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THE CONCEPT OF ORDER IN THE SOCIAL SCIENCES / Vol. 60, No. 2 (Summer 1993)

July 1, 1993

Arien Mack, Editor

 

Table of Contents

 

Deborah Poole
Introduction

 

Jonathan Friedman
Order and Disorder in Global Systems: A Sketch

This article offers observation on various global disorder. The disorder is related to the dissolution of more encompassing structures and in all cases the result is the increasing integration of lower-order units, the emergence of new solidarities, new political units and as a result, new and increasing scope for conflicts. The entities that are usually spoken of as constituents of global social reality are commonly understood as socially constructed aspects to total social processes. They are practiced and must be continuously so in order to exist at all. 

 

Elizabeth Fox-Genovese
From Separate Spheres to Dangerous Streets: Postmodernist Feminism and the Problem of Order

This article examines the postmodernist feminism and the problem of order. The postmodernist critique of modernism, upon which postmodernist feminists are increasingly drawing, faults modernism for having cognitively and epistemologically divided the world into dichotomous or binary pairs. The tendency to elide the specific power relations of modernism with relations of power in general may emerge even more sharply from feminist postmodernism than from postmodernism in general. The problems with postmodernist feminism do not arise from the plausibility of its descriptions of accelerating fragmentation and atomization of previous concepts of order. 

 

William Milberg

Natural Order and Postmodernism in Economic Thought

This article explores the grounding economics in natural law. Grounding the economy in nature is ultimately to leave it ungrounded since nature is indeterminate. As economic categories are posited as natural, the conception of nature must take on these social characteristics. The early neoclassical economists overturned the classical conception of the individual but retained its emphasis on the natural ground of economic phenomena and the natural order of the economic sphere. The proper scope of pure economics is the determination of the scarcity-based exchange values and the analysis of the possibility of a general equilibrium resulting from the regime of exchange values.

 

Hugh Gusterson
Realism and the International Order After the Cold War

This article offers observation on realism and the international order after the Cold War. The state of nature is itself a cultural artifact and war, balances of power and nuclear deterrence are not forced responses to anarchy but rather elaborate social institutions produce by an international system that has evolved over many centuries and is sustained by complex, powerful and deeply rooted discourses and practices. The international system, far from being an anarchic void outside culture, is itself a transnational cultural system that socializes and produces states and their leaders to behave, talk, negotiate, fight and threaten in particular, culturally patterned ways.

 

Benjamin S. Orlove
Putting Race in Its Place: Order in Colonial and Postcolonial Peruvian Geography

This article discusses the importance of images of order within the social sciences by examining the case of Peru's geography. A comparison of the radically different systems of geographical thought in the Spanish colonial and independent republican periods suggest that the distinct images of order in each period can be best understood, not as reflections of the underlying order of geographical phenomena on the earth's surface but as the products of the specific social, cultural and political contexts in which these geographies developed. 

 

Pauline Vaillancourt Rosenau and Harry C. Bredemeier
Modern and Postmodern Conceptions of Social Order

This article examines the modern and postmodern conceptions of social order. It is axiomatic that physical principles govern the relations among physical elements; biochemical principles govern the relations among biological elements; and cultural and social-psychological principles govern the relations among human social elements. Social order concerns the relations of socialized persons and their actions to one another. The principles governing those relations are of two kinds. The more familiar and obvious kind are cultural principles, consisting of the rules of the various games people play, from the manners to the morals of art, science and technology and all other social behaviors.

 

Daniel Little

Evidence and Objectivity in the Social Sciences

This article emphasizes the evidence and objectivity in the social sciences. The review of some of the empirical methods available to the social sciences is intended to support the idea that social science research can lead to hypotheses and theories that are approximately true of the social world and that the empirical procedures of the social sciences often give the people to accept those hypotheses and theories. The arguments supporting the possibility of objective, empirically controlled social inquiry should not be understood overly broadly, however. 

 

Eviatar Zerubavel

Horizons: On the Sociomental Foundations of Relevance

This article examines the sociomental foundations of relevance. The remarkable power of society to relegate long stretches of history to irrelevance is even more blatantly evident in the rather peculiar case of the statute of limitations. The very notion of such a statute entails the curious image of a historical horizon beyond which even indisputably criminal acts can nevertheless be ignored by society because they are basically situated in some prehistorical past that can be officially forgotten altogether. 

 

 

 

 

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