than are men in a patriarchy since men are more likely to have job advantages. Men turn to prostitution as an venue for social power alienated at work or in politics; they can buy the dramaturgical facsimile of power for a brief moment.
The liberal bourgeois defense of prostitution is that since there is demand for commodity sex, it should be supplied by the free market. The patriarchal defense of prostitution is that men have sexual needs which should be satisfied by unattached females especially when women are scarce.
[The] Protestant Ethic: A set of values and practices which include thrift, hard work, individuality and stewardship of wealth on behalf of their God. This work ethic, inculcated by the needs of early capitalism and all low tech economic systems, has its foundation in the premise that the way of work is the way to a state of grace and salvation instead of the way of faith (as in Catholicism) or the way of meditation (as in Eastern religions). A second premise is that the ascetic life is spiritually superior to the way of fleshly pleasure. Combined with the notion of stewardship, one has the ingredients for capital accumulation; hard work, frugal living and a philosophy which asserts being wealthy is a service to God who appreciates those who look after His/Her vast domains. For Calvin, possession of property and the means of production was proof presumptive of a state of grace. Protestantism is hostile to feudal hierarchy in church and state and has thus progressive tendencies.
Psychology, Social: A branch of sociology which examines the process by which people, together, construct social realities and each other as distinctly social beings. Symbolic Interactional Theory is central to the discipline and inquiries to the process by which mind, self and society are, in the same moment, created. Macro-social psychology looks at both cultural differences between societies as well as stratifications/inequalities within a society to help sort out the incredible complexity of human behavior.
Psychogenic aids: Those physical substances which when ingested alter consciousness. Usually that altered state is experienced as evidence of solidarity-the oneness of the group. In order to use psychogens for such sacred purposes, it is necessary to define their private use as obscene, corrupt, evil and/or depravation. Thus alcohol is conducive of solidarity if used collectively and if defined as a solidarity mechanism while the private use of alcohol is described as an illness or a crime irrespective of the amount consumed. And generally, if a society uses one kind of psychogenic (alcohol, marijuana, peyote, special foods, tobacco) singly or in combination, the use of psychogens from other cultures is defined as corruption or crime. Sex, dancing, fasting, whipping and breath control also alter body chemistry and can be used as psychogens.
Psychotechnology: A wide variety of technical means exists by which to control behavior apart from cognitive processes, self-control, and from transactions. Chemotherapy, behavior mod, electric shock therapy, electronic implants, electronic surveillance as well as psychosurgery, aversion therapy and "counseling." All of these techniques work to obtain that behavior desired by a professional elite. Presently used mostly on prisoners and students, the technology is spreading to workers. In Chicago, every move of 450 workers is monitored via TV cameras. Time-study experts keep charts on workers observed talking or working too slowly. Instant replay is used to analyze any employee's behavior. Behavior mod is then used to "shape" worker behavior. These technical means work, but the behavior produced is not social behavior; it is simply behavior. Over 5,000,000 "difficult" children are on drugs as are many housewives and house-husbands.
Public: Latin: publicus = of or pertaining to the people generally. In political theory, the public sphere is the venue for formation of social policy with which to settle issues. It contrasts to the civil [now private] sphere which is the venue for pursuing private goals. It has come to mean in mass society, a set of unrelated individuals who share at least one thing in common. For example, all those who read Doonesbury or who drive a Datsun is said to comprise a public. Some hold that a communication system is also necessary but communication implies social relationships and joint coordinated effort to advance the interest(s) shared. In which case it would be a voluntary association (if membership were restricted to a single item) or a collective (if there were some solidarity).
Public Opinion: An information set which is pointed toward the resolution of an issue. Authentically produced public opinion requires undistorted communication in the public domain and effective participation by all relevant sectors of the population base (environment). The managed opinion produced by the Johnson/Nixon administration violated the public opinion policy process.
Public Policy: Policy made by and for the people generally. Usually it is made by elected representatives [as in the republican form of governance] or by direct voting [as in democratic procedures].
Public opinion policy process: A process by which quality variety is generated with which to reduce mismatch between a social system and its environment. Generally several options are generated and several publics support each option. A process of collective deliberation is necessary to select the best option or to organize a dialectic by which qualitatively new options are produced.
Public relations: An attempt to defuse and deflect the hostility generated by capitalist modes of production. Along with private security, public relations is the fastest growing industry in the United States.
Punishment: The use of pain or fine to sanction the behavior of a person deemed guilty of a prohibited act. Theories of punishment are many: Seneca gave three justifications for punishment: to reform the criminal; to give warning to others; and to remove the criminal from the community so others may live in safety. In utilitarian legal theory, one commits a crime when the benefits to him/her exceeds the benefits in other activities. This theory therefore suggests the solution to crime is best achieved by raising the costs of crime: Certainty, swiftness, and harshness of the penalty is thus "morally tolerable." In older social theory, punishment and suffering is thought to purify one. Then too, there is the idea that when one is alienated from God, mortification of the flesh helps reunite one with the Absolute. Others claim that punishment is just retribution for evil or disgraceful behavior.
Modern psychological findings suggest that the best combination for shaping behavior is a lot of reward together with a small amount of discomfort/pain. Some people commit violate legal codes even when punishment is harsh as in revolutions and warfare. Punishment is reasoned away by most people be their calculations that they will not likely be caught. Generally punishment for crime and fear of pain is a primitive form of ethical rationality but seems to work now and again.
Pymalion studies: Pymalion was a Greek sculptor who created a statue so beautiful that he fell in love with it. His faith in it caused it to come alive. G. B. Shaw wrote a play by the same name about women who were empowered or degraded by the men in their lives; the movie, My Fair Lady is a modern version in which speech, dress and comportment is taught to a lower class girl who then is taken to be and feels to be a Princess.
In 1968, R. Rosenthal and L. Jacobson set up an experiment in which teachers were told that their students had scored high on an 'I.Q.' test and they would do well. Actually the students were assigned at random but, given the belief of the teachers that they had 'good' students, they behaved in such a way that the students did, in fact, greatly improve in test performance over the six grades in which the experiment was conducted. Now the term is used generically to refer to all such studies which teach us that behavior and self worth is a collective product rather than located in the person of the single individual. See Self-fulfilling Prophecy.
Quality of Life Variables: Certain variables are a good measure of the degree to
which a society is well organized in terms of Praxis and Community. In general,
participation rates and drop-out rates in central institutions; family, school, church,
politics and pro-social labor signal positive and negative features of a society. Together
with Quantity of Life Variables [see below] they help serve the emancipatory interest by
enabling a people to reflect upon and perhaps, change, their own social organization.
Crime rates, suicide rates, absentee rates, desertion and divorce rates, infant mortality
rates, child abuse rates, turnover rates, morbidity rates, alcoholism and drug abuse rates
all point to a poorly designed social life world in school, family, work, and in church.
Perhaps the most sensitive indicator of a good and decent society is found in infant
mortality rates; the nine months of pregnancy and the first year after birth is very
crucial to the well being of a child.
Quantity of Life Variables: Income, housing, transportation, clothing, and other material possessions give measure to the degree that the economic system is working well. If this wealth is spread broadly throughout a society, it speaks well to the social justice built into the economic system. If wealth is highly stratified, and the ratio of those with less to those with more wealth is high, then one can anticipate rebellion and revolution. However, quantity of life variables do not tell all the story; great wealth can fail to bring great satisfaction and contentment.
Quantification: The process of transforming natural and social dynamics into number systems. There are major political problems with this practice: one loses information as one transforms behavior into word systems, more information is lost when word systems are replaced by number systems and still more when summary statistics are used to replace the original data. One could describe quantification as a process by which undesirable information is discarded. The political question is who decides what is undesirable? A second big problem is that numbers can be manipulated by arithmetic and algebraic rules which are coherent while human behavior may be incoherent i.e., emergent. And there are several numbering systems (scales) all of which, unfortunately use the same symbols. What is a five in one system (e.g., in a nominal scale) may not be the same thing in another scale (e.g., an ordinal scale). And referring to human beings as so many numbers tends to strip them of their humanity. Quantification is the great god of American social science but should be viewed with much reservation.
Quantification theory: In quantification theory, the process by which one reveals the underlaying causal connections in natural and social phenomena by comparing the characteristics of a data set with 'normal,' expected or chance distributions is called inference. There are several such characteristics one can use to make guesses about whether causality is at work; one can look at the flatness of a curve when one creates a distribution along a variable. One can assume that very different outcomes which are seen when a new variable is introduced [or removed] proves causal connection. One can look at deviations from a center point and conclude that some cause is at work. This process does not take into account the qualitative changes which occur in the same set of variables when one of them makes a slight curve as a critical [feigenbaum] point. There is a logical form of quantification but it requires no data nor gives a grounding to inferences. See Logic, syllogistic.
Quotidien, le: The practice of focussing upon everyday life in order to describe or explain. Local stories thus have greater validity than do global explanations, national samples or generalizing statistics.
Race: There is only one human species, Homo sapiens. However, social categories
can be and are constructed via symbolic interaction and the use of force and/or ideology.
Thus a society can construct one, five or five thousand 'races.' In the USA, about five
such categories are constructed: Asian, Hispanic, White, Black and Native American. It is
impossible to assign most people to one and only one race since all human beings share
almost all of the strings of base pairs which make up the human genome; it is a poetics
and a politics to built a 'race' out of the small differences in genetic clusterings found
in that genome. See Ramsey theory.
Racism: A complex set of beliefs that some subspecies of human beings (stocks) are held to be inferior to others in certain important ways; ways usually having to do with the capacity to create ideological culture (they are savages) or to create political culture (they cannot govern themselves yet). Racial theories are highly selective in choice of data for confirmation. They serve as post hoc rationales for exploiting people or for denying social status. Just which "race" is defined as inferior is a political matter rather than a scientific one. Sometimes "whites" are used as slaves; sometimes "blacks", it is a question of power.
Capitalism tends to destroy racist privileges for a number of reasons: black labor is cheaper in a racist society; markets can be expanded by selling 'white' goods and services to 'blacks;' strikes can be broken by bringing people desperate for work; to the extent merit is used as a criterion for hiring, there is always some number of Afro-Americans who work harder, longer and more skillfully than some number of Anglos.
Radical: Latin: radicalis = having roots. One whose analysis suggests that a fundamental change in social paradigm is required in order to solve problems. Most marxists/radicals believe that the root of most social problems are to be found in the political economy; those of capitalism (contradictions) cannot be solved within the system--only transferred to other parts of the system or to other countries. Feminists believe that patriarchy must be destroyed [not males but male prerogatives and female oppressions]. Black power advocates insist that racism must be sent to the dust-heap of history. Most right-wing radicals [liberals] believe that the government (the state) should abandon all attempts to regulate the economy, to solve social problems, or to provide services not available on the free market. Other Right-wing radicals believe that the liberal state should be replaced by one supporting gender, class, religious or ethnic privilege.
Radical criminology. A marxist approach to the theory of crime and crime
prevention. It has several assumptions: (a) that there is considerable political influence
in which behavior is defined as a legal wrong, (b) that the causes of crimes are largely
social-loss of community and obstacles to Species being, and (c) reduction in antisocial
behavior requires social change rather than individual therapy or punishment. The U.S. has
the highest crime rate in the world, the largest surplus population, the greatest wealth,
and the least community. These factors are not unrelated. In the United States, radical
criminology was located at the University of Berkeley until it was abolished by the
university administration as politically dangerous.
Radical feminism: A struggle against both capitalism and patriarchy. Central to radical feminism are the assumptions that socialist revolution does not automatically liberate women; that women should not trust men to "liberate" them "after the revolution" and that women should take responsibility for their own liberation (as, indeed, should all oppressed people). Part of the theory holds that the liberation of women liberates men in the same instant from their sexism. (From Amy Bridges and Heide Hartman).
Radical Psychology: The radical movement in psychology links the best conditions for a development of the personality and release of creative energies to a change in social relations and institutions. This requires the overthrow of class and power relations through whatever means are appropriate in a given historical context. Psychopathy is more of a social issue than a personal failing or internal conflict. Therapy involves a concern with internal distortions and with relief of private anguish but within the context of supportive social relationships rather through chemotherapy or individual therapy.
Radical sociology: A movement within bourgeois sociology which aims to use social science for human purpose rather than managerial purposes. The position of the radical sociologist is that the scientific theories and methods of constructing social reality at home, at work, in politics and education should be at least as decent and rational as the folk theories and methods which are displaced. The prospect is not good at this time. About 5% of American sociologists view themselves to be radical and/or marxist sociologists (1976).
Radical Theatre/Cinema: The use of cinema to reflect upon social relationships in a critical mode. This contrasts with the use of cinema as a commodity. There are three structural aspects to radical theatre; 1) it creates an honest dialectic between two or more difficult choices; 2) it erases the line between actors and audience and 3) it moves people toward human agency in real life. Berthold Brecht's play were deliberately radical in this sense.
Rape: The forcible invasion of the body of another person. Force includes both violence and threat of violence. While physical power is the chief mode of doing rape, physical violence shades into the use of social power to threaten job security; into the use of moral power to justify male dominance; into economic power to buy the services which would not be given freely and lovingly.
Rape, feminist theory of: The feminist theory of rape is that it a power device by which male hegemony is embodied; in more general terms rape is a semi-public control tactic by which women are forced back into the home or, alternatively, allowed to venture into public only under the protection of a male with status.
In predatory warfare, young men were given the right to rape women and children while the older men took possession of plunder and returned home with it to share it out among families in the clan, tribe or band. In modern warfare and in slavery, all women defined as non-persons could be raped without social onus or personal guilt. In all societies, sexual norms are strictly enforced in respect to women defined as daughters, wives, mothers, nuns, and other females within given degrees of kinship. This contrasts to reductionist theories which explain rape as biologically driven, as personal pathology or as by faulty socialization.
Rape [as metaphor]: Rape is often used as a metaphor with which to convey the anger and disgust which arise when one person invades the mind and soul of another without mutuality and sociality. The varieties of rape are thus many.
Rationality (As a Moment of Praxis): The organization of resources such that predictable outcomes are possible. In praxis, rationality is activity linked to the achievement of human purpose. It is not mere technical rationality in which there is a mechanical determinism in which the means are effective in reaching a goal, but also one in which the goals are themselves oriented to a general theory of human rights and dignity.
Rationality Crises: Capitalism produces distortions in the economic system. In popular democracies, the state moves in to correct those distortions but cannot formulate policy which threatens either competitive or monopoly capitalism, thus planning is impossible. The state responds to crises by emergency measures, by exhortation for cooperation but cannot choose between contradictory steering imperatives (after Habermas).
Rational-purposive institutions: Those institutions (bureaucracies, prisons, welfare, the military, systems design engineers, and such) which effectively control the alienated elements of the population through the principles of management science (after Weber).
Readerly approach: The organizing principles of 'reading' (or viewing) any text are non-contradiction, coherency, and consistency. The reader/viewer is encouraged to accept "as truth" the words/social occasions themselves. Thus, there is nothing behind or underneath the words/occasions; no hidden agenda. What the text means is direct, without question, on the surface. Missing from the readerly approach is the context of the text's production; that is, its connection to the political economy, racism, patriarchy and to cultural pretensions, remain concealed. Thus in this reading, people who 'read' the text as given, reconstitute and re-validate the structures of domination embedded in the readerly approach to the text.
'Reading': Explanation, view or theory. Postmodernists speak of 'your reading' and 'my reading' without speaking to the superiority or great validity of one over the other.
Reality: That which exists in and of itself apart from human thought and/or action. A central problem in modern science is how to reduce the mismatch between objective reality and subjective understanding of that reality. Contrast to the pre-modern view that reality exists in the mind of God or that it is a poor approximation of perfect and ideal forms which call them forth. Contrast as well to the postmodern view that 'reality' is in part constituted by the act of research; by the 'self-fulfilling prophecy;' by human imagination and/or will.
Realization, the Problem of: Capitalism is the finest system of production so far developed; it tends to improve the means of production until this capacity far outstrips the capacity of people to buy all the goods produced. As capitalism increases productivity, fewer and fewer people can enter the market. This is a problem; how to realize profit on the unsold part of production. The answer is manifold: first advertizing can create demand for more and more goods; then too, capitalist firms in one country can take markets away from capitalists in other countries. Then too, the government can buy up 'surplus' wheat, sugar, tobacco, corn and give it away to needy people or other countries. Or tariffs can be put on imported goods to protect American markets. Lots of ways to realize profit above and beyond what the market needs or wants.
Rebellion: A spontaneous uprising against exploitation and oppression. Often poorly organized, poorly led and short-lived, still it is a dramatic symptom of a failed politics or economics. Much small gauge reform ensues from such rebellions. In the USA, the riots and lootings of the 1960's lead to the Great Society and the War on Poverty Programs. These were dismantled in the 80's and 90's since the rebellion failed to change the basic politics of the country.
Rebellion, Pre-theoretical: Most rebellion in pre-theoretical in that it lacks good theory, good organization and good program. Workers sometimes steal, sabotage, slow-down, or use violence on 'scabs' and management. Marxist theory argues that particular people are not the class enemy but rather social relationships. Destruction and violence is thus, pre-theoretical in that it attacks the wrong targets and adopts the wrong tactics. See also crime, banditry, racism, family violence. See also, Resistance.'
Red Feather Institute: A radical independent think-tank put together by Tim Lehmann, Tom Harblin, Wendell Ott and T.R. Young on 4 July, 1971. It took as its goal the support of radical consciousness and politics in the Rocky Mountain Area. The election of Richard M. Nixon signaled to the founders the use of state power to eradicate anti-war activity, civil rights movement, student power and feminist actions as well as anti-socialist and anti-communist police action. It had four programs at its inception: The Transforming Sociology Series, alternative syllabi for graduate students, regular conferences for marxists, feminists, and other progressive activists including Protestant and Catholic clergy in the area. Finally, it supported lectures by leading radical scholars outside the Rocky Mountain area. Young and his family built the Red Feather Lodge and hosted many conferences until personal tragedy intervened. The Institute continues on a much smaller scale and has moved to its present address in Michigan.
The name came from Red Feather Lake Village, a small mountain town named after Princess Red Feather, the leader of an operatic troupe which so appealed to the residents that they renamed the town to honor her. The first meetings of the Institute were at the Young cabin on Lake Papoose in Red Feather Village in the late 60's. It also takes the French logo of the Red Feather for radical scholarship.
Redistribution: When wealth accumulates in the hands of a few persons, most societies have mechanisms for its redistribution; many religions call for tithes to support the poor; some call for sabbaticals at which debts are forgiven; among the Northwest Indian tribes, the potlatch redistributed wealth. Banditry, kidnapping and other forms of crime redistribute wealth from rich to poor. Taxation can be used to do provide a safety net or it can be used to funnel wealth to the upper classes. One should note that most socialist economic systems distribute on the bases of both need and merit thereby reducing the need for redistribution.
Reductionism: The practice of attributing causality to parts of a system rather than the system as a complex interactive whole. Thus crime is said to be caused by individual psychological states or even biochemical factors such as blood chemistry, brainwaves, genes and so forth. Sometimes reduction is appropriate, but when not, it is a cardinal error in inference and explanation. In American science it reaches epidemic proportions.
Reification: From the Latin: Res = things + facere = to make. The process of treating some aspect of nature or society as a special thing in and of itself. The process of creating social reality. When social relations are reified apart from human intentionality and human control, alienation occurs. Reification is necessary to create social life worlds but can be a serious problem if coerced and made permanent apart from changes in material conditions. More generally, the process by which an epistemological category [an idea] becomes an ontological category [a thing] via human action. Intentionality and sociality are necessary to construct a distinctly social-life world; that is, one which is not part of the natural world until human beings create it. The "self-fulfilling prophecy" is sometimes used to refer to the reification process by which social facts are made. De-reification is the process by which forms of social reality are dismantled or degraded. See Sanctification, Profanation, Demonization.
Religion: From the Latin, ligio: I bind; religio; I bind back, I bind fast [together]. Religion thus refers to any set of beliefs and/or practices which bind a people together. As most use the word, it refers to a theistic religion [see theology] but there are billions who live in solidarity with each other and with nature absent a god concept. Buddhism, secular humanism, socialist humanism and many forms of paganism sanctify but do not deify. [See Sanctification, as well as Sacred/Profane]. In marxian terms, religion is usually alienated self-consciousness. It is a situation in which people assign to a god or to a devil their own power for creating or destroying. More generally, religion is a set of principles by which human beings bring purpose and meaning into their own individual lives while guaranteeing (a sometimes limited) solidarity between individuals.
Re-represent/representation: Modernists and pre-modernists assume that it is possible to treat one thing as the same as another; each 'represents' the other without loss of meaning or quality. Postmodernists say this is impossible. Think of a marriage; is each one different from every other marriage such that one cannot use the idea of a given marriage as a standard to which every other marriage must conform; or think of an elected official; given the great variety of people in a Congressional District, can any one person 'represent' them without violating the needs and interests of some or most of the residents. Can a theory be precise enough to represent each and every instance of the events which the theory purports to explain/describe. See postmodern philosophy of science.
Repression: The process by which unacceptable views and actions are excluded from a social life world. A given social paradigm is constructed and maintained by law, religion, morality and socialization and re-socialization. Authorities use a wide range of punishments [sanctions] from moral condemnation to editing, "correcting," ignoring, as well as the judicious use of rewards. Control over the means to produce meaning (the media) is a major approach in modern repressive technique.
Repression, Surplus: In Freudian analysis, repression refers to the process by which some sexual energy is "sublimated" (transferred) in order to meet the demands of work, social and intellectual life. Marcuse pointed out that in a society of alienating work, a surplus amount of repression, over and above that required to re-produce social life, had to be enforced in order to keep the worker doing the same boring, meaningless work in the service of private capital. Then too, joy, delight, compassion, friendship and community must be repressed if people are to be treated as faceless others in school, work, church, marketplace or politics.
Resistance, workers: Resistance to alienated conditions may be formal, taking such forms as strikes, working to rule and overtime bans. These methods are most likely in a unionized environment. Equally, resistance may be informal, taking such forms as sabotage, theft, deliberate stupidity in misunderstanding instructions, silly ideas in suggestion boxes, short-cuts in working practices which allow a worker to sneak off for a smoke, producing "Friday and Monday" [shoddy] goods. For a good example, see Laurie Graham's essay about her work in a non-unionized Japanese-owned plant in America, in Elger and Smith (cited under the entry "Japanization").
Revisionism: A pejorative term used by Right and Left to denigrate theories, views, analysis with which they disagree. When the Left rewrites the history of slavery, warfare or gender relations to credit slaves, colonies or women with positive qualities, the Right uses the term. When orthodox marxism is challenged or modified, the term is used as a way to discredit such work.
Revisionism, Theory of: Rosa Luxemburg identifies three major elements in revisionist practice on the Left: (a) reformist programs defined by the limits of what is possible within capitalist ideology, (b) a subordination of socialist theory to tactics, and (c) opportunism and willingness to stop agitation in order to win concessions. Such an agreement eliminates the threat of militant opposition to capitalist control. Luxemburg's point is that practice must be guided by revolutionary theory else it degenerates into liberalism. The revolutionary theory is always class oppression, class struggle, social revolution, communism.
Revolution: In the context of Marxist thought, the term refers to a radical transformation of the totality of a society, not just a change in political or economic sphere. A socialist revolution means a radical abolition of old social relations and their replacement by new and more humane relations supportive of praxis and community. (After Markovic) The five great structures of domination are the targets of revolution; changing one is inadequate to the making of a socialist revolution. See Domination, structures of.
Revolution, Theory of: In formal marxian terms, revolution occurs when a) there is exploitation, b) when the workers are concentrated in a mass, c) when there is communication between workers, d) when there is leadership, and e) when there is a coherent analysis to guide action. There are two distinctly different pathways to revolution in marxian writings; first there is the immiseration thesis [see which] which says that revolutions come along when things get bad; then, in Grundrisse, Marx spoke of revolution by skilled and competent workers who had enough education, energy and free time to think and to act on their class interests. See also Lenin and Luxembourg.
Revolutionary Practice: It was a Marxist view that revolutionary practice emerged not only from political struggle but from the work process. In Capital, he presents the idea of evolution in praxis, from laboring activity to revolutionary activity to self-managing activity in post-capitalist society. An important part of the revolutionary process is not only to destroy capitalist relations but also the human nature of the revolutionaries and workers themselves. In the justly famous "Third Thesis," Marx emphasizes that it is essential to educate the educator. One must not only change material conditions but change human nature itself in a complex process of advances and reverses. (From Burke)
Revolutionary Base: Just who will make the revolution is a question central to all socialist/feminist/emancipatory strategy. Marx held that the working class would be the social base of the revolution for these reasons: 1 ) it alone can stop production, 2) it is the majority of the population, 3) its existence is a negation of species-being, and 4) only the interests of the working class correspond to the general interest. Interests of other classes, represented as the general interest lead to only "political" revolution; a change in the elite which rules. At the XIXth Congress of the French Communist Party, changes in the structure of the working class were recognized: the working class also includes salaried employees such as researchers, engineers, lower level bureaucratic functionaries, technicians, specialists, experts, and others who reproduce capital. There is debate in socialist circles today whether a) such people are workers or petty bourgeois, b) whether they will play a decisive role in making the revolution, and c) what is the proper organizational structure to use given the proper analysis to make the revolution.
Marcuse [whom see] viewed the working class in the rich capitalist societies as hopelessly loyal to capitalism and vested emancipatory leadership in women, minorities, 3rd world colonies and free floating intellectuals.
Rights, Human (Philosophy of): Aquinas held that Right and wrong were based upon both reason and eternally valid laws of nature and society; both given by the Christian God. Rousseau held that Right and wrong were conventional and rest upon consent of the people. Hegel held that the law of abstract Right was that one should be a person and respect others as persons. Persons could not be possessed as property or treated as objects in Hegel. Right does not allow one to pursue private goals which diminish others or which opposes what Hegel calls universal will. Hegel assumes that there is a universal tendency [or will] to evolve toward perfect embodiment of rational understanding of both the world and the plan for it given by a clock-maker god concept.
One of the most troublesome questions in affirmative postmodern social philosophy is how to define human rights without appealing to universal and absolute standards; thus protecting variety and difference on the one side and yet collective work toward social justice, basic equality in social processes. Affirmative postmodern sensibility resists oppression of elitist/sexist/racist cultural claims yet it argues for common rights and obligations within and between groups. See the United Nations Declaration of Universal Human Rights for a beginning.
Role dispossession: A process by which a social identity is erased from the self-system. Compare to depersonalization in which the social conditions are such that the self does not develop. Degradation, debasement, and demoralization are rough equivalents of this term.
Ruling Class: A term (poorly chosen) to refer to a loose assortment of capitalists and state functionaries who make the basic decisions in capitalist countries. Industrialists, financiers, agribusiness executives, large retail interests, and mass media have many conflicting interests but they share a common understanding that low costs and high profits are the objectives of capitalism and work together or in tacit agreement to oppose anything which threatens profit/cost structures. Sometimes the leading capitalists get together via the Committee on Economic Development which meets yearly. Often a few corporations which dominate a market will have agreements as to price and regions. Many corporations try to eliminate competition between themselves and encourage it among their customers and opponents. In this context, a "free market" means that customers are unorganized while a "free world" means that capitalists are free to seek profit. See Power Elite also.
S T U V W X Y Z
Sacred/Profane: A dichotomy [two-fold concept] in which people sanctify, honor,
esteem, cherish and worship part of humanity and/or the natural world while treating the
rest of the population and/or nature as though it had nothing but use value. Thus some
people sanctify trees, animals and/or rivers while others see them only as objects to be
used, abused, ignored or destroyed. See commodification, deification, and/or reification.
Sanctification/de-sanctification: Latin: santus = holy + ficere = to make. The process by which things, events, persons and groups are treated as holy. One should note the word, holy, comes from old English, helig, meaning healthy. Those who work out of a pre-modern religious framework treat some persons, places or activities as holy. Others are de-sanctified or treated as profane. Modern sensibility tends to treat all efforts to sanctify or de-sanctify as primitive thinking. In postmodern theology, sanctification is a social process by which great value is assigned to a people, some part [or all] of nature and/or a social process. There can be no social life at all without sanctification; to treat everything as profane is to destroy the very foundation of social life; not even capitalism or modern science would be possible without a set of values to which the scientist or the worker gave her/his rare capacity to belief, to have faith, believe, hope, and to trust. See Profanation, Criminalization, Reification.
Science, Modern: A body of knowledge which holds that there are abstract 'laws' which describe the ways in which nature and society operate. The method of modern science is that of successive approximations in which hypotheses are generated, tested and used to guide the formulation of further hypotheses thought to be closed to Truth if they account from more and more of the variation in a dependent variable. Modern science arose in the 1600's and gained great status from the work of Isaac Newton. Newton gave us both a very precise theory and a very useful methodology for the discovery of the hidden regularities in simple natural systems. Modern science has helped improve diet, health, transportation, communication and construction. However, it sets order and tight causality as the normal behavior of all social, economic, biological and physical systems. Compare to Chaos theory which tells us this is true for only simple systems; complex systems display nonlinear dynamics and have fractal geometries.
Science, philosophy of: A discipline which locates science in the larger social context in which it is found; which tries to reveal the political agenda which gives rise and shapes scientific work; which points to the class, racist and gender biases which drive the knowledge process as well as the connection of science to ethics, aesthetics, logic, and metaphysics. There is great controversy about the role of science, empiricism and induction in the knowledge process. Generally, modern science claims hegemony over the knowledge process; pre-modernist give priority to inspiration and revelation. Nihilist postmodernists tend to reject the possibility of both theory and reliable knowledge. Affirmative postmodernists tend to accept the value of pre-modern, modern and postmodern knowledge processes while stressing the poetics and politics which are intrinsic to any and every human product.
Science, Pre-modern: Pre-modern knowledge processes uses trust, belief, faith and hope to engage the reality construction process. These social psychological activities convert prophecies into social practices, social relationships and social institutions in a sort of social magic in which the knowing comes from the doing. Pre-modern knowledge processes are fundamental to all other knowledge processes including modern and postmodern science.
Science, Postmodern. Postmodern philosophy of science makes a place for variety, difference, unpredictable change and dis-order generally. It argues that the knowledge process has many pathways to truth and wisdom; that only short term truth statements are possible for complex systems. Feminist Standpoint epistemology (S.S. Rixecker) teaches us that there are many different and valid standpoints from which to 'know' how a system works and should work. Marx made the point that one's consciousness varies with one's position in the social structure. The present author takes the position that a fully human knowledge process requires pre-modern, modern and postmodern knowledge process. See each for its assumptions, limitations and contributions.
Self, social: The sum of all of the social identifies presented by an individual and validated by others in specific and differing social occasions. Self and society are thus twin-born. One has no "self" until one is socialized to a particular social identity: until one presents that identity (by behavioral means); and until some other person defined as significant honors and responds to that presentation. Thus, the concept of the mother without the child or the professor without the student are nonsense notions. This definition disagrees with the Anglo-Saxon concept of self as a thing having its own, independent nature such that there is a 'true' self to be discovered and used to mediate one's own behavior. See Mind.
Self-determination: A moment of praxis wherein a person acts with purpose and insight as opposed to coercion and necessity . . . subjective participation in opposition to objectification.
Self Estrangement: Here Marx meant to show that commodity labor forced the worker to be concerned with him/herself to the exclusion of species-being-the process by which humans grasp their own humanity as a collective (as a brother/sisterhood) is destroyed by wage labor. In capitalism, people take themselves as the object of their thought when they think of "myself." However, the essence of social being is that the object of such thought is not the isolated individual but rather that collective humanity which one treats as one's own essential nature.
Self-Realization: In praxis, it is activity in which one realizes the full wealth of one's human capacities, an activity profoundly pleasurable for its own sake, no matter how much energy and effort it might require, no matter how great or small the secondary rewards such as fame, wealth, or success. In self-realization, the labor of the individual in producing material, ideological and/or political culture results in positive or negative response from others. Without that response, one has no way of knowing one exists nor of the quality of that existence. Self-realization thus requires sociality.
Semiotics: Greek: semeiotikos: sema = a mark + otikos = theory of. Semiotics is the study of language understood as 'signs.' All words, phrases, gestures, or cues, all communication spoken or written, are signs. All language systems are themselves various sign system (e.g., engineering, computers, accounting gangs, prison inmates). Semioticians study the evolving meanings communicated through speech or through a text. For example: the word 'gay' could refer to someone who is lively or animated or someone who is homosexual. Then too, those who are homosexual work to change meaning. As recently as twenty years ago, referring to someone as gay was insulting, derisive, and resulted in ostracism and social disgrace. Today, however, one can speak of "Gay Pride" month or "Gay Awareness" indicating that to be gay/homosexual is something to treat as 'normal,' feel good about, and to celebrate.
Sensual/sensuality: Sensualists place equal or prior value on the senses as upon reasoning. Enjoyment of taste, touch, smell and sexuality are to be encouraged rather than repressed in the name of God or in the effort to transform people into workers who do not feel, love, hate or enjoy their work or their roles in life. Freud held that some erotic drive should be suppressed and re-channeled into productive labor else nothing would get done in the pursuit of pleasure. Others, such as Marcuse and Norman O. Brown argue the senses too, need emancipation as much as does reason.
Sexism: A complex set of assumptions holding that women are suited for a secondary role in the creation of culture. To keep women in their 'place,' men are given social power within the marriage relationship; economic power in the inheritance of property; moral power in the religious ideas and authority to use physical power to ensure compliance to male hegemony. Those who support patriarchy appeal to biological attributes as well in justifying sexist status-role ascription and thus is rational. While individual differences may be relatively great, differences between men as a category and women as a category are small in terms of strength, intelligence, creativity, assertiveness, and other crucial factors. In any event, one cannot judge the ability of one woman or man in terms of the averages of a group of men or women.
Sexism [and Capitalism]: Capitalism tends to dismantle ancient structures of privilege in the quest for markets and lower wages; age, sex and racial discrimination offer both. At the same time, the reproduction of gender inequality is helpful since there is always a pool of cheaper labor with which to drive down the wages of all. Marx noted, it the Manifesto, that difference in age and sex have no longer any distinctive social validity for the working class; All are instruments of labor more or less expensive to use. The call is for men and women; blacks and whites, young and old to unite and end the divisions which capitalists can use against them.
Sexuality: The socialist position on sexuality is that sexual activity is a natural and important human activity. It is not to be treated casually or used as an instrument of manipulation or for private gain. It is to be used as an affirmation and definition of a cherished social relationship. People are not to be treated as objects nor are they to be treated as property. Sexual caress and response are personal matters to be settled between individuals without coercion or anxious guilt. Sexual activity may be within or without marriage as an institution but this does not mean that marriage is to be taken lightly or that there is no mutual responsibility involved in sexual activity. Sexual experimentation of young persons is to be encouraged but young people are vulnerable in their doubt and concern over their sexuality and therefore should not be exploited. Much remains to do before such questions are settled, including gay rights, bisexuality and other modes of sexual activity. In capitalist societies, the chief concern of socialists is commodity sex and the use of sex to dispose of surplus production. See, Emancipation of the senses.
Sexual Psychopathy: There are many forms of harmful sexual behavior from clothing fetishism to rape and the sexual exploitation of children. Such pathologies arise, according to Freud from repression of sexuality which, in turn comes from the incest taboo. The incest taboo splits male sexuality into tenderness and affection (directed toward mother) and lust and carnality (directed toward objectified females: cunt, piece, ass, whore and such). Freud held the incest taboo to be necessary in order to channel some sexual energy into work. Marcuse holds that sexual repression and joyful sexuality varies with patriarchy; if work were as creative and delightful as play, such sexual repression would not be necessary: love and tenderness could be reunited with sensuality and sexual activity need not be split into "higher" and "lower" modes.
Sign: In semiotic terminology, all words or phrases, whether written or spoken, are signs. A sign is that which stands not only for something other but something more added by those using the signs. The sign is composed of two elements: the "signifier" and the "signified." Signifiers are the words or phrases themselves (e.g., car, house, gravely disabled). The signified is the content of the signifier; that is, the meaning assigned to the signifier (e.g., a mode of transportation, a place in which to keep warm, a person who is homeless). Thus, the sign is the relationship between the signifier + the signified. It can change content depending upon the class, gender, culture and interests of those 'reading' them.
Sign, accenting the: In postmodern semiotic terminology, all words, phrases, gestures within a given system of communication (e.g., sports, law, medicine, gangs) are given preferred meaning. They are loaded with positive or negative emotional or power content. This is not a problem with codes of speech that are readily available to all people in a society. Thus, the languages of popular culture and commercialism accent words or phrases in ways that are accessible to large constituencies. A problem, however, presents itself in dominant discourse; speech codes that regulate and control our lives (e.g., law, news, finance, bureaucracy). There is limited access to "law talk," "corporate talk," "medical talk." In such instances, the meaning of words or phrases are reduced to certain contents. These contents maintain the power of dominant discourse to exclude, to distance, to marginalize, and to alienate. This reduction in meaning is termed uni-accentuality. We feel frustrated, uncertain, and left out despite our wanting to genuinely understand. According to postmodern semiotics, the aim is to enable everyone who uses dominant and hierarchical 'grammars' to accept and embrace alternative and more complete contents for the words or phrases they use. This explosion in meaning is termed multi-accentuality. Multi-accentuality makes possible a reduction in psychic dis-equilibrium and social disorganization. It promotes richer, fuller relationships between and among citizens than does dominant grammars.
Sign System [Grammars]: In semiotic terminology, not only are all words, phrases, gestures, etc., signs but entire fields of knowledge are themselves sign systems. The language of law is a sign system. The language of culinary art is a sign system. The language of mortuary science is a sign system. All grammars or systems of communication are composed of words and phrases which, when taken as a whole, mean/convey more than the words or phrases themselves (see Signifying chain, Grammar).
Signifying Chain: Originally developed by the linguist, Ferdinand de Saussure, the speech chain is constructed by the interactive effects of the paradigm (individually selected words) + the syntagm (clustering of words as sentences). On the vertical axis (paradigm) discourse/talk (realm of parole) is chosen from a common language (realm of la langue). The paradigm provides a range of options from which we may select. For example, when describing the weather outside we might invoke the descriptors 'wet,' 'damp,' 'rainy,' 'moisture,' 'precipitation.' The syntagm is the horizontal axis or string of words linked together as spoken [this is damp and nasty weather, 'the rain is just what we needed.' Thus, in ordinary communication, we select words (paradigms) and arrange or order them into particular phrases or series of sentences (syntagms). Meaning thus derives from both words and grouping activity. The overlapping and interdependent effect of the axis creates an ephemeral and imaginary 'space' where meaning (much like a slow moving film) is constructed and conveyed to the receiver of the message (see semiotics).
Simulacrum: a copy for which no original exists. Think of the perfect son, perfect woman, the perfect student, the perfect priest; is there an original to which actual women, students or priests might be compared and evaluated. The term at once rejects the idea that there are originals to any idea, image or theory offered to students or to the public and, in the same moment, a rejection of the possibility of authentic representation of nature or society by theories.
Sixth Thesis: "But the human essence is no abstraction inherent in each single individual. In its reality, it is the ensemble of social relations." Sociologists know this thesis better in the form Mead put it: Mind, self on the one side and society on the other, are twinborn.
Social capital: Generally social capital as the product of people working together to achieve something unattainable to them or individuals. The self, the various forms of material culture as well as society itself cannot be produced by people working as private individuals. Social capital includes material items but is much more than merely the physical base of culture.
Social Change theory: There are many theories of social change, each with varying validity. Population theories emphasize increase in number of people per square unit as producing divisions of labor and related social changes; Cultural diffusion theory points to the stimulating effects of ideas and practices brought into a society by migrants; Capitalism pushes changes in technology, in knowledge systems and in class, race and gender relations. Those in environmental studies tend to emphasize degradation of soil, air and water as leading factors in social change. Many think that 'great' men are crucial to social change. Others put religion and religious prophets in the forefront. All these are deeply interconnected and variously important in explaining social change. The larger point is that change is endemic; it is impossible to reproduce a culture or a society precisely in each new generation; conditions change, social practices change. Change is ubiquitous; the pace of change increasing; stability, rare and becoming rarer. See Chaos theory for a technical explanation of nonlinear social dynamics.
Social Control, Parallel Systems: The USA has eight or ten parallel systems of social control which make it one of the most repressive countries in the world. Most of these controls are in the private sector or only loosely connected to the state so it appears that the USA is the 'land of the free.' In addition to the criminal justice system which now supervises over 4 million people , there is the Civil Justice System in which private parties sue each other; the Administrative Justice System in which a few government agencies try to regulate some 15 million businesses; the Medical Control System which uses chemicals and psychology to control mostly children and women but also those behaviors labeled as 'perversion:' gambling, homosexuality, drug use and alcoholism. Then there is the Private Security system made up of security guards, private courts, private prisons and private detectives. It is larger than the CJS and is growing faster. The Social Welfare system monitors the behavior of some 15 million people, mostly poor women and their children. It enforces middle class values of house-keeping, shopping, child care, and sexual behavior. Then too there is the Peer Review System which monitors the crimes/delicts of professors, lawyers, doctors, brokers and such. It is user friendly. Add to all these control systems, those of the secret armies of the far Right and Left as well as secret policing by the C.I.A. and the Military as well as the black-lists of owners. Then too, there is a Religious Control System, rather small now, it superintends about 10-15 million people who come before their priest/minister, confess their sins, and accept penance and punishment. See also Fascism, Techno.
Social Democracy: A liberal, parliamentary solution to the problems of capitalism; it works with capitalism in gradual reform. Social democracy entails the state sector picking up the costs of capitalism: welfare for the surplus population, medicare for underpaid workers, psychiatric care for the angry and depressed worker as well as many forms of subsidy to capital. It socializes the costs but not the profits of capitalism. The problem with social democracy is that it doesn't work when capitalism is in crisis and people, thinking it is really socialism which has failed, come to wonder if fascism or racism or nationalism or fundamentalist religion is the answer. The turn to right-wing politics in Sweden, England, Israel and the U.S.A. in recent times (1977) is, in part, the result of the failure of social democracy. See democratic socialism and/or market socialism as an alternative.
Socialization of the means of production: The process by which the tools, factories, land, and other goods used to produce essential goods and service are appropriated by the state on behalf of workers as a class. Sometimes force is used as in the Russian and Chinese revolutions; sometimes the state sets up its own agencies to produce collective services; school, mail delivery, roads and such.
Social Justice: Social justice refers to a set of policies and programs in which quality housing, health care, education, transportation, recreation are distributed on the basis of social status rather or in addition to profit. Note that 'justice' varies with mode of production; what is fair and right depends upon the social relationships considered normal; in patriarchy, it is just that men rule and women defer to them; in slavery, it is just that slavemasters appropriate the wealth produced by slaves; in feudality, it is right and proper that kings and nobles live better than peasants and crafts persons. If justice is blind, social justice is not.
Social opinion: That which is entirely understandable within the life experience of the listener/viewer. Any information set which reproduces existing social structures/relationships. Compare to Public Opinion, News, Propaganda.
Socialism: Latin: socius = friend or comrade. A system of production where the state holds title to most means of production while decisions are made by a central planning unit on behalf of the entire society and to the advantage of the entire society. "Socialism" is often used when one means communism; one says socialism in order to deflect coercion and to avoid emotional resistance to a point. (See Communism). Because socialism is akin to state capitalism (which see) it is held to a good deal more respectable in the USA than is communism.
Socialism, Bureaucratic: An economic system in which the state [not the workers, not the collective] own the means of production and set economic policy. Work is organized into formal organizations with hierarchy, chain of command and differential rewards. Not to be confused with communism.
Socialism, Christian: A wide spread socialist movement in Christianity in which the social justice of Deuteronomy and the Compassion of the Christ figure were combined in a call for social justice for the poor and oppressed. R. Niebuhr spent most of his career teaching Christian ethics and Theology at Union Seminary in New York. He held that changes in social institutions were more important than changes in the heart as a way to reduce and redeem 'sin.' He inspired a whole generation of American ministers to work for social justice. See Liberation Theology for a recent version of Christian socialism; see Buddhism for an old, old one.
Socialism, Democratic. In democratic socialism, interactively rich and informationally rich discussions and elections are used to set social policy. These processes are to be used in every domain of public life; politics, economics, religion and education. Compare to republican forms of government in which disinterested people vote once every two or four years without much discussion or information. It is this last kind of 'democracy' which Plato denounced. As Lenin said [but did not always practice]: Socialism cannot be victorious unless it introduces complete democracy...' '...unless it wages a many-sided consistent ...struggle for democracy.'
Socialism (Lemon): A phrase which mocks the quandary in which liberals find themselves. Liberals support capitalism but as the accumulation crises worsens, the state assumes responsibility for producing labor-intensive, unprofitable goods and services while the private sector retains the right to produce high-profit capital intensive lines of production. Lemon socialism produces inflation and fiscal crises.
Socialism (market): A variety of economic systems in which the wealth produced by the labor power of workers go directly to them while some part goes to meet collective/community needs. Market socialism attempts to keep the flexibility, creativity and productivity of the market along with the social and economic justice of collective ownership. (See John Roemer or Lane Kenworthy).
Socialist Humanism: The view that the supreme goal in life is the welfare of the human individual. This welfare includes the idea of liberty, equality, social justice, brother-sisterhood and access to the material bases for the production of culture. The principles of socialist humanism are guided by definite theoretical assumptions: (1) that the human individual is a social product, (2) that s/he exists only as an "ensemble of social relations," (3) human development rests upon and is realized only in the appropriate social conditions and (4) that social conditions depend upon the material base and the relationship of individuals have to the material base. (After Schaff).
Socialist liberation movements: A wide ranging series of collective efforts to overthrow capitalism, especially colonial capitalism; it is led by indigenous socialists. The effort has been coordinated from Moscow until recent times.
Socialist revolution: The transformation of society to communism: democratic self-management by collectives in the production of culture augmenting praxis and striving for community. Sometimes (more often than not) socialist revolution requires violence. In Chile, socialist revolution was peaceful until the Nixon administration and the C.I.A. engineered and financed its violent end. In the Union of South Africa, in the various right-wing military dictatorships and in the police states, violence will probably play a role in socialist revolution. In the United States, the growth in right-wing paramilitary groups and in police technology may work to provoke violence in the event of a popular movement toward socialism.
Sociality: A moment of praxis in which the needs of other human beings are met at the same time one achieves self-realization. In the work of Marx (and later Mead, Cooley and others), self is to be found in social relationship; not in the person of the private individual. Self-affirmation necessarily implies sociality. In capitalism, work may not imply sociality since it is private accumulation, not human need, which drives the productive system (After Markovic).
Social Magic: The folk process by which social reality is constructed. Involving faith, trust, innocence, naivete and hope, social magic produces wide range of social phenomena including healing, love, community, self-systems, marriage, authority and other such social forms. Social magic has at least four parts: (a) an ideational process involving goals, purposes and intents, (b) a reification process involving a ceremony or ritual, (c) a performance phase in which trusting humans organize their behavior "as-if" the magical ceremony had validity and (c) all this tied to seriously understood social endeavor (rather than make-believe, just pretend, or "practice.") Social magic gains its efficacy from the remarkable ability of people to understand, believe, and fulfill. It is a folk method for constructing social reality in contrast to scientific methods and theories used to create an ordered society. Social magic is part of the legacy from pre-modern thought without which society would be impossible. See self-fulfilling prophecy; Pygmalion studies.
Social opinion: An information set which is pointed toward the generation of solidarity and consensus. Public opinion, on the other hand, assumes conflict and dis-sensus. Social opinion tends to reproduce existing social relationships while public opinion tends to transform social relationships. Conservative societies must control public opinion and the process by which publics arise and one way to do so is to fill the newspapers and television news programs with social opinion instead of public opinion.
Social psychology: A scientific specialty which attempts to investigate the social sources of human behavior. Of special interest is the self system and how it arises; the role of communication is the production of shared social-life worlds as well as the social sources of anxiety, misery, and alienation. Formal social psychology has developed quite independently of Marxism. Some claim that its European origin was out of the experimental laboratories of William Wundt. Much in the way of early social psychology was a result of racists searching for explanations of "national character" and superiority. Social psychology became almost exclusively an American discipline until W.W. 11 and the extensive interest in propaganda first and advertising later.
Social Psychology, modern: A discipline and body of findings about the ways and degree to which human beings shape each other's behavior within a given socio-cultural life-world. See Mead, Cooley, Blumer and the terms they put forward to explain the construction of social selves and social realities.
Social Psychology, premodern: Many important social psychological capacities were developed over the many hundreds of thousands of years in which human beings evolved. These are largely ignored in modernist social psychology and/or taken for granted. They include the capacity to believe, to have faith, to trust, to suspend disbelief, to hope and to act as if things not yet true were or will become true. Also included are the many forms of emotion which bind people together or produce negative responses to persons, places or things. Without trust, hope, faith, and belief, social reality and social relationships would be impossible; even science itself would not exist.
Social Psychology, socialist: Socialist social psychologists hold that ways of thinking, ways of feeling and ways of acting vary markedly with one's position in the social order; if one changes class position, for example, one is very likely to change ideas about profit, rent and dividends and about the inequality of wealth. The same is true of gender, race and age; put ones-self in the shoes of another person and one sees the social world very differently. It is not that people are weak or mindless but rather that they are embedded in a different set of expectations, obligations and rewards. The political point is that if one wants to minimize or maximize some form of behavior or some way of thinking/feeling, one should work to change society.
Social Psychology, macro: A branch of psychology which uses the larger structures of society to explain, in part, how human behavior is shaped and pre-shaped. Racism, Sexism, class status as well as ethnic and national identification are studied to see how and to what degree the behavior of whole sets of peoples are affected/pre-shaped by such structures.
Social Power: The power which is embedded in all social relationships. There are many things a person cannot produce alone. Self, social life worlds, language, friendship, and society itself is a collective process. When people take each other into account and respond to expectations legitimate within a given role or role relationship, social power exists. Such power can transform the physical and social world; it can also be greatly abused to cheat, harass, deceive and betray those who respond to it. Social life is impossible without mutuality and reciprocity.
Social role: The particular set of expectations about feelings, activities and thinking assigned to a given social position [status]. The role of a mother or of a physician varies widely from culture to culture. See also Role theory.
Social Security: In the USA, a system of social services sponsored and funded by the federal government which provides resources for the poor, the aged and those who are otherwise unable to sell their labor power on the market for wages sufficient to meet life needs. Benefits may be in cash, in services or in the form of goods; food, clothing and such. In Social Democracies, social security is set at a level such that a decent standard of living is possible. In the USA, minimum standards of living are set; social workers are assigned to monitor the use of cash and other services of the poor.
Social self: The view that a "self" is produced by the interaction of two or more persons. For example, the concept of the mother without the child, the professor without the student, the physician without a patient are absurd. Self is not something which resides within the boundaries of a single individual but rather a complex interaction between two or more people. Such a view calls into questions the meaning of concepts like freedom, individuality, liberty, and punishment of individuals; most behavior, both good and bad, is socially constructed as are notions of good and bad.
Social System: A series of directives (rules, laws, norms, folkways) and compatible behaviors by which a social structure is produced. Thus the class system produced class strata. The rule that the poor pay more for money, housing, food, and clothing while the rich pay less [in either absolute terms or terms relative to income] creates a class structure. The rule that blue collar workers are paid less than "professionals" serves as another support for the class structure. But a social system is a complex working whole by which human beings, by organizing their own behavior and by coordinating with others produce an infinite variety of social forms. Sometimes the term is used to refer to one fairly self-contained social activity; for example a school system or a money system but properly these are subsystems in that they don't make sense apart from the larger whole. Who would study electrical engineering in a "school" if the society were one in which electrical appliances were not used.
Society: Latin: societas = to share, to unite. A complex form of social life comprized of a network of different social institutions each with a division of labor and often, hierarchy of governance. Often contrasted to Community, see which [after Toennies].
Sociobiology: Sociobiology tries to ascertain which patterns of behavior are preprogrammed by inheritance. There is a great deal of evidence that many animal species engage in unlearned complex behavior like building, fighting, mating, and the rearing of their young. The question is how much programmed behavior is also found in the human species; to what extent is it overridden by learned behavior and under what conditions of stress or panic is genetically based behavior activated. Often sociobiology attempts to replace social theory with biological theory. Such a practice tends to eternalize one kind of behavior or another and, thus, remove it as a topic for political discourse.
Sociobiology started out as a set of assumptions about the degree to which social organization (the class system, sexism, fascism) and social problems (crime, war, alcoholism) are based upon genetics and gene pools (race). Generally, the development of the cerebral cortex and other structures make it possible for human beings to organize a wide variety of social forms and create quite enough social problems without blaming nature for it. The political point is that sociobiology is used, often inappropriately, to justify inequality in the name of science.
Sociology: Latin: socius = friend, comrade + Greek, ology = study of. A term created by Comte to refer to the science which studies relationships between people [not people per se]. Sociologists investigate how people become social actors and how forms of social reality are constructed. The usefulness of sociology is not yet settled. Some who practice it view it to be a liberating, exciting venture appropriate to all persons who purport to be educated. Some see it as does E.E. Cummings more as "the naughty thumb of science prodding the beauty of sweet spontaneous life." Marx called it a 'bourgeois pseudo-science.' As a matter of fact sociology is scarcely two hundred years old; one should wait a few more centuries before such vast claims for or against it are made with so much certainty. The rule is that any science gets its meaning from the larger society in which it is found. Sociology can be used as a technology of oppression as easily as a critical, emancipatory science.
Sociology, Emancipatory: Emancipatory sociology provides a society with its own critical self-knowledge that it might change or resist change as the case might be. It uses conflict theory and conflict methodology in order to reveal the positive and negative features of a society in terms of some set of human rights and obligations. Emancipatory sociology involves the oppressed and exploited in setting research questions and in formulation of conclusions. It sees its task as distributing such knowledge broadly through the social order more so than in journals, books, or lectures. The larger goal is the creation of a praxis society in which people know society by helping to build it as much as in the study of it in college classrooms. Compare to Consensus theory.
Sociology of development: The application of sociological principles by which a given social paradigm is improved and extended. Revolution, on the other hand requires change from the social paradigm presently in force. In capitalism, the sociology of development is funded by the state and used to manage social problems at home and to extend the system of capitalism (and markets) abroad.
Sociology of fraud: The deliberate attempt to create the impression of a social relationship for purposes of private gain. The creation of social reality requires trust, faith, belief and innocence. The quest for profits often exploits these human capacities. When that occurs, the sociology of fraud obtains and the social process is put in jeopardy. See also social magic.
Sociology of knowledge: The marxian premise here is that human knowledge depends upon and varies with one's position in the social structure. However, there is a modifying clause which holds that, under conditions of stratification, the lower classes tend to embrace the views of the dominant class to the disadvantage of the former. One role of the radical social scientist is to oppose the mystification of the lower classes by the dominant classes.
Solidarity: Social power in its final, most perfect state. Solidarity refers to the condition in which a group of people view each other as cherished coworkers in achieving a goal. Where solidarity exists, social bonds are strong, mutual support is unreserved, and the exploitation of social bonds for private gain unthinkable. The position of the socialist is that solidarity is desired for the entire society not for just a part of it. Durkheim explained some of the sources of social solidarity. See Bonding.
Solidarity, Mechanical. A solidarity which arises when people eat, drink, worship or play together. Such solidarity can elicit cooperation between persons and groups who have little in common or even have, objectively, cause for conflict. Religion can bind people into mutually affirming relationships. It can also bind slaves and slavemasters together in common endeavor; can bind workers and owners together; can bind ethnic groups together and thus generate social peace. The marxist critique asks whether such forms of solidarity masks oppression or exploitation.
Solidarity, Organic. This solidarity is said to arise from a division of labor in which specialized workers in each occupation depend upon skilled workers in other occupations. Electricians, carpenters, plumbers, masons, and bankers are, all, involved in the construction of a home, office building or dam. Regardless of race, religion or ethnic loyalties, they respond to each other because they need each other to get the job done. Looking at the larger society, bankers, farmers, priests, police, clerks, teachers and industrial workers all do something the others need...or think they need. Durkheim argued that this kind of solidarity was proof of the super-organic nature of society and proof that mechanical solidarity alone was not sufficient to solve the problem of social order. The marxist critique rises the question of whether the organic whole which emerges from this division of labor is congenial to the human project understood as praxis [which see]. Both lambs and lions have organs which are functionally interdependent but which produce very different animals; the point is to look at the totality [see Lukács].
Species Being: This term means about the same as human being. The idea is that people do not automatically realize their being as a human species but rather have the potential to become human if they work hard at it.
Sports (Alienated): In the U.S., football, baseball, hockey, basketball and other sports become alienated work [rather than spontaneous enjoyment of physical grace] because players and fans are objectified, a small elite make a profit from them. Modern sports in advanced monopoly capitalist forms are responsible for hyper-competition, for authoritarian attitudes and while they convert spontaneous, sensuous play into a business. It turns men and women into sex objects and then uses sexual anxiety to sell products for more profit. It programs brutality and violence into the game in order to generate markets for the sport and for the products hustled between play. It takes the beauty, elegance, and creativity of a physical art form and commercializes it. That which was used to create community and promote praxis is, under its monopoly capital form, a business venture, a tax write-off, a means to extract more surplus value from those workers with money left after inflation, taxes, and credit payments.
Sports (and Sexism): Sports reproduces sexist relationships in a number of ways. It is used to generate all-male solidarities, women are used to recruit players, women are used to give a sexual flavor to activities surrounding a game, women gain the habit of finding identity and life through their menfolk, women learn to believe it right to be excluded from other "all-male" activities like politics, management, and war. (After Koch)
Sports, (ideology of): Commercial sports has the same characteristics of other cultural items produced as commodity in capitalism. As with medicine, prostitution, alcohol, housing or food, football is offered on the market for profit, players are treated as objectified capital to be bought, sold and depreciated. Fans are generated by appeal to a thin solidarity which stops at the ticket office. Women are used as sex objects to embellish the product. An elite controls production through laws enacted by friendly legislators. When laws fail, bribery, espionage, sabotage and conspiracy are used to control production just as in all capitalist activity. Football and other sports is assigned the impossible task of making up for oppressive, alienating work. "Thank God its Friday" and "Sure Happy its Thursday" leads into the second, happy half of life according to sports equipment advertizing. The socialist position is that sports and play should be enjoyed for their own intrinsic value, that everyone be able to participate and that it be part of community activity not market activity. Life is not to be divided into a dreary, oppressive part and a second, happy part.
Standpoint Epistemology, Feminist: This pathway to knowledge discards the method of successive approximations [which assumes there is one final truth which we can discover by zeroing in on it with ever better hypotheses and research designs]. Instead, Standpoint epistemology holds that the construction of knowledge requires many voices; especially those which have been marginalized by racism, sexism or class privilege. No one standpoint is given greater honor over others; together they give a rough understanding of the many ways to grasp the incredible complexity and ever-changing patterns of social life. Standpoint epistemology is activist in that, in the same moment it reveals a neglected or forgotten point of view, it empowers those excluded. Standpoint E. erases the artificial line between researcher and researched and puts them both on equal footing in the knowledge process. After Laurel Nichols.
State capitalism: A form of capitalism in which the state guarantees the markets and profits of capitalists by military bases overseas and by subsiding many of the costs of production. Corporate liberals like it since it solves problems of capital accumulation. Small businessmen and hard-hats don't like it since their taxes pay for such "welfare to the rich" and they benefit very little from it. Sometimes the economic system of the Soviet Union is called "state capitalism" as a term of contempt.
State, and Class Struggle: Many socialists see the state as always on the side of capital..even when it passes labor laws to protect workers from danger or long hours or unrestricted firing; or protects consumers from price-fixing and dangerous additives. Some say that the state can be made to work on behalf of the workers; that socialists should take state power and use it to build a democratic and communist society. Marx argued that state power would 'wither away' under a competent socialist government. Marx argued that one should retain the state to administer policy but that policy should be democratically determined. See below.
State, Theory of: The nation-state appeared with the rise of capitalism; state power was taken away from monarchs and feudal lords through a series of revolutions and located in Parliaments, Councils and Congresses. Nations exist through written contracts in which certain rights and responsibilities are set forth for both the state and for citizens of the state. There is a large number of International laws, adopted by the several nations, which further establish and regulate the authority of the state. Those on the Right and Left view it as a dangerous organ which intrudes and usurps personal rights and class interests.
The marxian theory of the state is that it is an organ created by a society for 1) the safeguarding of its general interests against internal and external threat and, 2) helping the capitalist class extract profit. After the state comes into being, it begins to make itself independent in regard to society. The more independent it becomes, the more it becomes the agent of a particular class. The fight against a ruling class (or bureaucratic elite: Trotsky) thus becomes a fight against the state and its police, hence treason. (After Engels.) For Marx and Engels, the state meant the machinery of coercion not of administration. Marx held that administrative government was necessary; the only question is how administration of health, education, labor and play is to take place under socialism, communism or anarchy.
State sector: Jim O'Connor says there are three economic sectors; monopoly, competitive and state. The state sector is that part of the economic institution which administers government policy, engages in lines of production unprofitable to the private sector (education, medical care, policing, and other labor intensive production), and which provides much of the overhead (water, sewage, transport, insurance, technical training as well as research and development) for capitalist enterprise. About one third of the work force, work is well paid, there is job security, good working conditions, advancement, equal opportunity and due process in most of the federal and in many state governments.
Statistical significance: The point at which a person is willing to infer a causal relationship between two or more variables using a variety of mathematical procedures (after Julie; an undergrad at U Colorado whose last name is lost). There are better sources for inference than numerical values but for large processes, numbers are often helpful in making the structural features of a society visible. But note that causal inference loses its power as dynamical regimes become more and more chaotic. See Chaos theory.
Story/story telling: An explanation or description of events which makes no claims of ultimate, exclusive truth but rather admits that the story is but the teller's view based upon his/her point of view. After Laurel Walum Richardson.
Stratification: A process by which some people in a society are channeled into an inferior (or superior) social positions; usually class, race and gender inequality. Such inferiority affects one's capacity to create culture and to enter into social relationships, thus diminishing the human potential of those at the bottom and at the top. Stratification is not to be conflated with Differentiation [which see]. Usually a stratification system requires those defined as inferior to produce items of material culture while the upper strata claim a monopoly over the production of political and ideological culture. Stratification systems also funnel wealth and power to the top of a hierarchy. Some may say stratification is necessary (functional), others say that it is a structure of domination and only necessary if one group is to be exploited by another. Some say stratification is natural since some animal societies are stratified. However, human biology may well be qualitatively different from those animals used as example; baboons, hyenas, cattle, chickens and such.
Marx emphasized class stratification while Weber added the strata of power and social honor as very important separate stratification systems. Trotsky and C. Wright Mills viewed the stratification to be comprised of elites and masses. Mills identified three dominant elites: big business, big government and big military. Others add several more: big unions, major universities, several popular ministers as well as some sports stars and movie stars. There is now a global stratification in which some seven nations regulate the political economy of the world [see Group of Seven].
Structure/Structuralism: In linguistics and modernistic social sciences, the term refers to a belief that all systems or institutions (e.g., art, literature, psychology, religion, sports) are constituted by basic, essential, structural conditions of fixity and absoluteness. When these foundational conditions or "deep structures" are positively identified and encoded in science talk, they promote a certain ordering of the universe; they are used as proof that all objects and events in the cosmos are essentially discoverable, reducible to numbers, equations and formal theories. Language, then, is the vehicle through which the structuring of the universe is ascertained and made manifest in modern science. Postmodernists look at the words/terms/signs used to encode these 'structures' to find what is omitted and excluded by their use. Chaos theory suggests that such structures are at best fuzzy, open, changing and deeply connected to other such 'strange' structures. Do see Poststructuralism.
Structural analysis: A perspective in sociology in which it is thought that social structures mediate behavior; e.g., the class structure, the normative structure, the racist, sexist, and authority structure. Such structures are highly regular patterns of behavior generated by systems of coercion or social control rather than judgment, interaction, and democratic self-government. The interactionist view is that insightful human behavior creates the norms, classes, roles and other social forms. The first view is anti-humanist in that the role of the creative human is minimized. Most conservatives (and order theorists) hold that social structures, are (and should be) hard to change (i.e., the % rule in parliamentary procedure or the strict enforcement of rules in school and factory). The latter view (symbolic interaction) is often a highly romanticized view of social reality. Most liberal theorists are Anglo, middle class and can see that they have some control over the regularities in their own lives. However, interactionism ignores the coercive means and other techniques used to defeat insight, judgment, reflection, and mutual influence in the market place, at school, in the shop and in the home.
Structural-functionalism: A sociological perspective that emphasizes order, harmony and cooperation between the various segments of society. Functionalists assume that all of the various parts (structures) of society are more or less necessary, and that the continued well-being of society depends upon the harmonious integration of all these parts--each part must contribute its special goods/services. Radicals see this as implicit endorsement of the status quo, and therefore inherently conservative.
There are other views of what society is and how it works. For instance, Marxists are conflict theorists; they look at society and see conflict and struggle rather than order, harmony, cooperation and integration, From a structural functionalist position, crime is necessary. Marxists hold that crime consists of behavior which destroys community, culture, or praxis and is not necessarily functional.
Subject, decentered: A concept put forth by Lacan and others that the social self as subject and agent of his/her own behavior is minimized by the larger social categories of which he/she is part. Modern social psychology attributes too much agency and 'beingness' to persons and thus undermines the quest for social justice and agency. The postmodern view of self challenges the mainstream (modernist) Cartesian notion which holds that individuals are purposeful, rational, stable, active. This view is contained in Descartes's famous dictum: cogito ergo sum. Language forms, in racist, sexist or elitist societies, shapes and pre-shapes the behavior of the individual; emancipation requires new 'grammars' with which to empower and to engage human agency rather than those now used which categorize, label and de-individuate the human being. Lacan used the $ sign [an 'S' for subject with a slash through it, for negation] to refer to the person who is alienated from his/her own knowledge and desires. See Discourse, Lacan's four.
Subjectivity: 1) a personal point of view seen to be partial and distorted when compared to objectivity [see which], an impersonal and more accurate view of nature or society. 2) postmodernists use the term to warn one away from treating a person as 'subject;' that is, as the sole author of his/her own beliefs, intentions, actions or understandings. The acting subject is lost in an age of images, appearances, simulations and dramaturgical enactments. It is also lost in a bureaucratic, elitist social form since agency is concentrated in top echelons. The subject is thus a fiction for which no stable original 'real self' exists in postmodern thinking.
Substantive rationality: A system of planning or decision making which considers goals as well as means. In Weber's work, bureaucracies are said to be rational in technical terms, that is, bureaucracy is a rational means to achieve goals. However, those goals may be decidedly elitist and destructive. Weber wanted to encourage people to be less innocence about the desirability of rationality which had, since the Enlightenment, been the center point of all knowledge processes. In socialist theory, substantive rationality means organizing capital and labor to produce the material conditions under which people can create themselves as human beings in collective and democratic political dialogue.
Superstructure: That part of a social life world shaped by the base [means of production]. It includes art, science, music, politics, law, cinema, literature and religion. Marx held that the ways in which people relate to each other in the production of material culture (the base) affects the ways of thinking, feeling, and behaving of people (their consciousness). This consciousness shapes the superstructure; art, science, music, family, literature, ideology and religion and politics. Marx held the material base to be determinate of the superstructure while Max Weber argued that the superstructure (e.g., the Protestant ethic) shaped the base (i.e. the capitalist system).
Postmodern sensibility and symbolic interaction theory views the dichotomy is false; ideas are always central to human behavior and, at points in the historical process, produce great change. Then too, law, religion, and science are also productive processes. The product is ideological and political culture and are just as important as material culture.
Surplus Labor: In Grundrisse, Marx asserted that capitalism creates a work ethic of strict discipline and industriousness which, when mere subsistence needs are satisfied, is surplus. This surplus labor is a major cause of the collapse of capitalism. When people have time, energy, and such an ethic, they begin to fight for their full humanity; against domination, against repressed sensuality, against stupid performance and stupid products. In vulgar Marxism, people are thought to revolt when material conditions are bad; in this analysis, revolt occurs when people have the material resources to assert their humanity. The implication is that the new working class of alienated professionals and technicians also are a revolutionary base; perhaps more so than the blue collar worker.
Surplus population: All those defined as surplus to the production of culture. In capitalism, those surplus to the manpower needs of capital intensive production. The dynamics of capitalism produce a surplus population since one way to increase profits is to replace workers with machines. Machines don't get pregnant, have hangovers, go on strike, appeal to one's humanity, talk back, require pensions, or fall in love. People do and so reduce profits. And without employment, people are irrelevant to the exchange process. In capitalism only those with money are accorded status in the exchange process and the rest are surplus. This is probably the most important concept in marxist theory along with, perhaps, community and praxis. The surplus population includes the poor, the unemployed, older persons, children without families, prisoners, and the idle rich.
Symbols sets: People have four sets of symbols with which they can help define a situation and construct a social-life world, 1) voiced symbols which use some eight variables upon which to encode meaning [tone, pitch, volume, pace and such]; 2) face and body talk; hands, face, legs, and eyes are used extensively to transmit information; 3) clothing and body decorations are used to denote gender, age, authority and other background information and 4) props such as keys, clip-boards, guns and such. These are all personal media and cannot easily be alienated. Compare to mass media which is, in its format, alienating.
Symbolic Interaction: A very complex process by which ideas are converted into social facts. In a 'self-fulfilling prophecy, the prophecy contains the idea of the role, the occasion or the social institution under construction. Then, through a remarkable process using words, gestures, clothing, equipment and architecture forms of social reality are constructed by some set of persons. This view of reality formation contrasts to theories which locate human behavior in genes or purely psychological processes. It also calls into question the idea that forms of social reality exist independently of the people who construct them anew in each marriage, church service, class, or business act.
Systematically Distorted Communication: In Habermas, the barriers to a communication which produces normative behavior are usually subjected to scrutiny and reduction through "discourse", as special kind of conversation about things we ordinarily assume. But some social world-view prevent discourse and thus distort communication. When communication is distorted, human behavior ceases to be free and uncoerced. Elitism and mass media as they are organized do not permit discourse. Rules about secrecy, about authority, about expertise all protect the implicit validity claims of one party to be called into question.
Taylorism: A system by which a clear-cut division of mental and physical labor
is established throughout a factory. It is based on the precise time and motion analysis
of each job in isolation and relegates the entire mental part of the task to the
managerial staff (From Taylor). Bear in mind the marxian position that the production of
culture requires the unity of mental and physical labor and you will understand why
socialists cannot abide by taylorism and/or scientific management which claims a monopoly
over thinking for management.
Techne: The application of scientific principles to the production of material items. In ancient Greece, techne was the activity of women and slaves and involved the satisfaction of mere physical needs using mere technical knowledge while praxis was concerned with civil matters and the activity of humans quo human beings and relied upon wisdom and judgment. Theoria dealt with the eternal truths and was the province of the gods but, the thought is, theory can be revealed by a variety of methods all involving escape from the things of the flesh and things of the world.
Technocracy: The rule by experts; engineers, scientists and specialists. The role and function of the politician is preempted by the expert. In the 30's, many workers thought that technocracy would be better than the elitist version of politics which everywhere thrived. The thought is that there is a natural division of labor and that the experts should make decisions since they alone know what is right and natural. But the use of experts to determine foreign policy, manage workers, generate publics and set medical policy strips away important social values; praxis and community. In a well designed society, the knowledge process would be widely available such that professionals and lay persons would share the research process as well as decisions about how to use knowledge gained from it. Under capitalism (and bureaucratic socialism), knowledge and technology become instruments of domination and contribute to the growth of the surplus population. See also techne and technology.
Technology: Social knowledge objectified in the form of machines and routines. Any system for the transformation of natural material into cultural goods and services. In systems theory, a means of segregating entropy.
Teleology: A view that all systems have a natural destiny. The acorn is destined to become an oak tree; a nation is destined to kill off Native American Indians and take possession of the land from sea to shining sea; a person has a natural destiny which can be known by I.Q. tests, Aptitude tests and Preference tests. Chaos theory and postmodern philosophy of science sets this idea aside as of limited validity. As Steven Jay Gould pointed out, organic evolution could have taken any number of paths at a great many points in the history of the earth; it was by no means certain that human beings would evolve nor is it certain that they will survive in the present form.
Terrorism: Terrorism refers to the illegitimate use of force by those who oppose existing social, political or economic arrangements. As such it has a built-in conservative bias since the terrorists who take state power are later defined by their own historians as freedom fighters or progressives. The IRA is a case in point; they stay together, claim responsibility [so the British will know that resistance to their control Northern Ireland is still opposed], and are given such tasks over and over again until one or more are caught. There are three views/definitions of terrorism the student should know/consider; first there is the idea that terrorists are organized into small, secret cells and are given orders via a 'cutout' from those who hire/use them. Then there is the idea that modern terrorists are assembled to engineer a given act of murder or bombing and then quickly disperse back to their country(s) of origin. They seldom claim responsibility and often try to blame other groups. Thirdly, terrorism in Algeria under the French had the goal of destroying the false peace between the French Army and the mass of Algerians: first the act of terror against the Army; then greater repression by the Army; then finally, a general uprising. The process worked well in Algeria but might not succeed well elsewhere. See Sorel, Georges.
Text: A postmodern term which treats all theories, all events, all persons, places or things as a special construction in a special socio-cultural world. Everything is text including this definition of text. See simulacrum.
Theology, feminist: Feminist theology is complex and varies widely across theologians but generally accepts there was a time when major gods were female; as such they were nourishing, caring, compassionate and mothering. With settled agriculture; especially irrigation, male gods replaced female gods; they became controlling, angry, punitive and jealous of other gods. Zeus, Jehovah and Elihu were the first such male gods.
Theology, Liberation: This theology was developed by worker-priests in Latin America and from France, Italy, Spain and later Argentina in dialogue with marxists. It holds that announcing the Gospel is not merely a matter of preaching the word to individuals but rather the church is obliged to work toward both liberation and salvation. Liberation in the world means opposition to "structural sin" which plagues this world. There is still concern for personal sin which threatens salvation in the sacred realm. Those priests who embrace this theology enter the world as social critics who attempt to identify structural sin and trace that sin to its sources. The working assumption is that since all people are brothers and sisters in the sight of God, all enjoy an equal and inviolable dignity while alive. This reasoning calls all class, power and honorific relations into question and tends to lead to democratic and communistic social organizations. (After Dodson)
Theology, Postmodern. There are two major postmodern views on religion: affirmative and nihilistic. Both forms of postmodern theology hold that the god concept is a human product rather than a supernatural being who created the universe and who gives all natural and social laws. Durkheim argued that the experience of extra-ordinary effects occur during religious activity and is taken to be proof of supernatural beings. It is, he says, these effects of special acts and psychogens which produce feelings of ecstasy and visions of the past and future which are, in turn, viewed as proof of the existence of a supernatural world; theism is completely natural in this account. Nihilistic postmodern views argue that since God is dead/non-existence, each person has an equal right to claim or do what s/he believes best for him/her. Since there is no final authority nor any firm anchor point for moral/ethical behavior, one can do as one wishes. Affirmative Postmodern theology asserts that, even without the god concept to endorse them, there are good reasons to act ethically and to embody many of the teachings of great spiritual leaders. Young argues that dramas of the Holy are progressive when they sanctify people to each other and to the good earth. The political question then revolves around the ways those who use different dramas of the Holy are treated. Liberation theology requires these be respected and honored in their own right. See Humanism/socialist humanism.
Theory, (Theory of): It would not seem necessary to spend time thinking about a theory of theory or about a theory of methodology but, as it turns out, some important things happen in the name of theory and some in the absence of theory. In brief, the marxian perspective is that the realm of ideas (theory included) does not become a material force until an idea (or theory) is apprehended by insightful knowing humans and translated into overt behavior. This contrasts with idealism and mysticism in which the realm of ideas have a life and a causal effect apart from actions of intending humans. The famous 11th thesis embodies the point. Ideas themselves do have a part to play in social revolution but will not by themselves move the world one stop closer to a decent society.
Third World: Those states which are neither capitalist (first world) or socialist (second world). Including all of Africa except Rhodesia and the Union of South Africa, all of Latin America except Cuba, most of the Near East, Mid East and Far East countries as well as South East Asia. The third world is a prize for capitalist countries: cheap and docile labor, access to markets, and availability of raw materials. In order to guarantee control of third world nations, the national bourgeoisie is invited to share part of the profits, politicians are subsidized by the multinational corporation, military bases are established and the local military is well supplied and trained in the capitalist country. In order to control the class struggle and socialist agitation, right-wing dictatorships have arisen, sponsored mostly by the U.S. They combine massive political oppression with openness to foreign investment. The best examples are Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Indonesia, Greece, South Korea and Taiwan.
Total institution: A form of social organization in which one's behavior is prescribed in minute detail; in which one is treated en bloc rather than as an individual; in which one and only one social identity is permitted; and one in which one is socialized (or resocialized) to do difficult or dangerous work apart from material rewards. Some total institutions are mere holding tanks for the refuse of a poorly designed society: prisons, asylums, orphanages and such.
Totality: According to Lukács, bourgeois science could not be a critical science since it takes the viewpoint of the individual (or a sample of individuals) and ignores the "totality" which gives meaning to individual acts. In order to understand poverty, one must understand the whole system. The term totality refers to the whole system which operates to produce the phenomena found within it. (After Lasek).
Totalizing: A postmodern term referring to theories which offer a way of understanding everything and which, thus rejects other ways to understand and respond to events in the world. Thus marxist theory, the Christian Bible, Islamic theology and Structural-functionalism are totalizing and are to be suspected. See Narrative.
Transpraxis: This is a concept developed by Fredrich Nietzsche and his criticism of Hegel's master-slave dichotomy. Nietzsche argued that when a person or group reacts to hierarchical power relations and repudiates them, there is often an affirmation of a negation. In the process of negation, relations of production are reconstituted. For example: children who are bullied by other older children attempt to neutralize the power of the bullies by soliciting the help of their even older siblings. In so doing, the nature of the struggle (kids using power on one another) has not been altered.
Transpraxis is an affirmative attempt to liberate the subject from the imprisonment of language/thought/habits precisely during those moments when there is reaction to oppression. The goal is not to reverse the hierarchies (other children now in control of bullies); rather, that which is resisted is the hierarchy itself (good/bad; objective/subjective; white/black). If successful, transpraxis is the vehicle by which to effect a more humanistic and just social order. It validates multiplicity, difference, and diversity without privileging any one form of multiplicity, difference, or diversity.
Trope: Heading. Postmodernists use the concept to refer to the practice of treating personal opinion or cultural uses as if they were eternal and objective categories of existence.
Truth: Anglo-Saxon: treowth = fidelity. In modern science, the term refers to the goodness of fit between a set of words and the reality which it purports to describe, explain or predict. In this knowledge process, truth mirrors/corresponds to reality. In analytic logic, truth is a set of coherent propositions. In pragmaticism, truth resides in the efficacy of a statement; its usefulness in solving some problem. In semantic theories of truth, truth is a set of statements [a meta-language] which is based upon statements from everyday language. In postmodern sensibility, truth is a social product; things defined as true may in fact become true if people believe and act in way compatible with the definition of the situation. The assumptions of correspondence and coherence do not fit the nonlinear dynamics revealed in Chaos/complexity research. Postmodern philosophy of science grounded on nonlinearity argues that truth is complex, contrary and changeable depending upon both natural and social dynamics; one then speaks of fractal truth values and contingent truth claims. (See WL Reese for a detailed list of views about truth)
Underclass: Those persons in a racist, sexist or class society which are not
needed or wanted in the production of political and ideological culture. Often they are
confined to the production of material wealth [to be used by the privileged] but, in
advanced monopoly capitalism, the underclass is entirely surplus to the production needs
of industry and commerce. For them, birth control, abortion, abstinence and other
population limiting practices are encouraged. In racist societies, genocide is used; in
some sexist societies, female infanticide is practiced in order to remove those defined as
surplus. See Over-population.
Unemployment: The term given to the inability or refusal of workers to find work. Unemployment may be cyclical, seasonal or frictional. Cyclical unemployment comes with the ups and downs of capitalism [see Kondratieff cycles]; Seasonal unemployment varies with climate; Frictional unemployment refers to the time lag between increase in demand and the renewal of actual production. Usually it is a produce to the economic system at hand; it is not found in any other economic system other than capitalism. Marx argued, powerfully, that long term unemployment is a result of the replacement of workers [labor power] with machines [organic capital]. He argued as well that capitalism needs a Reserve Army of Workers in order to keep wages down and profits up. See Disemployment.
Underground structures: a forbidden way of life with low visibility. Economic, political, religious or sexual forms of behavior which are contrary to the normative way of behaving often appear in repressive societies; they vary from liberation movements in elitist societies to elitist movements in democratic countries.
Validity Claims: In Habermas, there are four things we assume when we talk to
someone: 1) That any utterance can be understood by both (all) parties, 2) That its
propositional content is true. (It's not a lie or mistake), 3) That the speaker is sincere
in uttering it and, 4) That the speaker has a right to be talking. When there is some
reason to doubt one of these implicit claims, we assume that the speaker can be called
into account. However there are obstacles to accountability which invalidate the
assumption. See his theory of systematically distorted communication.
Value, (Labor Theory of): Marx emphasized the role of human labor as the sole creator of value. Use value and exchange value of all commodities (including labor itself) is determined by the labor time required to produce them (Grundrisse). There are two main criticisms of this theory: (1 ) that price is set by supply and demand, not labor time and (2) that capital goods create value apart from the labor of workers. The first argument is irrelevant since Marx was discussing value not price; the second argument is obtuse since Marx' point was to stress that it is through labor that humans create their cultural environment. This the case, capitalism becomes a barrier to value as the surplus population develops (After Leslie Brown).
One should remember that a dollar is a dollar only if someone else is willing to work in exchange for it. All exchange value comes, in the last analysis from the willingness of someone to do useful work for another person. See also use value.
Value, Postmodern view of. The main point made in postmodern economic theory here is that art, music, cinema and scripts are used together in advertizing to create a 'hyper-text' in which the value of a commodity is artificially enhanced by borrowing on the art and craft of singers, sports stars, esteemed persons and deep anxieties in order to create layer after layer of 'false needs.' In such a world, value and price bears little relationship to use value, which see. Both use value and exchange value are displaced by the use of psychology, sociology, mass communications and dramaturgy to create false needs [Marcuse].
Value, surplus: That which is left after the costs of production are meet. These costs are land, labor, capital goods and safe disposal of by-products. Capitalists set prices anywhere from 5 to 15% [sometimes very much more] above these unavoidable costs. This is called the 'profit margin.' The economic question is how to use it; some part could to go to basic research and development of better goods and equipment, some could to go to those who have special merit in the productive process [inventors, skilled reliable workers, effective administrators and such], some could be used for low profit essential services and some could go to those who 'own' the stocks of the company. The political question is always how much to what/whom.
Value, use: Anything that satisfies a human want, desire, need or anxiety. Marx held that use value varied dramatically between people and cultures so one needed to dig deeper to get at the final source of value; he said it was to be found in Labor Value, the labor that is invested in producing it. See above.
Violence, gender: The gender division of labor gives men the moral right to use force to obtain compliance from the women in their lives. There are three major situations in which men assume they have the right to beat women: 1) when sexual favors are denied, 2) when domestic services are withheld, and 3) when women do not use language forms which embody deference and obedience to men. Most feminists hold that rape is a more social control tactic.
Voice/voices: Postmodernists use the term to refer to the person who tells a story or offers a theory; the focus is on the voice of the teller rather than the content of the story. The term also points to those whose stories are omitted in the telling of a story. See Gilligan, Carol for views on moral development which excludes the voices of women in setting standards for morality.
Vulgar Marxism: A term used by Lenin and others to heap contempt on those who used Marx for the only and final arbiter in every dispute over policy. Also used to refer to those who do not include the early Marx in policy discussion. They use it to reject the assumption that the means of production [the base] is every where and always determinative of culture [the superstructure]. Engels used the term to refer to those who try to use natural law to explain social behavior; for example, that human thought is a secretion of the brain or that human beings are atoms which bind together through force. See Weber, Early Marx.
Wage Labor: A term used by Marx to describe the fact that capitalism converts
labor from the human activity of producing culture into a commodity. The price of
commodity labor is called wages. In a capitalist system, people have only labor power to
sell to get the necessities of life. Wages are set by demand and supply but can be reduced
to below the level required for reproducing the labor force by cooperation among
capitalists and enforced competition between workers; by recruiting from underdeveloped
nations and by a large surplus population. It is increased by unions, by internationalism
and/ or by welfare programs. There are parallel economic systems used by people to
'reunite production and distribution' outside of capitalist logic. See Economic Systems,
Wages, Iron Law of: An idea credited to T. R. Malthus [whom see] which held that wages tend to oscillate around bare subsistence. This is true, Malthus said, since if wages are higher, people have more children and the labor pool will increase driving down wages. Lasalle used the argument against raising wages; Marx used it against the capitalist system. The law is falsified by the fact that if women receive education and work, they limit the number of children they bear.
Wages, Real Your real wage is what your money can buy; not the number of dollars you are paid. When taxes increase or firms raise prices, your real wage can go down even if you are making more dollars. Real wages increased in the U.S. for most people since 1940 but have declined in the past two years (1977). One must watch this trend closely-capitalist economists think it can be reversed, marxist economists think not.
War, Sociology of: War is the organizes use of force against another people or nation. There have been several varieties of such warfare in human history:
1) Predatory warfare in which one tribe or band attacks another in order to steal herds, tools, weapons or take slave as in the Viking raids along England and France.
2) Wars for colonial empire in which one people invades and imposes an exploitive system on a people; the Persian empire, the Roman Empire, the Incan Empire and the British Empire are examples. Rule is indirect through governors.
3) Wars of feudal conquest in which one petty noble conquers and rules several other 'kingdoms' in an area. Charlemagne consolidated the petty states of France into empire in the 11th century. Rule is direct through succession by birth.
4. Wars of bourgeois revolution in which the middle classes overthrow the nobility and take state power as in England, France, the Americas and elsewhere.
5) Wars of Capitalist Expansion. World Wars I & 11 can be understood as wars between capitalist states as each tried to solve its own problems of surplus population and crises at the expense of other states.
6) Wars of socialist liberation in which there is an attempt to overthrow the capitalist/feudal state and take power on behalf of workers as in Russia (1917), China (1949), Cuba, (1959) and Nicaragua (1979). But see Crusades.
7) Ethnic/Identity wars. These arise when times get bad and competition for scarce goods becomes bitter. At such times, the 'struggle of existence' becomes reduced to individuals, families, tribes, ethnic groups and other such narrow groundings for identity. Racism and nationalism tends to flare and gender politics become more brutal. In massified industrial societies, the social base for self becomes eroded; people look for new sources of self; some of which are more encompassing--some of which are less.
8) The current set of wars involving the UN forces are Wars of Capitalist Consolidation.
Globalized Capitalism can brook no interference with the free flow of raw materials (oil is the exemplar); with the free flow of goods and with the free flow of profits. Hence the Group of 7 orchestrate the use of military force to put down all other kinds of war above.
War, Theory of: From a socialist perspective, war is best understood as the extraction of value from another people by military force. Marx' theory of war sets basic conflicts over the means of production as center-point. There are different conflicts between differing groups in different political economies: in primitive economies, one tribe wars with another over land, water and herds. In slavery, armed groups from one country enslave captives; in Feudalism, one Prince will try to conquer another prince and expand both land and subjects from which tribute/taxes can be extracted. In capitalist societies, the basic conflict between nations is over markets, raw materials and access to cheap labor. Socialist distinguish between unjust wars, above, and just wars. Generally any war to liberate people or nations from domination is just. See Passive Resistance.
Wizard of Oz: A children's story wherein the problems of capitalism are set forth in allegorical fashion and the objectives of socialist revolution are personified by the characters of Dorothy (the search for social relatedness), the Tinman (a quest for love and compassion), the lion (a search for courage and dignity), and the Strawman (who sought insight, understanding and wisdom). The Wicked Witch of the East was meant to be capitalism; the yellow brick road was meant to symbolize the gold standard and tight money policies; the silver slippers (not ruby) were symbolic of loose money policy and The Wizard of Oz symbolized any humbug of a politician who could only give the people what the people could produce themselves.
Working Class: Those who have only their labor power to sell; those who produce wealth in industry, agriculture, mining, milling, fishing, transport, communications and forestry. Included are white collar people who perform essential services [but not on behalf of the capitalist class] such as nurses, doctors, engineers, teachers and inventors. Sometimes artists, musicians, painters, dramatists, poets and architects are included when they produce emancipatory art otherwise they are bourgeois functionaries. The point of authentically socialist revolution is to transform the working class into the architect and agent of general social policy.
Writerly: From scriptible, a French term which holds that a theory, play, story or myth is re-written each time it is told. This a subversive approach to reading a text. It legitimates a multitude of interpretations which validate a variety of truths and of knowledges. Unlike the readerly approach which tends toward freezing a text, the writerly approach resists official interpretations and a finished product. The underlying structure of signification, of meaning, are unearthed. The text contains an explosion and scattering of meanings. Rather than privileging one meaning, one voice, through the text, the reader/viewer is encouraged to discover the multiple and repressed voices embedded in the words. Familiarity and coherence, cornerstones of the readerly approach, are resisted and supplanted with displacement and ambivalence. It is also an active reconstruction of alternative truths, replacement of ways of knowing.
X Y Z
Xenophobia: Fear of strangers. The questions of who is a 'stranger' and what is
to be feared are important to conflict theory and to the quest for social justice.
Yankee-Cowboy thesis: A view that American capitalists are split into two segments as a result of government expenditures. These expenditures have created a new elite with different interests and policies from the corporate liberals of the East. The "cowboys" benefit from government contracts in defense, aerospace, and electronic industry. They are said to favor more violent, police state tactics in dealing with foreign and/or domestic opposition to capitalism. The underlying question is: "Is the ruling class split and engaged in mutual destruction or are the differences in interest and policy contained such that capitalism still rules America?"
Youth, Sociology of: The discipline which studies the ways in which persons are placed into and removed from age grades between birth through age 18. It deals with differences in socialization of boys and girls, patterns of authority and resistance to authority of parents; the character of the parenting process as well as who and how many are involved in parenting. Generally, individuals are accepted into a family or tribe or society when they go through a rite of passage in which they are given both name and status in a social base as a legal child in a family. If not, the infant is a non-person and may be killed, made ward of a court or adopted out to another parent. After passage into a social base, the young person is put through a rather long socialization process at the end of which, usually, s/he goes through another rite of passage and is accorded full adult status. See Age grades for more; see Majority for the displacement of rites of passage by law.
Z theory: A form of management in which workers are involved in the work process on the factory floor. Schedules, division of labor, work assignments, and other aspects of the labor process are given over to workers to do as they see best. Investment policies, wages, fringe benefits and kind of product are not given over to workers to decide; only how best to do that decided by top management. See Democratic self-management.