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FRONTIERS IN SOCIAL INQUIRY / Vol. 59, No. 4 (Winter 1992)

Arien Mack, Editor

This issue is entirely devoted to papers at the Graduate Faculty of The New School. These papers represent the personal views and tastes of the Graduate Faculty. There is no common theme, only shared concern for the future of social inquiry.

This article discusses history, human nature and possibility of progress and socialism in the future. To ask whether progress is possible requires definitions. Since the early nineteenth century, progress has been largely perceived as a movement along an axis one of whose poles was labeled Early Capitalism or Late Feudalism, and the other Advanced Capitalism or Socialism. The great historical trajectory of Western society was seen to be leftward, meaning institutional movement first into, then through, and finally beyond capitalism. Socialism is organizationally feasible over a considerable range of formats. The difficulty with respect to all of them is how to make the transition from the existing state.

This article discusses the possible future of the European Community. Across a continent in which hundreds of geographically concentrated linguistic, religious, and ethnic populations some claim to distinctness, one can imagine three different futures: (1) proliferation of states matching bellicose and/or diplomatically successful of those populations; (2) continuation of the long-term trend toward consolidation into a decreasing number of homogenizing states, being a single homogeneous state; and (3) detachment principle of cultural distinctness from that of statehood.

This article discusses the significance of the efforts of political scientists to write about the history of the US. Just as historians Thomas Bender and William Leuchtenburg were summoning their colleagues to rediscover political subjects and to find the courage to write large-scale accounts of the US regime, a growing number of scholars in political science began to reverse their field's flight from history to write about the US society in works of large scope which were published in the journal Studies in American Political Development.

This article discusses the theory of social evolution. The Marxist version of evolutionary theory is historical materialism. The theory of social evolution answers all the questions that a full theory of social development must address. Social evolution theory postulates the development of society through stages and it is obliged to describe accurately what the stages in society have been and are. An attempt to skip a stage in social evolutionary development could only result, first, in terror and, ultimately, in collapse as in the case of the Soviet Union.

This article focuses on the state of sociology in the US and its possible future. No one can say at this point what directions the US society will take in the next couple of decades. And because sociology is so much a part of the US society, its future, as well, must be labeled uncertain at this point in time. There is certainly the possibility that, because of its internal divisions and external image, sociology could find itself without much of a future at all. If so, the loss would be great, for the quality of the work is higher than the public image generally allows. Another possible future is a return to the golden age. But, the surest prediction seems to be one of continued mixed messages.

This article discusses the reasons for the lack of reform in mainstream economics and its consequences. Despite the fact that the pioneers of new ideas have tended to be among the already established members of the economics profession, the dominant culture and core curriculum of both mainstream and traditional Marxist economics have remained formalistic and static. The consequences of this stagnation are serious, and have not remained cloistered in academe. The costs of unreconstructed orthodoxy within the heterodox tradition are the lost opportunities to build a credible alternative to mainstream thinking.

This is a time of increasing medicalization of psychiatry. I have heard reports to this effect from departments of psychiatry as far away as Turkey. It is time also, of curtailment of clinical study in academic psychology departments. This trend in both places is a diminished interest in the psychology of of psychopathology in general, but it particularly involves a diminished psychoanalytic influence.

This article focuses on the development and resurgence of pragmatism in the US. There is not only a resurgence of pragmatic themes and a growing interest in the classical pragmatists which extends far beyond the boundaries of academic philosophy departments, there are the beginnings of a more subtle, complex narrative of philosophy in the US that brings out the continuity and persistence of the pragmatic legacy. Pragmatism is the most distinctive philosophic movement to emerge in the country. It is important to appreciate how this movement is at once rooted in the US culture and also sharply critical of the failures of the US society.

This article discusses the anthropological perspectives on the debate over multiculturalism. Some of the positions and assertions of contributors to the literature on multiculturalism stand in ambivalent, contradictory, or antagonistic relation to the work of anthropologists. Some multiculturalists are challenging the work, and sometimes the persons, of anthropologists. Anthropological work in cultural history can offer an important challenge to some of the multiculturalists' assertions. A discussion of the three necessary dimensions of an intercultural understanding is presented. The three dimensions can be seen to characterize a historical movement in US anthropology from the early twentieth century.


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