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NONTHEMATIC / Vol. 53, No. 3 (Fall 1986)

Arien Mack, Editor

“About ten years ago, a few years after I became Editor of Social Research, we made the difficult decision to give up the book review section of the journal… In an attempt to partially make up for this, we have decided to devote most of an issue to a series of review essays.”

Notes the place of urban history and life in the development of social, demographic, political, and economic history, reviewing several existing works on urban history, stressing the need for more research into the impact of cities on global development, and using the myth of Gilgamesh to point out the conflicts inherent in the process of urban development.

The title of this survey feels wrong, and the reasons are easy to assign. The book that interprets the work of an author, the study in practical criticism that is widely read by non specialists, has ceased to be a kind of success that commands attention.

[Reprinted in 70th Anniversary issue, 71:3] Professional trend watchers cannot have failed to notice the appearance of a novel interpretive social science, and much must already have been written to introduce this literature to the public. This essay is concerned with the implications of an image that invariably turns up in the writings of the new interpreter's, “the hermeneutic circle.”

During the past two decades or so, an effort of recovery has been carried out which has made available to us the true intellectual essence of what may very well be, in the field of social theory, the single most influential book of the past two centuries: Das Kapital.

Reviews and compares existing works on American religious history, noting the new interest in the subject in recent years and suggesting new topics for research within the field.

The three parts of this title accurately indicate the content of this paper. I propose to discuss each separately, then show how they interconnect. First, the problem of action is a fundamental one for sociology. A cluster of problems quite crucial to social analysis are concerned with interpretation of what it is to be a human agent, of the sorts of activity appropriate to human conduct, and how these might be linked to institutions.


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