Minor definitions

in Philosophy, Politics, Marxism, Critical Theory and Sociology


anstoss stimulus Fichte
bund secondary community  
conceptualism universals are concepts/ ideas in the mind. They have no reality nor existence independent or outside of the head.  
dialectic in general terms the dialectic refers to the dynamic relationship between being and consciousness dialectics
entausserung alienation  
ethnography ethnography is a major research technique in anthropology but it is also used increasingly in sociological disciplines. As a methodology of research its rise is closely linked to the broad process that reached a head in the 1960's where overarching theoretical schemas of understanding - whether positivist, Marxist or otherwise - were politically and intellectually discredited. Ethnography tries to improve on other sociological methods in two major ways. The ethnographer researchs a small section of society in situ, that is to say within the social environment of the subject. The researcher tries to give a detailed expression to the motivations and self-understanding of actors... Secondly the ethnographer generally believes theoretical sociology to give inadequate criteria of evaluation of social life to the extent that part of his role is to revise the general sociological understanding through the deeply involved description of individual's and individual communities' social experience.


Bronislav Malinowski, Clifford Geertz (articles)


ethnomethodology ethnomethodology studies the common-sense reasoning involved in everyday life and aims to understand how people themselves account for their social world. It pays particular attention to the analysis of conversation and what it reveals about the shared assumptions of actors and the importance of context. One of the techniques of ethnomethodology has been the attempt to disrupt the smooth functioning of a social institution, these psychological 'breaching experiements' developed by Garfinkel aimed to show the tenterhooks on which meaningful realities were construed.


Garfinkel, Sachs

gemeinschaft community  
gesellschaft society, contractual society  
legitimacy. legitimation Legitmation is the process whereby the right to rule is bestowed upon an authority. legitimate means rightful thus refering generally to institutional authority that rests upon having fulfilled what is deemed the correct criteria for the position it assumes.

Legitmation thus also refers to a political process dedicated to the (mainly ideological) perpetuation of the process, or the dominant agents within the process itself.

When something is legitmate, it is allowed, permitted and potentially even legally defended. A legitmate move in a game is one permitted by the rules, or eve tactically permissible whilst morally reprehensible.Compliance with the law, is quintessentially legitimacy. But legitimacy refers equally to non- prescribed, or non- formalised types of laws. An illegitimate child, a bastard, is born out of wedlock, outside of the law. A lawyer's objection or somebody's criticism can be considered illegitimate, that is: contrary to custom and law.



nominalism objects possessing the same universal resemble one another. Universals do not exist independently of their instances.  
ontic relating to facts about actual entities.  
Operaismo, workerism a social and political movement that arose during Italy's post-war industrialisation. It places the socio-economic power of the worker in a position central to historical change.

Operaismo -- by Matheron

positivism positivism is the theoretical approach to society that believes it should be studied according to the laws of the physical sciences. This does not necessarily mean that society functions according to the same principles as the natural world.

August Comte


universals have reality distinct from instances, universals exist separately from the particulars possessing them.