From Library Journal
Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Historically and continuing into the present day, sociology has enjoyed the dual distinction of having relatively undefined disciplinary frontiers and being composed of a multiplicity of subfields itself. Sociology has consistently and at times intensively exchanged concepts, theories, methods, practices, and substance with other disciplines. The second edition of the Encyclopedia of Sociology continues the tradition established by the first of including articles on relevant sectors of different fields of study. For example, readers will find articles contributed by scholars belonging formally to specialties rooted in social psychology, social demography, social anthropology, social history, social geography, social ecology, some branches of political science, political economy, and sociolinguistics. Additionally, the second edition continues the tradition of including articles on the numerous subfields of which sociology is comprised.
These similarities aside, the second edition differs from the first in both breadth and depth. New content areas and articles reflect the evolution of the discipline as well as the evolution of the social and behavioral sciences in general. Containing 397 articles, the encyclopedia is now 25 percent larger, including the review, revision, and expansion of existing articles and the addition of 66 topics not covered previously. Thirty-nine entries were eliminated. Each article is a signed original work by a leading scholar. In general, contributors have endeavored to speak to the sociological relevance of their topics and to show how topics fit into not only the scheme of sociological knowledge but also social and behavioral knowledge in general. For this edition, contributors were asked "to indicate what to expect from future endeavors in the field," as well as to summarize knowledge, and they have succeeded, for the most part. Each article concludes with a reference section consisting of both recent and classic works intended to provide users with an opportunity to explore further. Additionally, articles that were not revised for this edition, presumably because the editors deemed their coverage to be still appropriate (e.g., Casual inference models, Corporate organizations, Economic determinism, Systems theory, Utopian analysis and design), are accompanied by lists of recent works to facilitate research and exploration of the topics.
Once again, alphabetically arranged entries run the gamut from concepts to subfields to theoretical approaches to different national sociologies to techniques or methodologies. Alienation, Discrimination, Liberalism/conservatism, and Pragmatism are examples of some of the concepts covered. Applied sociology, Environmental sociology, Marxist sociology, and Rural sociology are examples of some of the subfields covered. Readers interested in theoretical approaches will find articles on Dependency theory, Deviance theories, Identity theory, and Personality theory, to name but a few. Numerous national sociologies are addressed, including British, Italian, and Scandinavian. Finally, readers will find articles on techniques or methodologies, such as Factor analysis, Globalization and global systems analysis, Health policy analysis, Quasi-experimental research designs, Secondary data analysis and data archives, and Time series analysis.
Examples of articles that have been significantly revised since the first edition include Affirmative action, African studies, Alternative lifestyles, Asian-American studies, Disaster research, Genocide, Information society, Long-term care, Medical-industrial complex, Pornography, Sexually transmitted diseases, Sexual orientation, and Terrorism. Examples of new concepts and titles include Adult education, Aging and the life course, Bankruptcy and credit, Censorship and the regulation of expression, Computer applications in sociology, Environmental equity, Internet, Marginal employment, Political correctness, Sexual behavior patterns, and Territorial belonging. An in-depth index of nearly 200 pages in volume five facilitates access.
A distinguished board of advisory and international advisory editors is to be credited with project oversight. A list of articles appears in volume 1 followed by a list of authors, complete with institutional affiliation and article titles. An examination of the list of authors indicates that the leadership for this second edition searched carefully for a well-balanced roster of specialists to carry out their vision.
Several one-volume encyclopedias on the subfields of sociology have been published since 1993. To date, however, there are no multivolume works with anything like the thoroughness and scholarly rigor that characterize this set. There is no question but that the Encyclopedia of Sociology is likely to be the definitive encyclopedia of sociology for the next generation. Because of this, it is highly recommended for academic libraries and other institutions, including high schools, where sociology in any of its forms is likely to be of interest. Undergraduate and graduate sociology majors and nonmajors alike will find value here, whether they use the set as a text to understand all of sociology in depth or as a quick authoritative summary about specific subjects. The Board is equally confident that social workers, interested laypersons, and professionals from other fields will also find the introductory articles in this set to be extremely useful.
Acquisition of this work should be seen as an occasion for retiring the earlier edition. RBB
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