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Social Justice and Political Change: Public Opinion in Capitalist and Post-Communist States (Social Institutions and Social Change) Reissue Edition

2.0 out of 5 stars 1 customer review
ISBN-13: 978-0202305042
ISBN-10: 020230504X
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Editorial Reviews


"There have been few ambitious, large-scale international collaborative efforts at data collection in the past decade of the sort that are described in this edited volume by Kluegel, Mason and Wegener. . . . This book is a significant contribution to the study of the politics of inequality and to the linkages between microlevel beliefs and opinions and macrolevel phenomena like large-scale social, political, and economic change." 

—Karen S. Cook, Contemporary Sociology

"The editors and contributors to Social Justice and Political Change have made a significant addition to our knowledge of public opinion in both Western capitalist democracies and among formerly communist states in Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union. Readers will find a virtual treasure trove in this enormously ambitious work that explores questions of social and economic equality over a range of political, social and economic contexts. . . . It deserves to be in the syllabi of both undergraduate and graduate courses in public opinion, political theory, and comparative politics, and is almost certain to be well cited by researchers."

—Euel Elliott, The American Political Science Review

"This is a valuable book for those interested in justice perceptions among mass publics in the East and West." 

—James L. Gibson, The Public Opinion Quarterly

About the Author

James R. Kluegel is chairman of the Department of Sociology at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He is the author of Evaluating Contemporary Juvenile Justice


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Product Details

  • Series: Social Institutions and Social Change
  • Paperback: 359 pages
  • Publisher: Aldine Transaction; Reissue edition (December 31, 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 020230504X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0202305042
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 2.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #5,381,366 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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The data collected in the volume is at least fifteen years old, covering the years immediately after the fall of the Soviet Union and the reunification of Germany. The underlying sociological theory is quite familiar and common-sense, so there is little gained from reading most of the essays, except for specialists.

The introductory essay, written Adam Swift, Gordon Marshall, Carole Burgoyne, and David Routh, four British behavioral scientists (in politics, sociology, and psychology) states extremely clearly an approach to moral philosophy that is very common and tacitly accepted by most moral philosophers, but is rarely explicitly articulated. I will take this opportunity to describe their line of thinking and suggest why it is incorrect.

"On the face of it there would seem to be no clear reason for political philosophers to pay attention to the finding of empirical research... the justification of moral principles simply occupies a different logical space from the description and explanation of the moral principles to which people actually subscribe. Empirical research cannot contribute to political-theoretical debate since the philosophical task of justification remains immune from whatever one might discover about the justice beliefs current in any particular society." (p. 17) The reason for this opinion, the authors opine, is that few ordinary citizens have the training to make complex moral judgments, and they tend to spend much less time pondering moral issues that the professional moral philosopher. "It would be surprising if ordinary people," they say, "not necessarily less intelligent but in all probability having devoted less time to the exercise of that intelligence, arrived at similarly measured conclusions...
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