Intellectual leaders

In 2005 the Nouvel Observateur published a special issue devoted to "25 grands penseurs du monde entier" -- 25 great global thinkers. (The issue was published separately as Le monde selon les grands penseurs actuels.) The selection of thinkers was excellent: Stanley Cavell, Souleymane Diagne, Nestor Garcia Canclini, Sudhir Kakar, Vladimir Kantor, José Gil, Ian …

Social change in rural China

Contemporary China is a vivid demonstration of the fact that sociology is not a "finished" science. The processes of change that are underway in both rural and urban settings are novel and contingent. Existing sociological theory does not provide a basis for conceptualizing these processes according to a few simple templates -- modernization, urbanization, structural …

Coverage of the social sciences

Suppose we took the view that the social sciences ought to provide sufficient conceptual and methodological tools to analyze and explain any kind of social behavior. This would be a certain kind of completeness: not theoretical or explanatory completeness, in the sense of having a finished set of theories that can explain everything, but conceptual …

Collective behavior and resource mobilization theory

The study of collective behavior and social movements has been a central sub-discipline of sociology since the 1970s. This is understandable for several reasons -- first, because collective behavior is inherently an important sociological process, and second, because the 1960s and 1970s witnessed particularly significant social movements in the US and other parts of the …

Biography and personality psychology

Think about the relationship between researching a biography of a complex individual and compiling a set of theories about personality development. The individual, Mr. X, is a particular person whose life and personality took shape through a long series of contingent happenings. The biographer's task is to arrive at some insights into Mr. X's motivations …

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