Sage Publications by alicejenny


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          CADRE       Generally the term denotes a                CAPITALISM         The term denotes that
          small permanent core of soldiers or officials           economic system in which goods are pro-
          that can be expanded as necessary. Specifically         duced for profit (rather than one’s own imme-
          it was used to denote elite groups within ruling        diate use) and sold (rather than bartered) in a
          communist parties.                                      free market (rather than one in which the
                                                                  government regulates prices and the right to
                                                                  sell). Capitalism is further distinguished from
          CALVINISM       As a result of the Reformation          previous economic systems such as feudalism
          in the 16th century, the western Christian              in that there is an at-least-hypothetically-free
          Church divided in two. The part which con-              market in labour, which is bought and sold
          tinued to accept the authority of the Pope              like any other commodity. Workers in capital-
          of Rome we now call the Roman Catholic                  ism are free to sell their labour to the highest
          Church; the rest is Protestantism, which is             bidder rather than being themselves the prop-
          itself divided into a number of significantly           erty of a feudal lord or slave master. In a capi-
          different streams with an enormous variety              talist economy the means of production are
          of churches, sect and denominations within              privately owned and are typically concen-
          each. Calvinism is the ascetic strand of                trated in the hands of a small capitalist class.
          Protestant thought based on the teachings of                Marxists believe that conflict is an essen-
          the French reformer John Calvin (1509–64).              tial feature of capitalist economies because
          That this version of Christianity became                the capitalists exploit the workers by paying
          influential in Holland, Britain and the                 their employees less than the value they pro-
          American colonies (the heart of the develop-            duce. Marxists also hold that capitalism is
          ment of the modern economic system)                     essentially unstable. Karl Marx mistakenly
          explains why Max Weber suspected the rela-              believed that, owing to competition between
          tionship he elaborated in his writing on the            manufacturers, capitalists would have to
          Protestant Ethic thesis.                                steadily increase the extent to which they
                                                                  exploited their workers and that eventually
          CAPITAL      In its general sense, capital is any       the workers would revolt. The ‘contradic-
          asset, financial or otherwise, that is itself a         tions of capitalism’ would eventually lead to
          source of income or can be used to produce              its overthrow and replacement by socialism,
          income. For example, manufacturing equip-               an economic system in which the means of
          ment would be a part of an industrialist’s              production would be communally owned.
          capital. In mainstream economic theory, cap-                In fact no capitalist economy has ever
          ital is one of the four means of production,            been entirely free of government interven-
          along with land, labour and raw materials.              tion. In times of crisis, such as the rationing
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        capitalism, transformations of                                               capitalism, transformations of

        associated with wartime shortages, the state            these changing patterns of ownership make
        has assumed control of whole sections of the            much difference to the behaviour of capital is
        market and even in peace-time the govern-               unclear. Individual capitalists may have lost
        ments of most western states have regulated             some ownership to institutional share-holders
        parts of the economy through, for example,              but, provided enterprises remain profitable,
        selective taxation and the provision of unem-           institutional owners tend not to interfere in
        ployment benefit. At the other extreme to               the running of enterprises. That is, the owner-
        Marxist commentators, some right-wing                   ship of capital may have been enormously
        reformers argue that many socio-economic                broadened but control of it has not been.
        problems arise because contemporary soci-                   The second major change is the managerial
        eties are not capitalistic enough.                      revolution: most commercial and productive
                                                                enterprises are no longer run by the people
                                                                who own them but by professional managers,
        CAPITALISM , TRANSFORMATIONS OF Karl                    hired for their expertise in management.
        Marx’s predictions for the future transforma-           Again this change may be less significant than
        tion of capitalism proved entirely wrong.               it seems for sociologists’ continued identifica-
        Where some form of socialist economy was                tion of a capitalist class because the most
        established (as in Russia in 1917, and subse-           senior managers are normally rewarded in part
        quently in the USSR’s post-Second World                 with shares in the enterprises they manage.
        War/empire, and in China after 1949) it was in          Thus their interests turn out to be rather sim-
        marginally capitalist economies that lacked             ilar to those of the owners.
        most of the features of the Marxist model and               The third change is the globalisation of cap-
        the shift resulted from forced political change,        ital. Over the first half of the 20th century,
        not from the internal contradictions of the             firms became larger as local companies were
        economy. The mature capitalist economies                bought up or merged into national companies;
        that Marx studied proved remarkably robust.             in the second half of the century many national
        Far from being ‘immiserated’ (i.e. made more            companies became international. The ending of
        miserable) their working classes prospered              national restrictions on the movement of capi-
        and it was the socialist economies of commu-            tal and the creation of international markets in
        nist eastern Europe that were undermined                goods and services have allowed the growth of
        because of their failure to satisfy the economic        companies that now have a turnover greater
        aspirations of their people.                            than the gross domestic product of many small
           The main changes in capitalism have been             countries. This has given large companies an
        the diffusion of capital, the division between          unprecedented freedom from government reg-
        ownership and control, and the globalisation            ulation in that they are able to switch opera-
        of capital. The creation of the joint-stock             tions from country to country in search of the
        company and the evolution of financial                  most favourable operating environment.
        markets have given a large proportion of the            Capitalism is no longer simply a national-level
        population a small capital stake. Insurance             phenomenon and national transformations of
        companies, banks, pension funds and building            capitalism seem no longer on the cards.
        societies (in the USA, savings and loan com-                This final change potentially has enor-
        panies) invest savers’ funds in the stock               mous consequences for sociology in that it
        market and spread ownership. Increasingly               challenges the importance of the state as well
        those who own large amounts of capital no               as the sociological assumption that societies
        longer, as their grandparents did, invest it in         are national societies.
        the family enterprise but spread it thinly
        around a large number of enterprises. Whether                                          See globalisation.

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          cargo cult                                                                                        caste

          CARGO CULT         In the modern colonial era,          contract. One process seems wholly mechan-
          Melanesia saw the periodic outbursts of a vari-         ical while the other crosses from the mind to
          ety of millenarian movements which com-                 the body. Descartes was fascinated by this
          bined elements of indigenous and western                mind/body interaction and speculated about
          beliefs into a view that religious rituals would        where in the body this interaction might take
          persuade the gods to deliver to the natives the         place.
          ‘cargo’ that the white man had stolen. The                 It is clear that Descartes’s understanding
          cargo cults would often promote ritualistic             of this process must be wrong; our con-
          imitations of western behaviour (e.g. clearing          sciousness must somehow arise from our
          ground for airstrips and making imitation               body rather than sitting in some parallel
          radios). Worse, many added the belief that              dimension giving it orders. All the same, four
          placing oneself entirely at the mercy of the            hundred years on, we are still not much fur-
          gods (by, for example, burning houses and               ther advanced in our understanding than
          destroying cattle and grain stores) would has-          he was. Descartes’s account also corresponds
          ten the delivery of the cargo. As local people          well with commonsense western experience
          came to understand western technology bet-              of the mind and body. For many everyday
          ter, such cults became less common.                     purposes, we feel ourselves to be ghosts in
                                                                  the machines of our bodies. Given sociol-
                                                                  ogy’s concerns with people’s motives and
          CARNIVAL       Carnivals are major annual fes-          intentions, sociology recurrently throws up
          tivities commonly occurring in Catholic                 the mind/body problem anew.
          countries in the week before Lent. Surpluses
          saved up during the year are extravagantly
          consumed before the period of 40 weekdays               CASTE      As a system of social stratification,
          of fasting, commencing on Ash Wednesday,                caste differs from class in its rigidity and in
          during which Christians prepare themselves              the basis of legitimation. Membership of
          for the Easter celebrations of Christ having            castes is ascribed rather than achieved and
          risen from the dead. Common features                    social contact between castes is heavily con-
          of such events are playful symbolic reversals           strained and ritualised. The exemplar is
          of social roles and a temporary relaxation of           India. Although Hindu castes are described
          sexual mores.                                           as occupational groupings, the basis is reli-
                                                                  gious. Castes are held to differ in degrees
                                             See Bakhtin.         of ritual purity. The highest castes are the
                                                                  priestly Brahmins (the ‘twice-born’) and the
                                                                  Kashatriyas: originally the warrior caste but
          CARTESIAN       Cartesianism refers to the              now including major landowners. Next
          system of thought associated with the French            comes the Vaishyas (or business people) and
          philosopher and mathematician René                      the Sudras (or workers). Finally, and outside
          Descartes (1596–1650). Of most relevance                this structure, are the Harijans (or untouch-
          to social science is his pioneering work on             ables), also known as Dalits, who perform
          the ‘mind/body’ problem. Descartes saw                  the most menial and degrading jobs and who
          that there was a problem in understanding               are considered ritually impure. Within each
          human action of the following sort: we can              of these broad divisions are innumerable
          comprehend how a person moves a hand by                 smaller jati (or species or breeds) made up of
          contracting muscles in the arm, but we cannot           specific regional or occupational groups.
          understand in the same way how the wish                    Caste does not allow for individual social
          to move the hand leads the arm-muscles to               mobility; it is fixed because it is congenital.

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        castells, manuel (1942–)                                                   causation, causal relationship

        Personal achievement will not change caste            engage in what is depicted. The difficulties of
        position and each jati is careful to prevent          measuring the effects of mass media products
        lower castes marrying in. The only possibility        are such that this debate is no nearer a clear
        of this-worldly mobility is for an entire jati        resolution than it was 30 years ago.
        to improve its status relative to another by
        becoming more ‘sanscriticised’: that is, aping
        more closely the mores of the Brahmin caste.          CAUSATION, CAUSAL RELATIONSHIP             When
        Hence the only method for achieving change            two events occur in the same time and place,
        within the system, reinforces rather than             one just before the other, and the second
        weakens it.                                           seems highly unlikely to have occurred with-
           The system is kept in place by temporal            out the first, then we suppose there is a
        power (like the medieval guilds, the jati can         causal relationship between the two: drop-
        control entry and monitor its members) and            ping the lighted match on the petrol caused
        by spiritual power. The ideological basis of          it to explode. When we see the same rela-
        control is formed by the Hindu notions of             tionship repeated endlessly we may even
        reincarnation and karma. The soul does not            derive a ‘law’. Not only are we sure there is a
        die with the body but is re-born. Precisely           causal relationship between heating a metal
        how you will be re-born depends on the bal-           bar and it expanding, we can observe a regu-
        ance of good or bad karma (or merit) you              lar relationship, for each type of metal,
        have accumulated. The major source of good            between the amount of heat and the amount
        karma is the correct performance of the ritu-         of expansion.
        als and social obligations associated with               Philosophers like to agonise about causa-
        your caste. The pious conforming Hindu can            tion but most of us have no difficulty at all
        hope for a better life next time around.              with the idea. What causes some anxiety for
           In principle, all post-independence gov-           sociologists are (a) the particular nature of
        ernments of India have been opposed to                purposive action and ( b) the use of ‘func-
        caste but it has proved resilient.                    tions’ as causes.
                                                                 Clearly, to the extent that humans have
                                                              freedom, we cannot treat the causes of social
        CASTELLS , MANUEL (1942–)          See                action in exactly the same way as the heating
        information society.                                  of metals. I may say I have taken to my bed
                                                              ‘because’ I have a cold but as it is possible
                                                              for me to struggle off to the office sniffling,
        CATHARSIS       The idea originated with the          the cold is not causing me to have a day off;
        ancient Greek philosopher Aristotle, who              rather the cold is, in my circumstances (such
        believed that watching a tragedy performed            as not much liking my job), a good reason
        purged the spectator of powerful emotions. It         for taking the day off. We can apply the
        has since come to mean any release of strong          same re-construction to some large-scale
        emotion. It has a particular meaning in media         social phenomena such as voting for the Nazi
        and cultural studies where it describes the           party in 1930s Germany. When we list the
        counter-argument against those who fear imi-          causes of the rise of Nazism (resentment
        tation. The imitation argument is that watch-         at the enfeeblement of Germany after the
        ing scenes of sex or violence stimulates the          First World War and economic depression,
        viewer to imitate what is portrayed. The              for example) we are not claiming that these
        catharsis case is that watching scenes of vio-        things forced Germans to vote for Hitler; we
        lence provides the viewer with a vicarious            are using ‘caused’ as an abbreviation for ‘in this
        alternative and thus purges the desire to             particular set of circumstances and for these

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          census                                                                             centre and periphery

          people, provided good reasons for’. This leaves        provides us with benchmarks against which
          unresolved the tricky question of whether              we can judge the representativeness of sur-
          there are universal standards of ‘good reasons         vey samples on certain criteria such as age,
          for’ acting or whether good reasons are to             gender, religion or occupation. Nonetheless,
          some degree idiosyncratic or culturally vari-          there may be problems with compliance as
          able. Sociologists are still divided over this         people may resent the obligation to respond
          matter.                                                to the census and may therefore give false or
             The second problem concerns social func-            misleading information.
          tions. Sociologists are often concerned with
          the consequences or effects of some piece of
          social action or some institution. For exam-           CENTRAL TENDENCY          See measures of
          ple, we may argue that organised religion              central tendency.
          serves the important social function of creat-
          ing a sense of social cohesion. There are              CENTRE AND PERIPHERY              These terms
          problems borrowing the method of function-             are used by sociologists in a conceptual
          alist biology, in which organs are analysed in         rather than geographical sense; London,
          terms of their functions for the body as a             Paris, Washington, Stockholm, Helsinki and
          whole, and these are discussed under func-             Moscow are all at the edges or corners of the
          tionalism. It is tempting to slide from saying         countries of which they are the capitals but
          that organised religion has the consequence            they are nonetheless the centres of their soci-
          of creating cohesion to suggesting that soci-          eties. The contrast pair is commonly used
          eties have organised religion because they             to draw attention to the unevenness of eco-
          require or wish social cohesion. In the case of        nomic development and modernisation. The
          the conscious individual there is no difficulty        centre is more urbanised, more densely pop-
          treating a consequence (something that                 ulated, wealthier, more commercialised,
          comes after the act) as a cause (which must            more diverse in its culture and more liberal
          come before it) because we can bridge the              in most matters than the periphery. In
          time gap by asserting that the actor desired           the first instance this is simply a matter of
          the consequence and acted as she did to                uneven development but there is often a
          bring it about: she wanted to make new                 reactive element. People in the periphery
          friends so she joined a badminton club. But it         may exaggerate some of their differences
          is not equally appropriate to reason in this           from the centre in order to reinterpret what
          way for societies as a whole since, unlike the         could be counted as a deprivation, as a virtue.
          badminton enthusiast, societies do not have            If the centre becomes more secular, the
          coherent wishes; this is the problem with any          peripheries may add an element of intent to
          talk of latent functions.                              their greater religiosity and take pride in this
                                                                 element of their supposed backwardness. For
          CENSUS       This term is usually used to              most of the 20th century, people in the high-
          denote a government-sponsored universal                lands of Scotland, Sicily and the Carolinas
          and compulsory survey of all the individuals           contrasted themselves approvingly with the
          in the state. Censuses are extremely useful            evils of the cosmopolitan world.
          for social researchers precisely because they             The contrast pair has also been used in
          include everyone and because people have to            international contexts. In his world-systems
          answer. The information thus gathered is               theory, Immanuel Wallerstein argues that
          vastly more extensive than that which can              from the 16th century onwards a capitalist
          be derived from any social survey. It also             world system began to develop with France,

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        chaos                                                                               chodorow, nancy (1944–)

        Holland and England as its core. They                      CHARISMA ;      CHARISMATIC        AUTHORITY
        became wealthier by exploiting other coun-                 In general usage, charisma is now simply the
        tries, which supplied raw materials and                    property of being attractive and telegenic;
        cheap (or, in the case of slavery, free) labour.           Presidents Kennedy, Reagan and Clinton
        Later Wallerstein added the intermediate                   were repeatedly described as charismatic.
        category of semi-periphery to describe coun-               The claim would have been more compelling
        tries such as those of Latin America and                   if they had been ugly and inarticulate and
        South Korea that had attained a degree of                  still became so popular because Max Weber
        industrialisation and hence were less domi-                borrowed the term for a ‘gift of grace’ from
        nated by the core.                                         the Christian tradition to signify extraordi-
                                                                   nary (and often divine) powers claimed by or
        CHAOS       In everyday use, chaos means a                 for an individual. Narrow sociological usage
        disorderly mess. But the word has a technical              of charisma is almost exactly the opposite of
        meaning within the natural sciences. Some                  popular usage in that what most clearly fits
        equations are chaotic in the special sense                 the Weberian notion, is drawing intensely
        that, though they may look straightforward,                loyal support when the leader who claims
        they do not result in any predictable trend.               charismatic authority utterly lacks conven-
        Anyone who has lain in a bath and tried to                 tional sources of power and influence.
        guess when the next drip will fall from the
        tap has experienced this phenomenon. Water                        See authority, routinisation of charisma.
        seeping from the tap adds to the droplet but
        it’s impossible to guess exactly when it will
                                                                   CHICAGO      SCHOOL       The University of
        splash down. In what seems like a paradox,
                                                                   Chicago housed one of the USA’s first socio-
        some things in nature appear to follow a rule
                                                                   logy departments (founded 1892) and its
        but are nonetheless unpredictable. The
                                                                   pioneering school of urban sociologists. What
        weather is believed to have this property. No
                                                                   at the time seemed like its major achieve-
        matter how much you knew about today’s
                                                                   ment – the ecological model of the city as a
        weather, the weather in two weeks would
                                                                   series of concentric circles – is little attended
        still remain unpredictable. The weather may
                                                                   to these days, but the department’s commit-
        be deterministic, in that it is governed by
                                                                   ment to detailed interpretative studies, what
        equations to do with heat from the sun,
                                                                   would now be called ethnography, left an
        evaporation of the oceans and so on, but it is
                                                                   enduring mark on the profession. Louis
        chaotically deterministic.
                                                                   Wirth’s (1928) The Ghetto, Henry W.
            To say that something is chaotic in this
                                                                   Zorbaugh’s (1929) The Gold Coast and the
        special sense does not just mean that it is too
                                                                   Slum, and Paul G. Cressey’s (1932) The
        complex to predict in practice (like the ball
                                                                   Taxi Dance Hall: A Sociological Study in
        on a roulette wheel) but that there are inher-
                                                                   Commercialized Recreation and City life are
        ent limits to its predictability. Social scientists
                                                                   examples of classic Chicago work.
        have been interested in chaos for various rea-
        sons: in part because some social phenomena
        (currency markets, for example) may them-                              χ
                                                                   CHI SQUARE (χ2)       See significance, tests of.
        selves be chaotic in this technical sense but
        also because chaos speaks of limits to scien-
        tific prediction. The idea has thus proven                 CHODOROW, NANCY (1944–)            In The
        attractive to advocates of postmodernism and               Reproduction of Mothering, Chodorow (1978)
        to others worried about determinism.                       examined the ways in which mothering

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          chomsky, noam (1928–)                                                                               citizen

          reproduces gender identity. Using Freudian              though sharply observed, often appear
          psychoanalytical ideas she argues that young            tendentious.
          girls remain ‘mother-identified’ even after
          the Oedipus complex symbolically separates the
          male child from his mother. For Chodorow                CHURCH See religious organisations.
          the acceptance of the domestic ideal is the
          foundation of women’s oppression. Although              CICOUREL , AARON (1928–)            Long associ-
          popular with feminists, her work, like that of          ated with Garfinkel, ethnomethodology and
          Butler, Irigaray and Kristeva builds complex            conversation analysis, Cicourel (1964) first
          interpretative and inferential developments             became widely known in sociology because of
          on a small and rather unsystematic evidential           his book Method and Measurement in Sociology.
          base.                                                   This work was ethnomethodological in the
                                                                  sense that it concentrated on the practices
                                                                  through which sociologists derived, recorded
          CHOMSKY,        NOAM       (1928–)       Widely
                                                                  and in a sense created the phenomena in which
          accepted as the most renowned contempo-
                                                                  they were interested. However, unlike strictly
          rary theorist of linguistics, Chomsky has
                                                                  ethnomethodological studies which do not
          claimed that the wide range of grammatical
                                                                  seek to engage with the worlds they document,
          structures evident in language (the syntax of
                                                                  this study assumed that sociologists would have
          various languages) is underlain by common
                                                                  an interest in his ethnomethodological critique
          ‘deep structures’. In Syntactic Structures he
                                                                  and even reform their procedures in response.
          (1957) showed how a common deep linguis-
                                                                  Subsequently, Cicourel turned to more sub-
          tic structure (deep structure), combined
                                                                  stantive sociological analysis particularly in
          with a straightforward set of transformation
                                                                  medical and educational sociology.
          rules, could generate a very wide range of
          apparently dissimilar surface structures. In
          subsequent work he sought to apply a simi-              CIRCULATION OF ELITES               This phrase,
          lar ‘transformational’ approach to semantics            about all that is left of the legacy of Vilfredo
          (meaning) and phonology (pronunciation).                Pareto (a theorist Talcott Parsons thought cen-
          The significance of this claim for social               tral to sociology), captures perfectly his rejec-
          science more generally is that his theory               tion of the progressive views of thinkers such as
          proposes that humans are in some sense                  Karl Marx and Herbert Spencer. Pareto first
          innately highly prepared for language, and if           coined the term ‘elites’ to avoid talking of a rul-
          they are hard-wired for language, then humans           ing class (with all that implied about the eco-
          cannot be wholly the product of learning from           nomic base of political power) and argued that,
          their environment as other social scientist have        rather than there being an innate tendency for
          often supposed. His view about this innate              societies to develop in a liberal and democratic
          ability provides a striking challenge to popular        direction, two types of elites regularly replaced
          conceptions of human nature.                            each other. The types were defined by psycho-
             Chomsky is also widely known for his                 logical characteristics: lions were conservative;
          strident critiques of western and particularly          wolves were innovative but untrustworthy.
          US foreign policy and militarism. He is
          always careful to claim that his political              CITIZEN     Initially the term was used by the
          views and linguistic theory are wholly sepa-            Greeks to denote members of that small elite
          rate enterprises; indeed there is very little           within a city-state that had political rights
          that is conventionally left-leaning about his           and it was contrasted with a ‘subject’: some-
          linguistic theories. His political writings,            one who had a master. Until the rise of the

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        city                                                                                          civil religion

        nation-state, citizenship was either entirely            activities possible within its boundaries. The
        absent or restricted to a very few. The modern           first cities naturally appeared in fertile areas
        nation-state represented an important break              where the surrounding countryside was suf-
        with earlier formations in that its legitimacy           ficiently productive to liberate part of the
        was based on its ability to embody the will              population from agricultural work and to
        and aspirations of an entire people who were             support a range of specialist trades. In
        in some sense all equal participants in a hori-          England, the importance of the national
        zontal fellowship. This egalitarian rhetoric             Christian church was such that a city was
        was eventually given substance in the expan-             marked by the presence of a cathedral. The
        sion of the franchise until, by the early part of        defining characteristic of a cathedral was not
        the 20th century, most industrial democracies            its size (though they were very large) but its
        gave the vote to all their members.                      role as the administrative headquarters of a
           T.H. Marshall expanded the idea of citi-              bishop and hence as a centre for public
        zenship by defining it as the status of a per-           administration.
        son who is a full member of a community
        and arguing that it had three components.
        First, there were civil rights (such as the right        CIVIL INATTENTION        In Behaviour in Public
        to freedom of expression, access to informa-             Places Erving Goffman (1963a) noted a
        tion, freedom of association and equality before         variety of tacit rules that maintain civility
        the law); second, political rights (expressed            between strangers in public. Civil inattention
        mainly as the right to choose the govern-                denotes the ways in which we show others
        ment); and third there were social and eco-              that we are aware of their presence without
        nomic rights: Marshall regarded the right to             causing offence by intrusively attending to
        social welfare as an important safeguard against         them. Like many of Goffman’s ideas, it was
        sections of the population being enfranchised            obvious once he described it. What made
        in theory but in effect excluded from society            Goffman such an influential figure was that
        by poverty.                                              he was the first sociologist to pay systematic
           Marshall tended to assume that the three              attention to the small details of interaction
        components are acquired in the order set out             ritual that sustain social life. In many western
        above. However, feminist authors have noted              societies, civil mattention is a particularly
        that women’s acquisition of citizenship enti-            important accomplishment for women to
        tlements has not necessarily followed that of            develop if they are to avoid the intrusive
        men with, for example, voting rights often               attention of heterosexual males.
        preceding full equality before the law.
           Since the collapse of communism in the
        late 1980s there was been renewed interest               CIVIL    RELIGION    This denotes a set of
        in the notion of citizenship. With socialism             beliefs, rites and symbols that indicate and
        no longer seeming a viable alternative to cap-           celebrate the individual’s relationship to the
        italism and the old rhetoric of state interven-          civil society, nation and state, and claim
        tion unpopular, critics of capitalism have               divine support for the nation’s history and
        turned again to the ideas of civil society and           destiny. The term originated with Jean-
        citizenship.                                             Jacques Rousseau’s distinction between the
                                                                 religion of man, which was a private matter
                                                                 between the individual and God, and the
        CITY     A city is distinguished from towns              religion of the citizen, which was a public
        and villages by it greater size, by the range of         matter of the individual’s relationship with
        institutions its houses, and by the wealth of            the society and government. A civil religion

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          civil rights                                                                     civil rights movement (us)

          binds all members to society, instructs them             Russians (who were first Orthodox Christians
          in their duties and, if necessary, mobilises             and then atheistic communists). As the only
          them to war in support of the state.                     institution that was not taken over or severely
              Much influenced by the functionalism of              compromised by Soviet communists, the
          Talcott Parsons, Robert Bellah argued that               Catholic Church performed a vital function of
          there was a US civil religion, distinct from             cultural defence. So long as it did so it was
          the Christianity to which most Americans                 supported by many Poles who were not
          belonged. Key texts are the Declaration of               strongly committed to its religious teachings
          Independence (with its claims for divine                 and ritual practices; hence its depiction as a
          approval) and President Lincoln’s Gettysburg             civil religion.
          Address. The ‘feast days’ of this civil religion
          are Thanksgiving, Veterans’ Day and Memorial
                                                                   CIVIL RIGHTS          Sometimes used as a syn-
          Day. The rituals are saluting the flag and
                                                                   onym for human rights, civil rights may have
          singing ‘God Bless America’.
                                                                   a slightly narrower meaning. Both notions
              The idea has been vigorously criticised. It
                                                                   imply that all of us should be treated equally,
          may well be that certain manifestations of
                                                                   irrespective of such characteristics as wealth,
          US patriotism perform the same social func-
                                                                   colour, religion or gender. Civil rights sug-
          tions as institutional religion (creating a sense
                                                                   gests more: particularly both the protection
          of cohesion, for example) but that does not
                                                                   of the law and protection from the state. In
          mean it is a religion: a fever and an electric
                                                                   the USA the Bill of Rights makes human
          blanket both make me feel hot but they are
                                                                   rights, civil rights. In the UK, where, until the
          not the same thing. The frequent references
                                                                   incorporation of the European Convention
          to God in US civil pronouncements may
                                                                   on Human Rights in 1998, there was no writ-
          reflect either the habits of the age or the
                                                                   ten protection of such rights, it is more com-
          politician’s desire to enlist as many allies as
                                                                   mon to talk of civil liberties.
          possible. We know that many patriotic rituals
                                                                      Although the language of civil rights is
          are performed without the deep involve-
                                                                   often used by campaigners to suggest that
          ment we would expect from a religion, and
                                                                   they have a case that no decent person could
          where we do find strong entanglement of
                                                                   refuse, what should count as the basic human
          religious faith and patriotism, it is because
                                                                   or civil rights is itself a matter of political
          those people are religious in the conven-
                                                                   argument. The obvious difficulty is that any
          tional sense and believe that God is on their
                                                                   extensive list will contain irreconcilable
          side. There is no need to claim a distinct civil
                                                                   items. For example, if a religion supports the
          religion and little clear evidence for one.
                                                                   view that women should be subordinate to
              Less contentiously the term is used to
                                                                   men, then women’s rights and religious lib-
          describe religions that actually deify the state
                                                                   erty will clash.
          or its rulers: Confucianism in pre-Communist
          China and state Shinto in Japan are examples.
          It is also used to describe one aspect of con-           CIVIL RIGHTS MOVEMENT (US)           In theory
          ventional religion: acting as a guarantor of             the subordinate status of blacks in the USA
          national identity and a promoter of national             ended with the victory of the Union states in
          interests. For example, the Catholic Church              the Civil War of 1861–65. Blacks were left
          has long played an important social role as              formally free but in reality still enslaved. In
          guarantor of Polish national identity in the             the south they were denied the vote and the
          face of repeated conquest and oppression                 protection of the law, were segregated and
          by more powerful neighbours on all sides:                given only the most rudimentary public ser-
          Lutheran Swedes, Lutheran Germans and                    vices. Slavery was replaced by ‘Jim Crow’.

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        civil society                                                                        civilisations, clash of

        The Jim Crow laws were named after a                    end racial conflict or immediately redress
        character in a pre-Civil War minstrel show.             black grievances but they removed the major
        Thomas Dartmouth Rice, a white actor,                   injustices that had been the focus of the civil
        became famous for ‘blacking up’, mimicking              rights movement.
        black vaudeville artists and performing a
        comic song-and-dance routine in which he
                                                                CIVIL SOCIETY        The term was first popu-
        repeatedly sang: ‘Weel about and turn about
                                                                larized by Adam Ferguson and his colleagues
        and do jis so/Eb’ry time I weel about I jump
                                                                in the Scottish Enlightenment of the late 18th
        Jim Crow’. Jim Crow laws were designed to
                                                                century in contrasting the democratic institu-
        achieve, in the new urban setting, the degree
                                                                tions of the West with the despotisms of the
        of segregation and subservience that informal
                                                                East. Later it came to mean the inter-locking
        pressures and patterns of interaction had
                                                                array of non-governmental institutions that
        previously maintained in the rural south. In
                                                                fills the space between the family and the
        Alabama, white nurses could not be asked to
                                                                state: churches, trade unions, voluntary asso-
        nurse black men; buses, toilets and restaurants
                                                                ciations such as the Freemasons and the
        were segregated; inter-racial pool and billiards
                                                                Buffaloes, and sporting clubs are examples. A
        games were prohibited; mixed race marriages
                                                                large and active civil society is held to be
        were void. Georgia segregated public parks,
                                                                essential for a pleasant and effective society in
        restaurants, burial grounds, barber shops and
                                                                that it brings individuals together outside of
        psychiatric hospitals and required that segre-
                                                                their family bonds in non-commercial rela-
        gated baseball grounds be two blocks apart.
                                                                tionships and acts as a counter to the power
        Mississippi not only banned inter-racial mar-
                                                                of the state. The defining feature of totalitar-
        riage but also made it an offence to print,
                                                                ian states (such as those of communist east-
        publish or circulate arguments in favour of
                                                                ern Europe) is that they destroy civil society,
        such mixing. Furthermore, in all the southern
                                                                by either banning those forms of it they do
        states complex laws were used to make it dif-
                                                                not control or taking control of them.
        ficult (if not downright impossible) for blacks
        to register to vote.
           The civil rights movement may be dated               CIVILISATIONS , CLASH OF          This phrase
        from the 1955 Montgomery boycott of                     was popularised by US political scientist
        buses. The next nine years saw considerable             Samuel Huntington’s use of it for a 1993
        conflict as southern blacks, led by trusted             article which was later expanded into a book.
        clergymen and aided by white liberals from              The civilisations in question are the West
        the north, staged a variety of usually non-             (Protestant and Catholic Christian), Islamic,
        violent protests. Racist whites attacked the            Hindu, Orthodox Slav, Confucian, Japanese,
        protestors and American public opinion was              Latin American and ‘possibly’ African. He
        scandalised by the white violence, by the fail-         argues that the main divisions of the post-
        ure of the white authorities to control it and          Cold War world will be around culture rather
        by open connivance in the flouting of the               than ideology or national identity. Although
        law. President Lyndon B. Johnson used his               nation-states will remain the principal inter-
        considerable political capital to force through         national actors, they will, like family mem-
        Congress the sweeping Civil Rights Act of               bers rallying round, form alliances based on
        1964 (which outlawed segregation of public              shared culture. Second, he anticipates that
        facilities) and the Voting Rights Act 1965              resentment at western cultural penetration
        (which used the power of the federal gov-               and political domination will cause the other
        ernment to effectively enfranchise blacks).             civilisations to oppose the West, which will
        These and other legislative actions did not             be weakened by relative economic and

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          civilising process                                                                                  class

          demographic decline. Accordingly, he proposes            CLASS       All societies have some form of
          that western societies should strengthen                 stratification. The simplest societies allocate
          commitment to their core civilisational                  duties and rights on the basis of age and
          values, stop interfering with other civilisa-            gender. Hindu India divides people by caste.
          tions, and concentrate on maintaining a stable           Feudal societies divide people by estate or
          balance of power between the core states of              station. Modern industrial societies are
          rival civilisations.                                     divided by class. A variety of ways of describ-
              Huntington has been much criticised by               ing class all have in common attention to the
          those who on principle reject the idea that              economy and the organisation of production.
          religion is important in international relations,        For Karl Marx and Marxists, the crucial
          for exaggerating the internal cohesion of his            divide is between those who own the means
          civilisations (see orientalism). He has been             of production (the capitalist class) and those
          accused of being an ideologue for the West,              who have to live by selling their labour (the
          though his willingness to treat other cultures           proletariat or working class). Although there
          as civilizations with virtues suggests other-            are important fractions within these classes,
          wise. He has been faulted for over-looking               this basic division is the key to understanding
          research which suggests that all cultures, as            much else about societies based on capitalist
          they become richer, tend to change in similar            economies.
          directions. It is claimed that he exaggerates               Max Weber builds his class scheme around
          the inherent conflict between civilisational             the twin pillars of property ownership and
          values: are Islamic values really that different         market situation. He recognised major differ-
          to Christian ones? His concern over the rela-            ences within the mass of the population who
          tive financial decline of the West, reasonable           did not own capital. Professionals who pos-
          in the early 1990s when the Asian economies              sess highly valued and scarce skills are able to
          were booming, a decade later seemed like a               demand greater rewards and greater control
          poor prediction. The thesis is also not sup-             over their working lives then the unskilled
          ported by studies of current wars; most still            who, precisely because they are readily
          concern national rivalries between neighbours            replaceable, have a relatively weak position
          (irrespective of sharing a civilisation) and             in the market place.
          secessionist struggles.                                     In the 1970s, when it was clear that west-
              Ironically, Huntington might become right            ern class structures were not falling into the
          for the wrong reasons. The 2003 Iraq war and             shape Marx expected, a number of neo-
          other US foreign policy initiatives have had             Marxists attempted to resolve the anomaly
          the effect of greatly increasing anti-American           of the professional middle class. Nicos
          sentiment in the Muslim world.                           Poulantzas followed Louis Althusser in argu-
                                                                   ing that the mode of production (and hence
          CIVILISING PROCESS           See Elias.                  class) could not be defined simply by eco-
                                                                   nomic considerations; definition needed
          CLAN      A clan is a unilineal kin group (i.e.          also to incorporate political considerations
          descent is traced back to one parent, not                (supervisors versus non-supervisors) and ide-
          both) claiming descent from a common                     ological ones (mental versus manual labour).
          ancestor, and is often represented by a totem.           Erik Olin Wright distinguished ownership
          Clans can be either matrilineal (that is                 and control of the means of production.
          recruiting the children of female members)               Although both scholars saw themselves as
          or, more commonly, patrilineal (recruiting               updating the Marxist theory of class, their
          the children of male members) and are often              conclusions seem remarkably similar to the
          internally divided into lineages.                        position where Weber started.

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        class                                                                                              class

           In practice, much social research is based           class in determining life-chances, social
        on neither Marx nor Weber. The Marxist                  attitudes, patterns of consumption and polit-
        model has the advantage of being based on               ical preferences.
        a clear theory but it is of little value for                At the end of the 20th century it became
        research because the capitalist class narrowly          fashionable to argue that class was no longer
        defined is extremely small compared to                  of great social importance. Technological
        those who do not own the means of produc-               evolution was removing swathes of manual
        tion and is rarely available for study. The             work and eroding the differences between
        Weberian model is more useful for research              blue-collar and white-collar work. Greater
        in that it generates a larger number of similar-        prosperity and cheaper goods meant that the
        sized classes but, until the 1970s when John            gross differences between classes in appear-
        Goldthorpe and his colleagues developed a               ance and material possessions had gone.
        class model on Weberian principles that was             Almost all households in the USA and UK
        adopted internationally, almost all research            have cars, televisions, central heating, a wide
        on class used the rather ad hoc divisions that          range of clothing and the like. In the 1930s,
        had been created by government officials in             members of the working class were readily
        the early 20th century. The British Registrar-          distinguishable from the middle classes: they
        General’s classification of occupations was a           smelt and were shabbily dressed. With the
        creative mix of attention to wealth and typi-           exception of small segments at the top and
        cal pay levels, some notions of autonomy and            bottom, most American or British people are
        discretion, and an estimate of social worth,            now superficially similar. Technological evo-
        so that routine non-manual workers were                 lution has also reduced the centrality of work
        ranked higher than skilled manual workers: a            in the sense of how much time it takes up. In
        reflection of the general preference for clean          the 1950s it was common for people to work
        over dirty work. On the grounds that they               10 hours each weekday and at least half of
        required lengthy periods of education and               Saturday. The typical working week is now
        were widely respected, clergymen and teach-             only half of that. In Europe at least, most jobs
        ers were ranked higher than their salaries              now provide a month or more of paid holi-
        would merit.                                            days in addition to the large number of pub-
           Unease about the detailed rankings of                lic holidays. Hence people now spend far less
        occupations in most schemes, lack of detailed           time at work and with work colleagues and
        information about people’s jobs and pay, the            more time with family and friends. All of
        relatively small numbers of people in even              these changes add up to good reason for sup-
        large-scale and expensive surveys, and the              posing that how we earn our living is less sig-
        importance of other variables (such as age,             nificant now than it was in 1950 and that the
        gender and religion) encourage social                   key to social identity lies not in production
        researchers to simplify class classifications           but in consumption.
        and in much social research the effects of class            This is an exaggerated picture. The lives of
        are explored with just two class categories:            white-collar and blue-collar workers may be
        manual and non-manual.                                  superficially similar and there has been a
           Arguments about how we should define                 noticeable decline in deference, but it is still
        class and the complex technical problems in             the case that social realities (such as health,
        collecting and analysing information might              income, longevity, values) remain influenced
        suggest that the notion is pointless. It is not.        by class. And even the core of the con-
        Over the second half of the 20th century a              sumerist idea is suspect; increasing prosperity
        vast body of social research pointed repeat-            has allowed the bulk of the population to
        edly to the enduring importance of social               enjoy a larger number of the same consumer

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          class conflict                                                                      class, status and party

          goods but rich people have their own ‘top                members of a class share common beliefs and
          end’ of consumption that is denied to others             values and act in concert; people have a sub-
          and the tastes of university-educated profes-            jective or personal appreciation of their class
          sional workers still differ markedly from                position and some sense of group identity:
          those of manual workers.                                 objective class position should be matched by
                                                                   class consciousness. Karl Marx distinguished
                    See class consciousness, occupational          between class-in-itself (the objective reality)
                                scales, proletarianisation.        and class-for-itself (the awareness of this and
                                                                   the development of an appropriate political
                                                                   response). When the objective and subjective
          CLASS CONFLICT         It is an essential part of
                                                                   do not match we may either doubt the value
          Marxist thought that the social classes iden-
                                                                   of our classification system or find particular
          tified by the ownership (or otherwise) of
                                                                   explanations of why people are blind to their
          capital be in conflict. Classes have irreconcil-
                                                                   common position.
          able collective interests and the war between
                                                                      The failure of the working class to act in
          them is the engine for social evolution.
                                                                   concert is usually described by Marxists as
          Modern capitalism has actually been charac-
                                                                   false consciousness and explained by the
          terised by an almost complete absence of
                                                                   ideological work of the capitalist class pro-
          class conflict. Groups of workers have
                                                                   moting various forms of divide and rule. For
          pressed for greater rewards and better condi-
                                                                   example, a chauvinist upper class may stim-
          tions but such contests have often involved
                                                                   ulate racial and ethnic rivalries so that white
          workers competing against each other and
                                                                   workers think of themselves as superior to
          have not challenged the fundamental nature
                                                                   black workers.
          of capitalism nor the fact of a class system. In
                                                                      A less contentious explanation of the
          the 20th century the major threats to capi-
                                                                   absence of class consciousness is that changes
          talist societies came not from class but ethnic
                                                                   in the class structure (see below) mean that
          and national conflict: for example, the two
                                                                   throughout the 20th century there has been
          world wars and the Spanish Civil war.
                                                                   too much movement through classes for people
                                                                   to associate strongly with them. Classes have
          CLASS CONSCIOUSNESS, CLASS-FOR-ITSELF;                   been more like hotels than stable communi-
          CLASS-IN-ITSELF With any form of classifi-               ties; people have been passing through.
          cation system there is a question of whether                A third explanation is that Marx was sim-
          those we classify see themselves in the same             ply wrong about the importance of social
          way as we see them. All the class schemes                class as he defined it.
          discussed allocate people by objective char-
          acteristics; people either own or do not own
          the means of production, have similar posi-              CLASS , STATUS AND PARTY            Max Weber
          tions in the labour market, and their jobs               regarded this trinity as providing a fairly com-
          offer a certain level of freedom and discre-             prehensive description of the major divisions
          tion, irrespective of what they think about              in modern society. Class (or market situation)
          those characteristics. There are occasions               was the objective condition of place in the
          when sociologists are interested in the conse-           economy, defined by wealth and earning
          quences of class that are not mediated by                opportunities produced by possessing scarce
          some form of awareness. For example, there               skills. Because it described similarities of cir-
          is a strong association between class and the            cumstance, class might form the basis for
          incidence of certain illnesses. However, much            occasional collective action but there was no
          sociological interest in class supposes that the         implication of a necessary class consciousness.

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        class structure, change in                                                                         cognition

        Status referred to actual groupings of people           when literacy was largely a preserve of the
        defined by specific positive or negative social         church.
        estimations of honour who have a sense of
        common identity (visible in attempts to pro-
        tect their privileges, in common customs and            CLIENTALISM, CLIENT–PATRON RELATIONSHIP
        in excluding marriage patterns): Ivy league             See patron-client relations.
        college-educated professionals would be an
        example of a status grouping within a class             CLOSED MIND          See open and closed mind.
        structure. A Hindu jati would be a status
        grouping in a caste structure. Political parties
        may be based on class or status or some other           CLUSTER SAMPLING            This is an alternative
        identity such as regional minority. In essence,         to random sampling in selecting respondents
        Weber was countering the simple Marxist                 to represent a general population for study
        model of class by drawing attention to the              purposes. A random sample for a postal survey
        diversity of sources of division.                       could be constructed by using some formula
                                                                such as picking every 1000th address from a
        CLASS STRUCTURE , CHANGE IN              Since          zip or postal code list. The cluster alternative is
        the late 19th century there have been major             to start with some organising principle (such as
        changes in the class structure of modern                dividing post codes by the social class of the
        economies because the nature of work has                area) and then selecting one wealthy area, one
        changed. The shrinking of agriculture (and              middling area and one poor area, and picking a
        other forms of primary production such as               set number of respondents from each. Cluster
        fishing, mining and logging) has continued as           sampling is often used because it is cheap and
        technological developments have allowed                 quick; if you plan to conduct face-to-face
        fewer people to do more. Large numbers left             interviews you want your respondents to be in
        the land and moved into manufacturing. In               close groups rather than spread around the
        the 1950s the white-collar middle class began           country. But it will produce a distorted image
        to grow relative to the manual working class            of the general population if the initial principle of
        and by the end of the 20th century white-               clustering is mistaken. For example, a survey of
        collar had outstripped blue-collar work.                political attitudes may produce unrepresenta-
        Precisely how the class structure of advanced           tive results if, unknown to the survey analysts,
        societies has changed will depend on how we             an area chosen to produce wealthy people has
        define, measure and divide class. For example,          become popular with staff of the local univer-
        the model devised by US Marxist Erik Olin               sity (who are likely to be unusually cosmopoli-
        Wright produces a much larger working class             tan and liberal).
        than does that used by John H. Goldthorpe
        and European colleagues. Nonetheless, when
                                                                COERCION       This denotes the use of force
        either model is applied to historical and con-
                                                                (or the threat of force) to achieve a particu-
        temporary data the general patterns of
                                                                lar purpose.
        change remain the same.

                                                                                                        See power.
        CLERGY       Originally a term identifying an
        official of the Christian Church and now
        applied widely to professional leaders in any           COGNITION   Mental life can be described
        religious tradition, it shares a common root            as having two components: thinking or
        with ‘clerk’: a reminder of the Middle Ages             knowing, and feeling. Cognition, the first

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          cognitive dissonance                                                                   collective conscience

          component, is concerned with perception,                more likely than the younger age bands to
          language, memory and problem solving.                   attend church. This could be explained by an
                                                                  ageing effect: as we get older and nearer our
                                               See affect.        deaths we become more mindful of our souls.
                                                                  It could be explained by an historical change
                                                                  that came after this age band formed its
          COGNITIVE DISSONANCE         Dissonance (con-           habits: the removal of a prohibition on secular
          trasted with consonance and resonance) was              forms of leisure on a Sunday may have per-
          originally a musical term denoting a clash of           manently made church-going relatively unat-
          sounds or an unpleasant combination of                  tractive. Or, and this is the cohort effect, this
          notes. In the 1950s Leon Festinger used the             band may have had some common experience
          term in a study of behaviour that was incon-            which made it unusually church-going.
          sistent with knowledge (or cognition). Why,             Distinguishing these is important. If it is the
          when we know that smoking is very bad for               first, church membership will remain stable; if
          us, do we continue to do it? Festinger sup-             it is the second it will decline; if it is the third,
          posed that we all have some deep need for               it may well bounce back.
          consistency and that we will attempt to har-                It is often difficult to untangle ageing, his-
          monise our beliefs and behaviour, either                torical and cohort effects in survey data but
          by changing the behaviour or selectively                the fact that they are different should
          re-shaping what we know (every smoker has               restrain us from jumping too quickly to con-
          an uncle who smoked heavily and lived to                clusions from observed social trends.
          80). Looked at closely, Festinger’s work does
          not actually explain anything but the term
          became extremely popular.                               COLLECTIVE ACTION, COLLECTIVE BEHAVIOUR
                                                                  Although preferring one over the other
                                                                  sometimes reflects underlying assumptions
          COHABITATION        A pompous term for ‘liv-            about the nature of the matter in hand, more
          ing together’ used to describe people who, in           often these terms are used interchangeably
          the view of the speaker, should be married,             to describe social phenomena that range
          this is slipping out of use simply because the          from the crowd, as the least enduring and
          relationship it describes is now so common              structured, to the professionally-led social
          in the West as to be unremarkable. Infinitely           movement – the most organised and endur-
          preferable to ‘cohabitee’ is the Scots ‘bidie-          ing expression of collective action. The term
          in’ (from ‘bide’ meaning to stay).                      implies the following: the collective action/
                                                                  behaviour has some specific and finite goal;
                                                                  that goal involves remedying or redressing
          COHORT, COHORT ANALYSIS             Originally a        some wrong; and ordinary people are active.
          term for a unit of the Roman army (10 of                Rioting in protest against high food prices;
          which made up a legion), this is now used to            campaigning to end racial segregation; mobil-
          describe any group of people with the same              ising sentiment against the transporting of
          time-specific experiences: for example being            live animals are all examples.
          born, entering university or joining the
          police force in a particular year. The cohort is
                                                                                              See social movement.
          important because its experience represents
          one of three possible explanations of change.
          Suppose we find in a large survey that the              COLLECTIVE CONSCIENCE          This is the
          band of people aged 60 and above are much               English translation of the term popularised

                                                             [ 40 ]
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        collectivisation                                                                          commodification

        by Emile Durkheim (1912) in his Elementary              COMMAND ECONOMY                As the name sug-
        Forms of the Religious Life to refer to the             gests, this is a structure of production and dis-
        shared beliefs and moral attitudes that give            tribution in which decisions about what to
        cohesion to a society. The collective con-              produce result not from market forces but
        science is particularly important in simple             from central government direction. The
        societies based on mechanical solidarity. In            economies of the 20th century communist
        complex modern societies a common con-                  states were largely command. Although they
        science is less important as an integrating             permitted individual initiative in small-scale
        principle because the advanced division of              enterprises, major enterprises such as mining,
        labour creates inter-dependency irrespective            heavy industry and transport were run by
        of a collective conscience.                             government agencies which decided how
                                                                many tractors should be made, of what qual-
                                                                ity and at what price they should be sold.
        COLLECTIVISATION         This denotes the               Over the longer term, command economies
        amalgamation of small peasant holdings into             are generally inefficient because workers have
        large agricultural units under state direction          little direct stake in the success of the enter-
        and was a feature of Stalin’s agricultural              prise, consumer preferences have little impact
        policy in the Soviet Union in the 1930s.                on the economy and the goals of managers
                                                                easily shift from running their enterprises
                                                                efficiently to flattering their political masters.
        COLLECTIVISM       Specifically this refers to a
                                                                    It should be noted that in times of crisis
        political doctrine that advocates communal
                                                                (during major wars, for example) the govern-
        or state ownership of the means of produc-
                                                                ments of the most free-market oriented
        tion and distribution or a political system
                                                                economies have been willing to take com-
        based on such a doctrine.
                                                                mand of vital interests.

        COLONIALISM        Most generally this is the           COMMODIFICATION         The term may denote
        political rule of one nation, country or soci-          a distinguishing feature of market (normally
        ety by another, usually some way off. But it            capitalist) economies; rather than producing
        now more commonly refers to the domina-                 goods and services to satisfy their own needs,
        tion of large parts of the world by white               people produced ‘commodities’ to be sold in
        Christian European states in the 19th and               a market. Especially when used by Marxists,
        20th centuries. States differed considerably            the term is pejorative and rests on the
        in they ways they colonised. The British                romantic notion that struggling to produce
        often tried to expropriate the wealth of their          enough to meet one’s own immediate needs
        colonies without disrupting native society              is somehow more noble (even if less effi-
        and culture; for example, until the middle              cient) than producing for a market.
        of the 19th century there was considerable                 Arlie Russell Hochschild has drawn atten-
        resistance to allowing Christian missionaries           tion to the ways in which emotions are now
        to evangelise in the colonies. The preferred            marketed as commodities. Dating clubs,
        model of exploitation was to rule indirectly            commercial child-minding services, party
        through local potentates. The French empire             planners; such emotional-work services test
        took the very different form of imposing                the boundaries we place between what may
        French culture and ruling directly through              reasonably be bought and sold and what
        French officials, with the colonies being               should involve personal commitments
        given a place in the Paris government.                  beyond commerce. That we have such

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          common-sense knowledge                                                                         commune

          boundaries is clear from usage: the                     understood in this way. However some
          ‘commodification of steel manufacture’ is not           sociologists, notably ethnomethodologists and
          condemnatory; ‘the commodification of sex’              social phenomenologists, are more interested
          is. All the same, as the service sector grows in        in the character of common-sense knowledge,
          free market economies more and more areas               particularly in contrast to what they assume
          of life are likely to become commodified.               scientific knowledge is like. For example,
              Still, the use of ‘commodification’ which           though the words used in everyday speech
          implies or asserts that modern relationships            are not subject to rigorous definition and there
          have become dominated by the cash nexus is              are no set criteria for establishing what other
          usually mistaken. Even in advanced capitalist           people mean or are talking about, people
          societies, non-commodified work is an impor-            manage well enough with this seemingly
          tant part of the social world. Almost half of           unsystematic body of knowledge. From this
          most people’s time is taken up with non-                observation, ethnomethodologists and pheno-
          monetarised (i.e. not directly paid) work:              menologists have gone on to argue that sociol-
          domestic labour is a very large part of that. A         ogy follows a false path when it tries to ape the
          2000 survey showed that 45 per cent of                  sciences and should content itself with the
          Americans over 18 spent five or more hours a            more everyday credentials of common-sense
          week in unpaid voluntary and charity work               knowledge. Such arguments typically rest on
          outside the home. It remains common for                 an exaggerated sense of the ‘scientificness’ of
          people to engage in unpaid reciprocity: one             communication within science and overlook
          person helps a friend move house; that friend           the way that commonsense is refined in vari-
          helps another repair a car and so on. And               ous institutions such as the law. The divide to
          even when money changes hands it is often               which they wish to draw attention does not
          the case that the money has only a tangential           actually exist in the form they suppose.
          relationship to the activity and that making a
          profit is not the primary purpose of the                                                 See ad-hocing.
          exchange. For example, a housewife regularly
          provides hot meals for a confused elderly
          female neighbour; a relative of the woman               COMMUNAL VIOLENCE           The downside of
          insists on giving the helper a large sum of             community is that the strength of social
          money as a Christmas present. Or someone                bonds within it is often matched by ill-
          with easy access to horse manure gives a                feeling to those outside the community.
          trailer load to a neighbour who grows roses             ‘Communal violence’ is often used to denote
          and the rose-grower insists on paying for               widespread murderous attacks by one group
          the delivery. This sort of loose reciprocity,           (usually defined by religion and ethnicity) on
          although it involves money, is closer to gift-          its neighbours, where what is at stake are not
          giving than to commodified exchange and                 national boundaries but the relative power
          it remains extremely common, even in                    and prestige of groups within the state.
          advanced industrial capitalist societies.

                                                                  COMMUNE         This generally denotes a self-
          COMMON - SENSE       KNOWLEDGE          At one          selecting group of people living and working
          level, sociologists are interested in common-           together, sharing some or all of their posses-
          sense knowledge because this is the knowl-              sions, and assisting each other with domestic
          edge that people use to make judgements and             tasks and child-rearing. Unlike extended
          navigate their way around the world. Goffman            families or small villages, most communes
          is a leading analyst of commonsense                     have a specific purpose. Most have been

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        communication                                                                                 communism

        religious in origin, united in the belief that            gives. One of the aspects of communication
        their communal way is divinely ordained and               that particularly interests sociologists is the
        that they are creating heaven on earth. Those             way that modern technologies allow time and
        that have survived more than one generation               space to be transcended. Writing, printing, and
        have paid attention to the two great threats:             such technological forms of communication
        members being seduced by the outside world                as the radio, television, telegraph, fax, mobile
        and falling out among themselves. Successful              phone and e-mail all allow easy storage of
        communes have managed to isolate them-                    communicated information and almost instant
        selves and have developed mechanisms for                  communication across great distances. The
        defusing potential conflict. The Hutterites, for          consequences of modern communication are
        example, farm using traditional methods                   paradoxical. On the one hand, effective com-
        which prevent them becoming too prosperous                munication allows effective control and there
        and when they grow beyond a size where face-              is much concern about the enhanced powers
        to-face relations can be maintained, they buy             of the modern state to monitor its citizens
        new land and start another commune.                       through such things as the recording of credit
           Most communes have been short-lived.                   card payments and closed-circuit television
        Many were created in the expectation that a               monitoring of shopping precincts. On the other
        messiah would soon come and end this world                hand, the Internet and the mobile phone have
        and did not survive the disappointment of their           been extremely effective in allowing individu-
        millenarian dreams. Some died out because                 als to subvert government attempts at censor-
        they failed to attend to the basic requirements           ship and information control. A good example
        for self-reproduction. For example, the Shakers,          was the 2003 failure of the Chinese govern-
        a 19th century US communitarian sect, pro-                ment to restrict news of an outbreak of Sudden
        hibited all sexual activity; as they failed to            Acute Respiratory Syndrome (or SARS).
        maintain a supply of adult recruits, the com-
        mune literally died out, leaving only a simple                              See time-space distanciation.
        style of furniture design as their legacy.
           In the second half of the 20th century,
        communes in Western Europe and North                      COMMUNISM          This term generally denotes
        America were also formed on secular bases.                the practical aspect of Marxism: the belief
        Usually in urban areas and sometimes in the               that human societies can be organised in a
        context of ‘squats’, which repossessed aban-              thoroughly egalitarian way by having the
        doned buildings, these faced the same threats             means of production commonly owned and
        to survival as the earlier religious communes             thus removing the basis for class conflict.
        and were uniformly short-lived.                           Without class, there would be no need for a
           If spelt with a capital letter, the term refers        state to protect the interests of the ruling
        to the revolutionary government established               class and it would wither away.
        in Paris in 1870–71.                                         Marx and Engels (1967) used the term in
                                                                  the title of The Communist Manifesto (pub-
                                                                  lished in 1848) but for most of the 19th cen-
        COMMUNICATION           While definitions differ          tury radical parties that adopted some or all
        according to the theoretical frame of reference,          of the Marxist programme called themselves
        they all include the following five fundamental           socialist. It was not until 1918, after the suc-
        elements: an initiator, a recipient, a mode of            cessful Russian revolution, that the Russian
        communication, a message and an effect.                   Social-Democratic Labour party changed its
           Humans differ from other animals in the vast           name to the Communist Party of the Soviet
        capacity for communication that language                  Union.

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          community                                                                                community studies

          COMMUNITY           Although often used in the             not to say that community is unknown in the
          geographical sense as a synonym for neigh-                 city; especially where major social divisions
          bourhood, the term does have a quite                       constrain interaction (e.g. in an ethnic minor-
          precise meaning in sociology, derived from                 ity neighbourhood) then one may have an
          Ferdinand Tönnies’ (1887) Gemeinschaft und                 unusual degree of stability and hence inti-
          Gesellschaft (or Community and Society). The               macy in relationships. But the difference in
          community of the pre-industrial rural society              degree of compulsion remains.
          had the following characteristics. A small                    For this reason, many current uses of the
          group of people interacted with each other                 term community seem quite inappropriate.
          over many years and many separate spheres                  Groups of people who share common inter-
          of life: work, leisure, church, family.                    ests, beliefs and values and who may interact
          Relationships were many-sided, intimate and                only in some mediated way (through the
          enduring, and created networks of reciprocal               Internet, for example) are described as com-
          obligation that survived from one generation               munities when the term ‘voluntary associa-
          to the next. The stability and close contacts              tion’ is more appropriate. The crucial point is
          allowed considerable social cohesion.                      the absence of some sense of necessity or
              In the urban industrial society very large             compulsion; however active people are in a
          numbers of people interact with each other                 steam engine restoration society or white
          over very narrow and specific tasks and only               witch network, they can easily withdraw
          briefly before moving on. Many relationships               without any great disruption to other parts
          are based on contract. I employ the plumber                of their lives.
          to fix my shower and pay him the agreed
          sum. I need never see him again; he will not call                             See intentional community.
          me when he needs help and I am not obliged
          to marry his daughter. The pre-industrial
          village dweller dealt with the same 20 people              COMMUNITY STUDIES           The defining char-
          all his or her life; the typical city dweller deals        acteristic of the community study is not its
          with 200 people every day, most of them only               research methods (which usually involves
          fleetingly. One simple way of capturing the                ethnography but may also include attitude
          point is to think of compulsion. The modern                surveys and the collection of detailed
          city dweller can choose a plumber from a                   descriptive statistics) but its attempt to get
          hundred listed in a trade directory, can choose            to grips with all the socially salient features
          his religion from the hundreds of churches                 of a particular small locality. An early
          and chapels within easy travelling distance,               American classic, which shows what is
          and can choose which of his many neighbours                involved if one takes seriously the ambition
          he wishes to befriend. The feudal villager was             to comprehend a community rather than an
          given his social world.                                    activity or institution, is W. Lloyd Warner’s
              As is the case with much of early sociol-              (1940) Yankee City research which is reported
          ogy, there is a great deal of nostalgia and                in four long books. Though considerably
          romanticism built into this paired contrast                shorter, Norman Dennis et al.’s (1956) Coal
          but it contains an essential truth. Whether                is Our Life: an analysis of a Yorkshire mining
          one sees it as freedom from intrusive and                  community, is a good British example. It
          sometimes oppressive relationships or as the               is implicit confirmation of the view of
          loss of something important to psychic sta-                Ferdinand Tönnies that community was
          bility, the modern city allows a degree of                 being displaced that the sort of community
          anonymity that was almost impossible in                    studies common in the 1950s are now rare.
          small-scale pre-industrial societies. This is              Longer travel-to-work distances and greater

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        competence                                                                                        concept

        mobility mean that place and proximity less               COMTE , AUGUSTE (1798–1857)             Rarely
        define social relationships than they once                read now, Comte performed the signal ser-
        did. Detailed ethnographies are now more                  vice to the discipline of coining the term
        likely to concern disparate individuals drawn             ‘sociology’ which first appeared in his 1838
        together for a specific purpose, than a town              Cours de Philosophie Positive. For Comte,
        or village.                                               sociology was an empirical observation-based
                                                                  comparative science which would dominate
                                                                  the highest stage of human evolution. He
        COMPETENCE          This word has come to                 believed that thought developed through the
        have three meanings that sociologists may                 stages of the theological, the metaphysical
        come across. First, Chomsksy introduced a                 and the positive. Societies evolved from the
        distinction between competence and perfor-                primitive through the intermediary to the
        mance to indicate the way that speakers of                scientific. Comte saw the increasing division
        a language who master the (in his view                    of labour making societies more complex,
        in-built) rules may nonetheless produce                   specialised and internally differentiated. Like
        utterances that are ungrammatical. The                    Emile Durkheim later, he saw modernisation
        utterances are the performance whereas                    as paradoxical; increased division of labour
        the set of rules that have been mastered are              made people more dependent on each other
        the competence. Other social scientists have              and thus increased social solidarity but it also
        adopted this terminology as a way of talking              created class divisions and a gulf between the
        about the difference between what people                  public and private worlds.
        may know or be able to do and what they do                   Comte divided sociology into two: social
        on any particular occasion. People with fully             dynamics and social statics. The first was con-
        developed social skills may still make a gaffe            cerned with principles of evolution; the
        without that necessarily indicating a lack of             second, which anticipated functionalism, was
        competence.                                               concerned with the function of specific
           Ethnomethodologists and others who                     social institutions (such as family, private
        study small-scale interaction have alerted                property and the state) in maintaining social
        social scientists to a range of skills that are so        order. Although we can find elements of
        widespread as to be almost invisible: the skill           Comte’s work that are obvious precursors to
        of recognising irony, of thanking appropri-               modern sociology, the overall project seems
        ately and so on. Under special circumstances –            thoroughly alien because it was intended as a
        for example, when dealing with machines                   utopian blueprint. The positive era would be
        programmed to respond to human talk –                     characterised by reliable knowledge, rational
        these ubiquitous skills may become prob-                  government and a new religion centred on
        lematic. Thus one way of interpreting the                 humanity, not god. The positive society
        claims of ethnomethodology is to see it as                would be governed by bankers and industri-
        asserting that people are far more competent              alists, guided by sociologists!
        than they are routinely acknowledged to be
        by social scientists who often take these
        everyday skills for granted.                              CONCEPT       A concept is an idea.
           Finally, in an ugly usage, those who are con-          Sociologists are concerned about concepts –
        cerned with developing people’s social and                the concept of the family or of power and so
        occupational skills – for example, in training            on – because various writers may use the
        service staff – have begun to speak of particu-           same term but mean different things by it.
        lar skills as ‘competences’, with competence or           Given that sociologists are in the business of
        competency as the singular form of the word.              trying to make systematic interpretations of

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          concomitant variation                                                                       conflict theory

          society it is important that their good work is          infants and children; this programme did
          not undermined by hiding competing con-                  not get very far.
          cepts behind the same term. Conceptual
          analysis – an analysis of precisely how the
          word ‘class’ is used, for example – can thus             CONFESSIONAL         TECHNOLOGIES         This
          be a key component of sociology.                         translation of a term coined by Michel
                                                                   Foucault, as with so much of his work, mis-
                                                                   leads as much as it informs. He does not
          CONCOMITANT VARIATION            This is a rather        mean ‘technologies’ at all; he means social
          clumsy way of denoting an empirical (that is,            practices (a combination of ideas and activi-
          actual rather than logical) relationship                 ties) which encourage people to see them-
          between two variables where the magnitude                selves as requiring or benefiting from the
          of one goes up or down in proportion with                assistance of psychiatrists, therapists, social
          the magnitude of the other. The effect of                workers and the like in becoming ‘normal’.
          heating a metal strip is a concomitant varia-            ‘Confessional’ is clear in that it borrows the
          tion in length and heat. Constant concomi-               Catholic Church notion that the burden of
          tance is what we have if the relationship                sin can be removed by admitting it to a pro-
          holds for all values of heat. If we persistently         fessional who has the power to prescribe
          find that (a) as people grow richer (b) they             rituals for its discharge. But ‘technologies’
          more frequently vote for a right-wing party,             seems to have been chosen to remind us of
          we have concomitant variation and can begin              Foucault’s claim that such methods of polic-
          to consider that (a) might cause (b). The sad            ing the self are peculiarly modern.
          fact for the social sciences is that, compared
          with the natural sciences, we very rarely find
          relationships of constant concomitance.                  CONFIDENCE INTERVAL           Sociologists often
                                                                   use a sample to try to understand the charac-
                                                                   teristics of a population as a whole. For exam-
          CONDITIONED REFLEX          See conditioning.            ple, if we wish to know how common car-theft
                                                                   is in the whole of France, we could ask a sam-
                                                                   ple of French people for their experience of car
          CONDITIONING       Conditioning is an impor-             theft. But the conclusion drawn from a sample
          tant aspect of work within the behaviourist              is unlikely to be exactly the same as it would
          school. Behaviourists were interested in                 be were we able to ask the whole population.
          studying human conduct as scientifically as              The confidence interval is a way of using the
          possible and believed that their approach                sample result to express a range of estimated
          must depend on analysing connections                     values for the population as a whole. We
          between observable inputs (or stimuli)                   might, for example, be able to say that we have
          and observable outputs (or responses).                   a 90 per cent confidence that the annual risk of
          Conditioning is a form of learning that can              car-theft is 8 plus or minus 2 per cent. That is,
          be observed in this scientific way. If a bell            our sample was sufficiently large and well
          rings before food appears for a dog, in time             selected that we think there is only a 1 in 10
          the dog will come to salivate just when the              chance that the overall population’s rate of car-
          bell rings, even in the absence of food; this            theft is more than 2 percentage points differ-
          is a conditioned reflex since previously the             ent from that detected in our sample.
          dog would not have salivated at the whim
          of a bell-ringer. Some behaviourists hoped
          to be able to understand aspects of human                CONFLICT THEORY     Any theoretical per-
          culture in terms of the conditioning of                  spective (such as Marxism or feminism)

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        conjugal roles                                                                    conspicuous consumption

        informed by the idea that society is                      myself but also conscious of how other
        dominated by a conflict of interest between               people may view me. Consciousness in this
        those who have access to wealth, power and                sense is part of the fabric of inter-subjectivity
        status and the rest, may be described as                  that binds people into a common, taken-for-
        a conflict theory. From its standpoint, there             granted world.
        are two implied contrasts. Other approaches
        (Parsonian structural-functionalism, for
        example) may be criticised for assuming too               CONSCRIPTION        Generally meaning being
        much consensus or (as with symbolic inter-                signed up for something against your will (or
        actionism) for ignoring power differentials.              in the US drafted), this more particularly
                                                                  denotes being required by the state to under-
                                                                  take military service. Most modern states
        CONJUGAL      ROLES      ‘Conjugal’ simply                maintain small professional armies and
        means ‘of marriage’ and the term refers to                reserve the right to conscript sections of the
        the reciprocal roles of marriage partners.                general population as required.

        CONSANGUINITY          Literally meaning ‘of              CONSENSUS; CONSENSUS THEORY           Denot-
        the same blood’, the term is used in anthro-              ing the existence within a group of funda-
        pology and in many legal systems to refer to              mental agreement about basic beliefs and
        a blood kinship tie. It is contrasted with ‘affi-         values, consensus is important in sociology
        nal’, so that my bond with my son is con-                 because beliefs about its extent identify a
        sanguineous while my bond with my wife is                 major fault line. Some sociologists (e.g.
        affinal. In some societies, degrees of consan-            Talcott Parsons) believe that shared values
        guinity are important for deciding the order              are vital to maintaining social order; others
        of inheritance or for regulating choice of                suppose that common interests or coercion
        marriage partners. Because they share more                play a larger part in explaining the persis-
        of ‘the same blood’, siblings are closer than             tence of social systems.
                                                                                               See conflict theory,
        CONSCIOUSNESS         Consciousness is a puzzle
        for scientists and philosophers since they are
        unclear how brains and minds are able to be               CONSERVATISM           The meaning of this is
        conscious of themselves. Nonetheless, con-                entirely situational in that, as a political doc-
        sciousness is a given for sociologists since it is        trine, it means defending the institutions, val-
        clear that people are, generally speaking, con-           ues and habits of the existing order. As a set of
        scious of themselves. As Erving Goffman has               political attitudes it means the opposite of
        so clearly documented, in our everyday lives              ‘radical’; it is a general disposition to support
        we monitor our social selves, consciously                 the status quo. As the world changes so too do
        thinking about not only whatever task or                  the things that conservatism wishes to defend.
        purpose we have in mind but also how other
        people view us. When I cannot find my car in
        the supermarket car park I may make a show                CONSPICUOUS CONSUMPTION            In his The
        of being lost and befuddled, not for my own               Theory of the Leisure Class, Thorstein Veblen
        benefit, but to indicate to other shoppers                (1899) argued that a defining characteristic
        that I am not prowling around, looking out                of the leisure class was that its members
        for cars to break into. I am conscious of                 purchased goods and services not for their

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          construct                                                                                content analysis

          obvious utility but for show: to demonstrate            the increasing affluence of modern societies
          that they could afford such things.                     and the shrinking of the presence of work in
                                                                  our lives means that consumption should be
                                    See positional goods.         studied as an important social phenomenon
                                                                  in its own right.

          CONSTRUCT        Construct is often a fancy                                      See consumer culture.
          word for an idea or concept. For example,
          some psychologists maintain that people
          build and maintain a relatively stable image            CONTAGION EFFECT          See copycat effect.
          of themselves; this is known as a ‘personal
          construct’. Generally, therefore, a construct is
          a special kind of idea: one that is durable and         CONTENT ANALYSIS            At its simplest, con-
          has been deliberately cultivated.                       tent analysis is the reduction of freely occur-
                                                                  ring text (e.g. a speech or a newspaper article)
                                                                  to a summary that can be analysed statisti-
          CONSTRUCTIONISM          See social construc-           cally. One may try to capture the essence of a
          tion of reality.                                        text by counting certain words. For example,
                                                                  we could analyse the respective place of reli-
                                                                  gion in US and British politics by comparing
          CONSUMER CULTURE          This rather vague
                                                                  the frequency of references to God in
          term refers to the idea that since the 1970s
                                                                  speeches to the respective legislatures. The
          wealthy capitalist societies have become
                                                                  problem, of course, is that the meaning of
          much more focused on consumption than
                                                                  words is rarely simple and the meaning of a
          production. Consumer culture refers both to
                                                                  text is rarely apparent from its words taken
          the interest that citizens have in the con-
                                                                  in isolation. Summarising a text in statistical
          sumption aspects of their life – their interest
                                                                  form may give a spurious appearance of objec-
          in fine dining, fashion, home improvement
                                                                  tivity to what is always an artful and creative
          and so on – and to the industries that have
                                                                  process of interpretation. The digitisation of
          developed to cater to this taste. Television
                                                                  text and the speed of the modern computer
          programmes that show you how to dress or
                                                                  allows the application of extremely sophisti-
          to do a ‘house makeover’ are part of con-
                                                                  cated analytical frames to texts but they do
          sumer culture, as are decorating magazines
                                                                  not remove the filter of interpretation. One
          and the supplements in newspapers devoted
                                                                  response is to have texts coded by a number
          to lifestyle enhancement.
                                                                  of operators and checked for consistency. This
                                                                  would still not give us the ‘correct’ reading of
          CONSUMPTION        Denoting the process in              a text or the intention of the speaker or writer
          which goods and services are used, consump-             but it does give us a consensus version.
          tion has been given markedly less attention                Although content analysis as such is not at
          than production by sociologists, for the good           fault, it is often associated with an evidential
          reason that since, in most societies to date,           weakness at the heart of much cultural
          people’s time and energy has been largely               analysis. Researchers may suppose that some
          taken up with work, their place in the pro-             text means the same to the audience as it
          duction process has greatly influenced much             does to them. They may also assume that the
          else about them, and few have had enough                text has the consequences for the audience
          discretionary income for consumption to rise            that they guess the producers of the text
          much above the bare necessities. Arguably               intended.

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        contest and sponsored mobility                                                                 control theory

        CONTEST AND SPONSORED MOBILITY              This           by the regularity of the world. Whether I enjoy
        contrast pair was used by R.H. Turner and                  the next film I see is a contingency. The word is
        L.M Killian (1960) to draw attention to dif-               also used as a synonym for ‘caused by’: as in ‘my
        ferent ways in which education could serve as              pleasure in the watching this film is contingent
        a channel for social mobility. The distinction             on there being no smoking in the cinema’.
        can be clearly seen in a comparison of the
        British state schooling system of the 1950s
        and that of the 1990s. In the 1950s children               CONTRADICTORY CLASS LOCATION                 The
        were tested at the age of 11. A small number               phrase was coined by US Marxist Erik Olin
        went to high quality schools where they were               Wright in his attempt to remedy the defects
        educated for university and financially and                of Karl Marx’s class model and to identify
        socially supported as they gained the qualifi-             which occupational groups might form
        cations for entry into elite positions. The                alliances with the working class in revolu-
        ‘comprehensive’ school system that largely                 tionary struggle. In the absence of a complete
        replaced the two-tier model in the 1970s                   polarisation of class around ownership of
        offered contest mobility: a much larger num-               capital, a variety of class locations are charac-
        ber of children were encouraged to compete                 terised by ‘contradictions’. For example,
        for access to universities and hence to the pro-           managers, like the workers they manage, are
        fessions. Experts may argue over exactly how               exploited by capitalists but, like capitalists,
        fair a contest is presented by any education               they exercise control over others. We are
        system but the distinction is a useful one.                tempted to say that Wright and others could
           The pair were also used to contrast the                 have saved themselves a great deal of reme-
        UK and US patterns of social mobility. As                  dial work by simply admitting Marx was
        part of a general contrast of the supposed old             wrong but Wright’s explorations of the com-
        class-ridden Europe and the new classless                  plexities of class have stimulated a great deal
        USA, social mobility rates in the US were                  of useful debate and comparative research.
        assumed to be much higher than in the UK
        and to involve more open competition. In                   CONTROL GROUP           Knowing how effective
        the UK the ruling class selected a small pro-              some change is requires that we have a base
        portion of the working class and ‘sponsored’               line against which to make comparisons. In
        its mobility. While there was some truth to                experiments to test new drug therapies, for
        the contrast, detailed empirical research                  example, cases are allocated randomly to the
        from the 1970s onwards suggested that the                  experimental group that will receive the treat-
        differences were exaggerated.                              ment and the control group that will be given
                                                                   a placebo. The former can thus be compared
                                                                   with the latter to identify the effects of the
        CONTINGENCY TABLE           See cross-tabulation.          therapy. In the ‘double-blind’ method neither
                                                                   the researchers nor the patients know which
                                                                   cases are in which group. Such experiments
        CONTINGENT           This means liable but not cer-
                                                                   are not possible in sociology but we can some-
        tain to happen. It can be used to stress unpre-
                                                                   times create something like a control group by
        dictability (as in ‘the contingencies of war’) but
                                                                   careful selection of cases to compare.
        in social science it more often signifies a real
        causal relationship rather than a connection by
        definition. It is certain to be the case that the          CONTROL THEORY        Traditionally most
        next triangle I find will have three sides because         explanations of crime have supposed that
        that is ensured by the definition of triangle, not         being law-abiding is the human default

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          controlling for                                                                    conversation analysis

          position and that criminality needs explaining.        comparing Catholics and Protestants within
          Travis Hirschi’s 1970s control theory of               each age group. We may well discover that
          crime starts at the other end. It supposes that        the initial correlation disappears.
          the potential for crime is widespread and                 Without the ability to create experimental
          that no special motives need be invoked to             controls, sociological attempts to create clear
          explain it. Most crime is opportunistic and            and uncontaminated comparisons rest on
          what mostly deters people are their attach-            selecting the cases to be compared so that
          ments to law-abiding parents and peers, their          they are alike in as much as possible except
          rational assessment of the risks and costs of          for the variables whose relationship we wish
          being caught, their involvement in others              to explore.
          things (put simply, if you are very busy with
          the swimming club you have less opportu-
                                                                 CONVERGENCE        THESIS      See industrial
          nity to become delinquent) and their beliefs
          (which for some will prevent delinquency).
          As we get older we acquire good reasons not
          to commit crimes (such as spouses and chil-            CONVERSATION         ANALYSIS      Conversation
          dren; commitment to a career; status in our            analysis (or CA as it is often known) grew out
          social circles and the like) that acts as con-         of ethnomethodology but is now in many
          trols on our actions. Putting it this way iden-        respects rather distant from ethnomethodo-
          tifies those groups that do not have much at           logical concerns. In their pioneering ethno-
          stake: the young and the poor.                         methodological studies Harold Garfinkel and
              In the 1990s, Hirschi amended his theory           Harvey Sacks were concerned to show how
          to give much greater weight to the role of             the orderliness of society is actively produced
          parenting, effective early socialisation, con-         by the actions of participants. Conversations
          science and self-control.                              became one arena for displaying this orderli-
                                                                 ness. For example, in a regular conversation no-
                                                                 one is in charge of the distribution of turns at
          CONTROLLING         FOR    Sociologists very           talking. But most conversations are remarkably
          rarely have the opportunity to construct               orderly, with little overlap and a series of
          experiments. Normally we work with ‘natu-              ‘turns’ for each speaker. Somehow the orderli-
          rally occurring’ research materials. We cannot         ness of conversation is spontaneously pro-
          study one human characteristic in isolation            duced by the speakers themselves.
          from others and hence it is always possible               Telephone conversations early on became
          that what we take to be a case of A causing            important to CA. In part this was because in a
          B may actually be a matter of C causing both           phone conversation all the speakers have to
          A and B. In a survey of church-going we dis-           go on is the preceding talk (and whatever
          cover that people who describe themselves              assumptions and background knowledge the
          as Catholics are more likely to go to church           speakers bring to their interaction); there are
          than those who describe themselves as                  no non-verbal cues. But it was also because
          Protestants. We might waste a lot of time              phone calls could be recorded and then the
          constructing an explanation for the greater            analyst would have virtually the same access to
          loyalty of Catholics before we notice that             the interaction as the participants themselves.
          through some accident of sampling our                  In fact, as the tapes could be replayed over and
          Catholics are markedly older than our                  over again, the analyst had something of an
          Protestants. We suspect that age has a strong          advantage over the conversationalists.
          effect on church-going so we ‘control’ for age            From these unfocused beginnings CA has
          by dividing our sample into age bands and              developed into a major branch of sociology.

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        conversion                                                                                conversion

        It has achieved at least three important              explanations can be grouped according to
        things. First, CA has uncovered a lot of the          the cause of change. In the early 1960s it was
        ways in which ordinary talk is structured, for        common to suppose that people who
        example through looking at how conversa-              abruptly changed beliefs had been ‘brain-
        tions are terminated, how topics are chosen           washed’; skilled manipulators could, by
        or avoided, and how special turns at talk             depriving people of sleep and food, scaring
        known as adjacency pairs (such as greetings)          them literally witless and seducing them
        operate. This work has even been influential          with the prospect of approval and reward,
        outside sociology, for example in linguistics         reduce people to a state of credulity and per-
        and psychology. Second, CA has been able to           suade them to accept ideas they would nor-
        throw light on institutional talk by compar-          mally find implausible. This was thought to
        ing specialised forms of talk – courtroom             have been done effectively by Chinese prison
        interrogation, pilots’ conversations with air-        guards to Americans captured during the
        traffic control, calls to emergency services –        Korean war. A careful reading of Robert
        with everyday talk. Many jobs are done                Lifton’s (1961) Thought Reform and the
        mainly through talk – even being a family             Psychology of Totalism or Edward Schein’s
        doctor is mostly talk – so CA has contributed         (1961) Coercive Persuasion reveals that no
        significantly to the sociology of work. Third,        such claims are made for brainwashing but
        CA has introduced innovations in the stan-            the idea became popular in the 1970s when
        dard of evidence available to sociologists.           large numbers of middle-class young people
        Not only do conversation analysts work on             (whom, it is implied, should have known
        recorded materials that can be thoroughly             better) briefly joined exotic new religious
        checked by other social scientists, they have         movements. The clearest evidence that
        also developed methodological tools to                movements such as the Moonies did not
        check the validity of their analyses. For             have the power to brainwash is that the vast
        example, if they claim that a greeting makes          majority of people whom the Moonies tried
        a return greeting normatively appropriate             to recruit did not convert and almost all
        in normal conversation, they can study this           members left within a few months.
        both by looking for examples of returned                 Sociologists have preferred one of two
        greetings and by looking for occasions when           approaches that correspond to the classic
        greetings are not returned. If on such occa-          divide over agency and structure. Some take
        sions the co-conversationalist treats the             a rather passive view of the convert and
        absence of a greeting as ‘trouble’ then the           explain conversion by pointing to antecedent
        conversation analyst has some form of inde-           problems (such as anomie), structural con-
        pendent warrant for her claims. For this              straints such as the strength of family and
        reason, conversation analysts often see their         friendship ties, and ties to advocates of the
        generalisations as more robust and better             new worldview. Others stress agency or free
        tested than those of other qualitative sociol-        will and see conversion as an accomplish-
        ogists, and they quite commonly see CA as a           ment. It is not something that happens to a
        highly scientific form of study.                      person but something a seeker achieves.
                                                                 An important general observation from the
                                                              study of conversion is that ideological change
        CONVERSION        This denotes a radical              may actually come late in the social process.
        change of beliefs, usually accompanied by a           Many ‘converts’ begin by playing the role of a
        corresponding change in attitudes, action and         believer with a degree of role-distance and
        personality. Explaining conversion is a major         only if they find the role satisfying do they
        concern of students of religion. Competing            gradually come to internalise the new beliefs.

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          cooley, charles horton (1864–1929)                                                           corporatism

             Conversion has been an important site                crimes. They can break the law (as when
          for developing ideas about the relationship             senior officials of a corporation instruct staff
          between accounts and actions. Rather than               to construct fraudulent accounts). They can
          naively taking what believers say about their           also inflict harm of a scale and nature which,
          conversions as raw material for explaining              were it done by an individual, would be
          them, we are aware that conversion testi-               regarded as a crime. For example, a corpora-
          monies are themselves a stylised and scripted           tion may cause serious damage to the health
          performance, designed for a purpose other               of its workers. Organisational crime should
          than merely explaining the past; like court-            be distinguished from white-collar crime
          room testimonies, they are intended to have             (which often involves crimes against employ-
          an effect on the hearer.                                ers; embezzlement is an example) and from
                                                                  organised crime.

          COOLEY, CHARLES HORTON (1864–1929)
          For modern purposes, the most important                 CORPORATION        From ‘corporal’ meaning
          part of Cooley’s work was his attempt to                ‘belonging to the body’, this denotes a group
          abolish the dualisms of society/individual              of people legally structured so as to act and
          and body/mind. He believed that the self                be treated as if it were a single person.
          and society could only be defined in relation           Normally a corporation would elect its own
          to each other: society inevitably shaped the            officers. Local governments, large businesses,
          individual; individuals constituted society.            a professional association; all of these may be
          His idea of the looking-glass self was taken            corporations.
          up by George Herbert Mead in his general
          theory of the self.
                                                                  CORPORATISM          When confronted with
                                                                  the increasing democratisation of politics at
          COPYCAT EFFECT         Also known as the con-           the end of the 19th century, the Catholic
          tagion or imitation effect, this is the sup-            Church promoted an alternative to mass pol-
          posed power of the mass media to create a               itics, which it saw as encouraging class con-
          rash of imitative behaviour. If a popular TV            flict. Its preferred model was the world of
          soap shows someone committing suicide by                the medieval guilds: groups with a common
          piping exhaust fumes into her car, then sui-            interest (businessmen, tradesmen, workers,
          cides by that method go up in the weeks                 farmers and the like) would each form a cor-
          afterwards. Outside the artificial setting of an        poration and the leaders elected from each
          experiment, such effects are notoriously hard           body would negotiate a division of political
          to prove. A practical difficulty is that much           power. Corporatism was popular with some
          of the evidence comes from people who, in               right-wing European politicians in the first
          being forced to account for some deviant or             half of the 20th century and informed some
          criminal act, blame it on prior example. We             of the more benign authoritarian regimes
          are then unsure if we have a genuine exam-              established in such states as Lithuania and
          ple of imitation or someone opportunisti-               Latvia in the 1930s.
          cally trying to evade responsibility.                       Latterly the term has come to be used to
                                                                  refer to one way in which modern states can
                                                                  be organised. In, for example, Germany (and
          CORPORATE CRIME           The phrase conveys            previously in West Germany) business lead-
          the point, often neglected in criminology,              ers, leading government politicians and trades
          that organisations can, in two senses, commit           union leaders met in regular forums to discuss

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        correlation                                                                                covert research

        policy initiatives, to settle major pay claims,         who ‘dropped out’ of the social, economic
        negotiate reform of welfare entitlements and            and cultural mainstream to live alternative
        so on. In the USA and post-1980 Britain, by             lifestyles. Common themes of the counter-
        contrast, relations between the executive and           culture included sexual freedom, recreational
        unions were more oppositional. For many                 drug use, criticism of conventional family life
        years it appeared that the corporatist model            or conventional occupations as sterile and
        worked better in delivering economic pros-              oppressive, and criticism of industrial capital-
        perity and extensive social welfare provision,          ism and western rationality. The counter-
        though the ability of corporatist states to             culture never posed a threat to the mainstream.
        cope with international economic competi-               Very few people dropped out entirely; for
        tion from low-wage countries and with the               most being a hippie was a weekend and holi-
        growing costs of the welfare state has recently         day pursuit. However, it was successful in
        come to appear questionable.                            promoting those cultural and social innova-
                                                                tions that were compatible with a modern
                                                                industrial economy. Sex outside marriage,
        CORRELATION        This denotes a regular rela-         recreational drug use, rock music, diversity in
        tionship between two variables. If our survey           dress styles, an interest in eastern religion; all
        data shows that the people with the highest             are incorporated in the mainstream.
        A also have the highest B, then we have a
        positive correlation between A and B. If they
        also had the lowest C, then we would say                COVERT      RESEARCH        Some styles of
        there is a negative correlation between A and           research are invariably public; people cannot
        C. Identifying correlations in data sets is,            complete a survey questionnaire without
        however, only the start of analysis. A correla-         being aware of it (though we can do subtle
        tion of itself does not tell us if A causes B, B        things with question placement). But it is pos-
        causes A or if both A and B are caused by               sible to study people without their knowl-
        some third unknown variable.                            edge. We could study a new religion by
           There are a variety of statistical measures          pretending to be a believer or watch and over-
        of correlation, each more or less suitable to           hear diners by working as a waiter. As Laud
        different sorts of data (see measurement,               Humphreys did in (1970) Tearoom Trade:
        levels of) with differing patterns of distribu-         Impersonal Sex in Public Places we could pre-
        tion. For example Pearson’s r is commonly               tend to interview people for one research pur-
        used to describe the correlation between two            pose while actually collecting some of that
        variables that have been measured on inter-             information for a quite different purpose.
        val or ratio scales where the values follow a              There are very good reasons for covert
        normal or bell-shaped distribution. When it             research. As was found with the Hawthorne
        is not possible to assign actual values to vari-        effect, knowing that they are being studied
        ables but only to place them in a rank order            may change the behaviour of the people we
        and when the distribution is not bell-shaped,           wish to study. Respondents may choose to
        Spearman’s rank correlation coefficient is              mislead us. If the purpose of participant
        more appropriate. The only thing the ama-               observation is to learn what life feels like for
        teur needs to know is that data must be                 a member of some sect, declaring that inten-
        described with an appropriate statistic.                tion may well compromise the research
                                                                because, even if other members are happy
                                                                with being studied, they are unlikely to treat
        COUNTER - CULTURE     In the 1960s this                 the researching participant in the same way
        term was popularly used to describe people              as they would treat ordinary members.

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          covert research, ethics of                                                                  criminology

          Finally, being undercover may well be the                 One sensible way of settling the ethical
          only way to study groups engaged in deviant            dilemma is to consider if the activity or
          or criminal behaviour that are powerful                group in question is public or private. If a
          enough to control access. In brief, covert             new religion claims that we are all doomed if
          research may be the only way to acquire cer-           we fail to follow its revelations and aims to
          tain information and experiences.                      recruit from the general public, it seems rea-
                                                                 sonable for the covert researcher to join it
                                                                 and study it because the new religion has
          COVERT RESEARCH , ETHICS OF             Led by         placed itself in the public domain. Given the
          the example of medical research, where it is           general requirement to respect privacy, spy-
          now standard to require that those studied             ing on people who have not put themselves
          give their informed consent, some sociolo-             in the public domain seems harder to defend.
          gists argue that covert or hidden research is
          always unethical and that social researchers                                   See ethics of research.
          should identify themselves as such. While
          this may seem a reasonable requirement, for
          the reasons given in the previous entry, it            CRIME       Crime is that particular subset of
          would close off important parts of the world.          deviance or failure to conform to rules where
             Rather too much can be made of the ethi-            the rules in question are legal codes. This def-
          cal problems of covert research. After all,            inition could be operationalised in a thor-
          unlike medical research, most social research          oughly pragmatic way by treating as crime
          is not doing anything to people. If it remains         only that which the appropriate legal author-
          truly covert and identities are so well dis-           ities have determined is criminal, but many
          guised on publication that those who have              sociologists would regard that as unduly
          been studied never become aware of it, it is           restrictive and wish to include acts which in
          difficult to see what harm is done to our sub-         some sense or other should have been
          jects. Second, covert researchers often act out        regarded as crimes. This then introduces the
          fully the roles they have adopted as they con-         complexity that the actor, the agent of social
          duct their research. That they reflect more            control, and the observer may differ in their
          professionally and rigorously on their experi-         judgement either of general principles
          ences and observations than do the people              (should pollution be treated as a crime?) or
          they work alongside does not of itself make            of specific instances (would this act have
          them that different from their subjects. In the        been treated as a crime had it come before a
          research reported in his classic Organization          different judge or jury?).
          Man, William H. Whyte (1956) worked for a
          number of corporations and did a perfectly
          good job. That he also kept notes on what he           CRIMINOLOGY        Less an ‘ology’ than a sub-
          did and observed and drew inferences from              stantive area of interest explored from a vari-
          them caused no disruption to the firms for             ety of disciplinary perspectives, criminology
          which he worked. We may scruple that he                has undergone an important expansion in its
          sometimes led people on (for example                   scope since the 1970s. Initially criminologists
          promising to assist a female secretary in her          took a rather narrow view of their field, taking
          amorous pursuit of a friend in return for some         for granted the laws, the infraction of which
          indiscretion over personnel files) but this            constituted crimes, and concentrating on try-
          could be defended on the grounds that had              ing to explain why some people broke the
          he not been a researcher, he might well have           law. More recently, criminologists have also
          done the same thing for less good reasons.             studied the creation of law and its differential

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        criminology                                                                            critical criminology

        enforcement and punishment. For example,                 allowing young people to be socialised into
        feminist criminologists have pointed to the              criminal values.
        patriarchal nature of attitudes to domestic                 Marxists have developed a critical crimi-
        violence. Until the last quarter of the 20th             nology that stresses the class basis of the def-
        century the legal systems of many western                inition and punishment of crime. Feminists
        countries regarded the violence inflicted by             have raised important questions about the
        men on their spouses as a private matter. As             role of women as perpetrators and as victims
        an example of differential enforcement we                of crime and have drawn attention to the
        may note that in the USA blacks are often                previously neglected topic of the influence of
        given more severe sentences than whites for              gender on the social definition of crime.
        apparently similar offences.                                For the good reason that this is what scares
            Explanations of crime have followed the              most people, criminology has traditionally
        contours of well-established general models              been concerned with crimes of violence,
        for explaining other sorts of conduct. Cesare            theft, robbery and burglary. One of the most
        Lombroso believed that criminality was genet-            useful contributions of sociology (since
        ically transmitted and that criminals could be           Edwin Sutherland coined the term ‘white-
        recognised by head and face shape. Each soci-            collar crime’ in 1939 through to the work of
        ological perspective has its preferred approach          Richard Quinney) had been to draw our
        to crime. Some functionalists have stressed the          attention to the very large amount of middle-
        role of poor parenting and faulty socialisation          class crime that stretches from small-scale
        in preventing the inculcation of law-abidingness.        office fiddling to the major scandal of the
        Others have followed Emile Durkheim in                   2002 collapse of the Enron energy corpora-
        suggesting that, although too much would be              tion. It is clear that while certain kinds of
        harmfully disruptive, some crime is useful in            crime may be more common among the
        giving upright citizens regular opportunities            working class and the poor than among the
        to display their shared commitment to                    middle class, criminality itself is not confined
        decency. Rather against the structural-                  to any particular class, gender, race or status
        functionalist tendency to stress the integration         group. Criminologists have also tried out new
        of institutions, Robert K. Merton pointed out            methods for the study or crime, including vic-
        that crime could be a reasonable response to             tim studies – which focus on people’s experi-
        failures of the social structure evenly to pro-          ences of crime rather than on officially
        vide legitimate means to achieve the cultural            recorded infractions – and longitudinal studies
        goals which American society offered evenly              that follow cohorts of people to map when in
        to all citizens. In his view certain types of            their life-course they are most deviant and
        crime were not so much alien intrusions as by-           liable to be charged with criminality.
        products of features of the social structure
        itself. The main contribution of symbolic inter-
        actionism is focused not so much on initial              CRITICAL CRIMINOLOGY         Also known as
        criminal acts as on the unintended conse-                radical criminology, this 1970s development
        quences of societal reaction to criminality. The         from the sociology of deviance argued that
        point, now accepted by most social control               much crime was a reasonable reaction of
        agencies, is that to respond to the crimes of            exploited and dispossessed people to the
        the young by excluding perpetrators from                 inequities of capitalist society. In the US
        conventional roles and forcing them into                 Richard Quinney was a leading exponent of
        the company of professional criminals, may               this view; in the UK, Ian Taylor, Paul Walton
        well encourage further crime by reducing                 and Jock Young’s (1975) The New Criminology
        opportunities for non-criminal careers and               was a pioneering text.

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          critical realism                                                                             critical theory

             The critical criminologists were reason-             since we are often in the business of testing
          ably accused of romanticising crime and of              the lay explanations that people offer for
          finding revolutionary intent in action that             their actions and of trying to expose the hid-
          was actually far more exploitative and dam-             den causes and consequences of social action
          aging to the working class than anything                and social arrangements, self-proclaimed crit-
          done by capitalists. Young later came to                ical sociologists often distinguish themselves
          appreciate this and coined the term left real-          by having an overt political agenda. All too
          ism for a view of working-class crime that              often they are conspicuously uncritical about
          much more honestly recognised that it really            their own political preferences.
          did have victims and that most victims were
          poorer and weaker than those who vic-
          timised them.                                           CRITICAL THEORY          Though the term ‘crit-
                                                                  ical’ is a label that has sometimes been used
                                                                  to designate any sociological theory that is
          CRITICAL REALISM         Developed mostly in            critical of the status quo (critical sociology),
          Britain in the 1970s and 1980s, critical real-          critical theory has a more technical mean-
          ism is a school of Marxist thought anchored             ing. Critical theorists claim that their
          in philosophical analysis. Authors such as              sociological work is both a description of con-
          Roy Bhaskar used philosophical arguments                temporary society and a critique of it. To many
          about realism to suggest that success in the            mainstream (particularly North American)
          natural sciences comes about when scientists            sociologists this appears to confuse a descrip-
          identify the real causes that underlie regular-         tion of facts with a judgement about values,
          ities in the natural world. From here it is a           and thus to violate the ideal of value neutral-
          short step to the idea that good sociology too          ity in scientific thought. However, critical the-
          must identify the underlying casual powers.             orists argue that we are able to apply rational
          Critical realists thus derived a ‘template’ for         analysis to matters of value as well as to those
          what social scientific explanations should              of fact. Indeed the sociologist fails to fulfil
          look like and then proceeded to argue that a            their ethical role if they apply critical thinking
          version of Marxism was the form of sociol-              only to facts and not to values.
          ogy best suited to identifying the causal pow-              In particular, the very same rational tools
          ers driving social change.                              that we apply in analysing society are said to
                                                                  contain an approach to thinking about values
                                                                  as well. The social theorists of the Frankfurt
          CRITICAL SOCIOLOGY         This is an umbrella          School maintained that we can apply the
          term used to designate sociological work                same rational approach to thinking about
          which sees itself as critical of the economic,          justice, exploitation and fairness as we apply
          social and political organisation of contem-            to analysing society empirically. Jürgen
          porary societies. Most critical sociologists are        Habermas took this further by finding (or
          approximately Marxist in their orientation              claiming to find) the value criteria within
          though many feminists would be happy to be              the very language of analysis. According to
          so described also. Beyond this basic outlook            Habermas, academic inquiry, and more gen-
          critical sociologists need not have much in             erally the search for truth, presupposes an
          common and lack the specific philosophical              ‘ideal speech situation’ (or ISS) of unfettered
          basis for their critique that is to be found in         speech; within this ISS we can find ethical
          critical theory.                                        values already presupposed by the way we
             Given that a certain degree of scepticism            conduct our analysis. In this way, critical the-
          is a pre-requisite for nearly all sociology,            orists claim to study society empirically but

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        cross-tabulation                                                                               cultural capital

        also to be able to conduct a political and                     Making inferences from the spread of data
        cultural critique of society and social institu-            in a contingency table obviously gets more
        tions at the same time. For most critical the-              complex the greater the number of variables
        orists, this is to fulfil a key task that Karl Marx         we wish to consider and how finely divided
        set himself: to produce an authoritative                    each of them is, which is why we input
        description of society which was simultane-                 data into programmes such as SPSS and use
        ously a critique of that society’s limitations.             computer-generated statistics to ask the sorts
        All critical theory thus challenges the                     of questions of the data which, in the simple
        fact/value distinction and claims that the                  model given here, we can pick out by eye.
        systematic analysis of society predisposes us
        towards certain values and away from others
        (such as arbitrary authority). Contemporary                 CULT     See religious organisations.
        mainstream political theorists such as
        Charles Taylor have a lot of sympathy with
        this line of reasoning even if they don’t call              CULTURAL        CAPITAL      Pierre Bourdieu
        themselves critical theorists.                              introduced this concept to draw attention to
                                                                    the importance for social mobility and social
                                                                    differentiation of assets other than wealth
        CROSS - TABULATION         This describes the               and political power. He argued that middle-
        simplest way of looking for a connection                    class parents were able to pass on to their
        between two or more variables: we look                      children (hence the capital metaphor) the
        across a table. In what is called a contingency             great asset of understanding and exemplify-
        table, the following table gives some fictional             ing the middle-class culture that informed
        data for the social class of fathers and sons;              the education system.
        the columns of the table describe the father’s                  Analysts of cultural capital present it as an
        class and for each column the row cell shows                asset in three ways. Most obviously, speaking
        what percentage of sons have that class. If all             in the same way and possessing the same stock
        sons had the same class as their fathers the                of cultural knowledge as teachers is likely to
        numbers in the diagonal running from top                    make middle-class children better thought of.
        left to bottom right would be 100 and the                   That their homes and schools share the same
        other cells would be empty. The size of the                 cultural background also makes middle-class
        numbers in cells on either side of the diago-               children feel more comfortable and confident
        nal gives us a rough idea of how far the                    in the school system. But there is a more sub-
        actual inheritance of class varies from that.               tle effect: simply because they are more famil-
                                                                    iar, middle-class children are often credited
                                                                    with greater intelligence and skill than objec-
                                                                    tive measures would suggest they possess. Or
                                       Father’s Class
                                                                    to present the same point from the other side,
                             Class 1    Class 2    Class 3          without necessarily intending to, teachers
                                                                    often under-estimate the competence of
          Son’s Class (%)
                                                                    working-class children by taking the lack
          Class 1              60          20           10          of surface cultural competence as a sign of
                                                                    underlying inadequacy.
          Class 2              20          60           10
                                                                        Plausible though these ideas are, Bourdieu’s
          Class 3              20          20           80          claims are not well supported by large-scale
                                                                    empirical research on social mobility. If cul-
          Total               100        100        100
                                                                    tural capital is very important we should

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          cultural deprivation theory                                                                         culture

          have seen the link between social class of                scholars talk seriously of a threat to weaker
          origin and educational attainment strengthen              nation-states. It is certainly true that US
          considerably over time; in international stud-            media products dominate the market but it
          ies this appears not to be the case.                      does not automatically follow that they are
                                                                    persuasive. The popularity of Islamic funda-
                                                                    mentalist attacks on the USA shows that many
          CULTURAL DEPRIVATION THEORY                 In the        people can take US culture as an enemy to
          1950s and 1960s it was common for the fail-               be opposed rather than as a friend to be imi-
          ure of the children of the working class and of           tated. Even when there is a positive correla-
          some ethnic minorities in the USA and the                 tion between western media penetration and
          UK to perform as well as white middle-class               social change (for example, an increase in
          children to be explained by their cultural                individual assertiveness) this need not mean
          deprivation: the failure of the home and the              that the first caused the second. At least
          neighbourhood to provide appropriate (primar-             some of what are called western values (e.g.
          ily linguistic) skills and suitable encouragement.        a desire for greater personal freedom) are
          The idea remains popular with right-wing                  quite likely to become more popular as
          politicians and educationalists but has fallen            increasing prosperity allows their expression,
          out of favour with sociologists, who are gener-           and increasing prosperity permits greater
          ally reluctant to endorse the value judgement             consumption of electronic media products.
          implicit in describing as inadequacy what may             Some of what is taken to be cultural imperi-
          just be cultural difference. Pierre Bourdieu’s            alism may be internally-driven change.
          cultural capital serves the same purpose of
          explaining educational failure by the gulf
          between some home cultures and the culture                CULTURAL PLURALISM           Like its close rela-
          of the school without supposing that the latter           tive ‘multiculturalism’, this term both
          is the standard against which home back-                  describes and promotes. As description it
          grounds should be measured.                               refers to a situation of a plurality of cultures
                                                                    (with the implication that they are co-existing
                                                                    tolerantly): that of New York where a large
          CULTURAL DOPES          Theoretical approaches            number of religious, ethnic and linguistic
          such as structural-functionalism and Marxism              groups live side-by-side is an example. The
          have been criticised for viewing people as                term is also used to describe a deliberate pol-
          little more than passive carriers of features of          icy of encouraging awareness and acceptance
          the social structure, shaped by social forces             of alternative cultures.
          beyond their control and often beyond even
          their knowledge. The phrase ‘cultural dopes’
          was coined by Harold Garfinkel as a way of                CULTURE       The culture of a society is the
          focusing attention on the error at the heart of           totality of its shared beliefs, norms, values,
          structuralist theories.                                   rituals, language, history, knowledge and
                                                                    social character. Although very broad in
                                                                    scope, the term usually has the clear sense of
          CULTURAL IMPERIALISM           This is the                excluding the economy, the polity and those
          imposition of American or western values                  elements of the social structure least requir-
          upon non-western societies, largely through               ing constant re-affirmation. It implies those
          the export of mass media products. US-based               things that are conscious, that are kept in
          trans-national media and communications                   being only because we choose to maintain
          now dominate so much of the world that                    them. Although many elements of our culture

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        culture of poverty                                                                              customs

        confront us as external things apparently               ethnography, arguing that far from being
        outside our control (e.g. we are born into a            fatalistic, shanty town dwellers often worked
        language which we more or less automati-                together to make the best of their difficult
        cally adopt) there is a sense in which we can           circumstances.
        change our culture much more easily than                   The argument about the relative weight in
        the economy or the polity.                              causing poverty of culture and social struc-
           The term also implies a contrast in the              ture periodically returns in new guises. In the
        other direction: inward. That which is entirely         1980s there was concern about the existence
        a matter of biology is not culture. Culture is a        of a self-reproducing ‘underclass’ whose
        human creation into which we are socialised             members lacked any great familiarity with
        and which we can, with some effort, modify.             paid work and were dependent on either
           In common usage the term refers to the               crime or welfare. In the late 1990s, the argu-
        more sophisticated expressions of human                 ment was made cross-cultural when, as an
        creativity – opera, ballet, orchestral music –          alternative to the view that the enduring
        and preceding adjectives can identify alterna-          poverty of the Third World was a result of
        tives such as mass culture, low culture and             western imperialism, scholars began to
        popular culture.                                        explore the possibility that differences in
                                                                economic development might be at least
                                                                partly caused by internal features of societies.
        CULTURE OF POVERTY           The phrase was
        originally used by Oscar Lewis in the early
                                                                                                See underclass.
        1960s to express the idea that poverty cre-
        ated its own distinctive culture which inhib-
        ited the development of attitudes and                   CUSTOMS         Denoting the established
        practices that would allow people to rise               norms and patterns of behaviour of a partic-
        above it. Fatalism was one such restraint.              ular society, the term often implies patterns
        Lewis was challenged by scholars who                    of behaviour that are very old (and some-
        stressed the structural causes of poverty               what redundant) and characteristic of a par-
        (especially in the developing world) and by             ticular society: Appalachian customs, rural
        others who questioned the accuracy of his               Japanese customs.

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