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William Outhwaite and Tom Bottomore

Subject Sociology

DOI: 10.1111/b.9780631221647.2002.00002.x


A dictionary of modern social thought must necessarily range very widely, from the social sciences to philosophy, political theories and doctrines, cultural ideas and movements, and to the influence of the natural sciences. In compiling the present work we have tried to encompass this vast field by commissioning entries on three themes: first, the major concepts which figure in social thought; second, the principal schools and movements of thought; and third, those institutions and organizations which have either been important objects of social analysis, or have themselves engendered significant doctrines and ideas. Much of the dictionary is devoted to particular bodies of thought that have been influential in the past century: individual social sciences, philosophical schools, political doctrines, distinctive styles of art and literature. In each of these cases a long general entry is supplemented by other entries which elaborate specific aspects of the ideas and theories involved; thus, for example, the entry on economics is further developed in entries on the diverse schools and concepts which have emerged in economic thought, and similarly the entry on Marxism is complemented by entries on various forms that this body of theory and doctrine has assumed. Indeed, all the major spheres of social thought have developed and proliferated historically, and we have aimed to incorporate ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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