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Dictionary of Theories Paperback – January 1, 2002


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 637 pages
  • Publisher: Gale Research Co; Unknown edition (2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1578590450
  • ISBN-13: 978-1578590452
  • Product Dimensions: 8.8 x 5.8 x 1.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #299,435 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on October 17, 1998
Format: Hardcover
I was pleasantly surprised at the precision and substantiality of the definitions. Each one references the name of the source and the text from which it was taken. All entries vetted by a board of respected thinkers in the subject area from places like Oxford, U. Edinburgh, London School of Econ & Poli Sci, King's College London, etc. I trust its entries, which I have found worthy on the few subjects I know about.
They also have a softcover version out, ISBN 1-57859-045-0.
Nice reference for the modern thinker to have around!
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Karen Sampson Hudson on July 30, 2003
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Jennifer Bothamley has compiled more than 5,000 theories from all disciplines, from times ancient to modern, in this fascinating volume. It's a great book to leaf through; the concise, clear definitions will pique your interest. Some of the theories have been discredited, although all have had influence.
Do you need to see technical diagrams or equations? These are included. The book is cross-referenced to make browsing easier.
It's a marvelous addition to anyone's library.
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on December 16, 1999
Format: Hardcover
This is indeed an admirably broad survey of literally thousands of theories from a wide range of disciplines and traditions. My training and expertise is in the Arts and Humanities, and I was surprised to find such reliability amongst categories spanning from the social sciences to postmodern literary criticism and cultural theory to more traditional philosophical concerns.
To address two issues from the previous review: Firstly, I suspect that the lack of attention to the major world religions is a result of this being a dictionary of THEORIES, not beliefs. While there is certainly a component of faith involved in speculation we generally consider more scientific, it seems sensible for such a work to leave out religious doctrine and ideas more mystic and ethereal than systematic and empirically rigorous. Secondly, although I can't speak to the broad appeal or cosmic significance of meterology, it could hardly be more obvious to someone outside the number-crunching lab that feminism is certainly not a "minor sub-field". In fact, I can think of few theoretical orientations with more enormously wide-ranging consequences, both historically and in the present moment, and more vital and relevant for inclusion in any collection of theories.
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9 of 12 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on April 4, 1999
Format: Hardcover
I bought it for $5 (paperback) on sale at Borders. Contains twenty-five indexed subjects. The book cover states, "... brings together theories ... from all subject areas". However, religion is completely missing. A book making this claim for itself should at least include major systematic theology and doctrinal theories of the world's top four or five religions. There is also no mention of military or educational theory. Subjects should be grouped hierarchically. Minor sub-areas like feminism and meterology are presented at the same level as major subjects such as sociology and physics. The cover of the book advertizes several subjects which I could not find anywhere inside: advertizing, botony, computer science (there are just three entries under the sub-area of computing), ecology, finance, geography, and natural science. The book cover claims over 5,000 entries. I counted just under 4,000. Mean number of entries per subject: 141. Median entries per subject: 43. Top three subjects: mathematics (526), psychology (484), biology (463). Bottom three subjects (all with 3 entries each): business, computing, and marketing. In the subjects I am most familiar with (math and physics) the book does give good references: most are readily avialable and popular books. Good source for short descriptions of both current and outdated ideas that have been popular enough, in the academic world at least, to acquire names.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Daniel Olivas on August 3, 2001
Format: Hardcover
"Dictionary of Theories," edited by Jennifer Bothamley, is one of the best references I've purchased in recent years. As a fiction writer, I've collected many compendia of information and this one has proven to be one of the most used. What is the "Pleasure Principle"? What are Aristotle's "Four Causes"? What about the "Big Bang Theory"? The "People" and "Subject Area" indexes at the end of the book, along with the bibliography, are very helpful and make this dictionary that much more fun to use.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By cvairag VINE VOICE on August 18, 2006
Format: Hardcover
A helpful, unpretentious presentation of a most ambitious project: a reference which gathers many of the most important theories from many of the most pursued disciplines under one cover. The results here are decidedly mixed, but it's great to have on my shelf (I have about 80 lbs of reference books not used as regularly in boxes).
Simply put, many of the entries are quite good, replete with explanation, significance, history, and singular example - others are not, deficient in one or more of these essential categories, too narrow, or even dubious. The variation in quality seems to have to do with the individual contributor. An improvement would be to increase the staff for another edition, having, let's say, a minimum of ten contributors from each field involved, and then expanding the editing process within each field accordingly.

Examples of what I mean:

Good:

mise en abyme (1948) Literary Theory. The term originated with French novelist Andre Gide (1869-1951) and is exemplified in his novel The Counterfeiters (1926). Prominent in Postructuralism during the 1970's.
`Placed in the abyss': the infinite regress of mirrors. In narrative, a story within a story, the internal story mirroring and therefore commenting on the framing story. Also in Deconstruction, the infinite deferral of meanings.

A model of concinnity and explanation.

Bad:

revisionism (19th century) Politics. An adaptation of Marxism, originally associated with the German socialist Eduard Bernstein (1850-1932).
Capitalism was not in crisis, and its replacement by Socialism was likely to be a matter of peaceful development and adaptation. A British version of this body of ideas is Fabianism.
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