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NONTHEMATIC / Vol. 55, No. 4 (Winter 1988)

January 2, 1989

Arien Mack, Editor 

 

Agnes Heller 

The Moral Situation in Modernity

Philosophers have always disagreed on the essence of human nature, the origins of morals, and the interpretation of virtues and vices. As a result, they have tended to disagree on their moral recommendations. But when, conversely, it came to describing the moral status of the world, their agreement was overwhelming.

 

Louis A. Sass

The Self and Its Vicissitudes: An "Archaeological" Study of the Psychoanalytic Avant-Garde

The "self," once banished by mainstream psychology to the cloudland of unobservable and irrelevant abstractions, seems to have returned with a vengeance. Not only in psychoanalysis, but also in empirically harder-nosed fields like cognitive, behavioral, and social psychology, the nature and nurturing of the self has become a central concern-the stimulus for an outpouring of new theories, therapies, and research.

 

Linda Gordon

What Does Welfare Regulate?

Four books by Frances Fox Piven and Richard A. Clowardl virtually defined the way that radicals thought about welfare policy and welfare rights movements since the 1960s, and the result was a great advance in the analysis of this aspect of the modern state.

 

Frances Fox Piven and Richard A. Cloward

Welfare Doesn't Shore Up Traditional Family Roles: A Reply to Linda Gordon

As welfare-state programs expanded in the postwar period, so did efforts by academics to explain why. Most interpretations, whatever their other disagreements, rooted the growth and elaboration of the welfare state in the institutional dynamics of industrial capitalism. Our own approach, for example, traced welfare-state programs to the class conflicts generated by capitalist labor markets.

 

Aristide R. Zolberg

The Roots of American Refugee Policy

Reviews the history of US refugee legislation, noting the inherent contradiction of the modern federal government's role as an international actor participating in the creation of refugee movements and as judge of who shall enter. A major theme of this paper is that the politicization of refugee policy then and now is not happenstance; across a span of two centuries, the issues involved share a family resemblance stemming from the fact that decisions concerning the granting of asylum to particular groups are embedded in more comprehensive stands on domestic politics and foreign policy.

 

Miklos Szabo

Problems of Hungarian National Consciousness in the Second Half of the 20th Century

Examines problems of Hungarian national self-image in the postwar decades, focusing on attempts to come to terms with the nation's lost territory, fascist past, ethnic composition, and "tragic role" in Central Europe.

 

Tamas Bauer

Reforming or Perfecting the Economic Mechanism

This paper is about changes in the economic mechanisms of East European centrally planned economies. First, a few remarks will be made concerning changes in the economic mechanisms in general, including a brief survey of the historical sequence of major changes. Next, a distinction between two major types of changes: perfecting and reforming the economic mechanism will be introduced and explained.

 

Jon D. Wisman, John Willoughby, and Larry Sawers

The Search for Grand Theory in Economic History: North's Challenge to Marx

Positivist canons of appropriate scientific procedure have, for some time, kept "grand theories" of history out of favor, especially in the English-speaking world. Positivists argued that the sweeping propositions of grand theories were not empirically testable and that therefore they must be judged as belonging to the domain of metaphysics as opposed to the domain of science.

 

Nader Saiedi

Agency and Freedom in Neofunctionalist Action Theory: A Critique

The recent resurgence of interest in Parsonian functionalist theory in what is called neofunctionalism has created contradictory responses. For some theorists, neofunctionalism represents an ultimate and foundational discovery of the transcendental presuppositions of the problems of order and rationality in action theory.

 

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