International encyclopaedia of social science - Masculinity - Nyerere

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Abstract Purpose The purpose of this paper is to determine whether there are common conceptions of high performance organizations HPOs among business in South Africa and Tanzania. Findings Factor analysis revealed that South African and Tanzania business students put priority on three of the original five HPO factors: continuous improvement and renewal, long-term orientation, high quality management, comprising 16 of the original 35 HPO characteristics.

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What deserves notice, however, is that the purposes and conventions which inform a particular theory may enable it to fulfill some criteria, while preventing it from fulfilling others. Since the seventeenth century, there have been repeated expressions of dissatisfaction with the state of political theory. These have been inspired mainly by the example of progress in modern scientific knowledge. The complaint, as voiced by Hobbes and later by others, has contrasted the steady, incremental advance of scientific knowledge with the seemingly static condition of political knowledge and has located the cause in the failure of political theory to adopt scientific methods of inquiry.

It is essential, however, to separate two problems: the adoption of scientific methods— whether mathematical, empirical, or a combination of the two—and the problem of incremental knowledge. It is too easily assumed that the systematic exploitation of scientific inquiry is the only method for steadily adding to our supply of knowledge.

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Science—particularly its method of organizing inquiry—may be the most efficient and powerful means, but it is not the only means. The history of political theory supplies an important illustration of this.

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If, as it is sometimes suggested, the progress of science has been the result of the careful and exhaustive working out of a given theory in order to discover how much it can account for and what problems it presents, a roughly analogous situation has occurred over long stretches of the history of political theory. It is no exaggeration to say that the theories of Plato and Aristotle have served longer as models of political inquiry than any comparable pair of theories in the natural sciences. Not only did each of these writers found research institutions which were occupied with amassing new facts and classifying them, but both theories provided the framework whereby writers of later centuries tried to account for new phenomena and to resolve new problems.

The foregoing suggests that in the history of political theory there has been a succession of theories which have been fruitfully used for long periods of time to explain and account for political events.

The same history also shows that dissatisfaction with the capabilities of a theory has led to new forms of theory. Dissatisfaction, for the most part, has issued not from intellectual reasons alone; that is, it has not been their lack of logical consistency, their infidelity to fact, or their sterility that has caused theories to be abandoned, but rather changes in the political world, giving rise to problems that seem to be insoluble by means of accepted theories.

Moral and political motives, not purely intellectual ones, have been the primary inspiration for new theories. The first great exponent of scientific politics was Hobbes, and yet every one of his theoretical writings originated in his avowed purpose of settling the basis of authority and providing secure grounds for obedience during an age of revolution. Only during the past half century has scientific politics sought to disentangle itself from moral and political concerns, and even now there are sufficient protests among contemporary political scientists to make naive disengagement seem disingenuous.

Despite these continuities, however, the quest for a scientific theory of politics has altered the character of theorizing in several significant ways. Before examining these, it is necessary to note the conditions under which such a quest became intellectually compelling. This means asking not only what view of the world was held which made scientific theory possible but also, more crucially, what kind of political world came into being which rendered the application of scientific methods fruitful and its criteria of truth plausible.


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Prior to the sixteenth century, the political orders of Europe were characteristically decentralized. Uniform legal systems were a rarity, and centralized bureaucracies still in the formative stage. Order itself was not a presupposition of daily life but a precarious achievement.

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Habits of civility were dictated by local loyalties, and the whole complex of national duties, rights, and codes of deference were only slowly being developed. In brief, political life lacked those qualities of uniformity, regularity, routine, and settled expectations that we now take for granted. Against this background, it is not surprising that political theory had eschewed making regularities in political behavior and processes the basis of theorizing and had, instead, been more intent on establishing them.

To the extent that scientific theory presupposes order and regularity in phenomena, political societies prior to the establishment of the modern centralized, bureaucratized state could not furnish the necessary basis for scientific theorizing. Indeed, Hobbes had made the first sustained attempt to incorporate politics into a scientific explanation which would comprehend matter, man, and society. Basing his theory upon the laws of motion, which he believed were operative universally, he proposed a deductive science of politics, which would proceed from simple to more complex forms of social motion.

The concept of the state of nature provided an imaginary condition in which the laws of human psychology were best observable; it was then possible to reason out the structure of political society which would best accord with the laws of psychology governing human behavior. At the same time, the Hobbesian political order was in no sense a replication of what the political world was like, but rather a projection of what it must or should be.

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In the three centuries that have elapsed since Hobbes wrote Leviathan, the major Western societies, on the whole, have developed and enforced complex mechanisms for directing and ordering human behavior. Bureaucracies, legal systems, the police, together with national conceptions of citizenship and of authority, have conjoined to produce sustained regularities in political life, far greater than in any previous era.

At the same time, the development of industrialization has added a powerful element to the routinization of life, and the appearance of the modern city is the symbol of a condition wherein men live lives of remarkable similarity and uniformity. This list could be extended to include the growth of standardized education and the spread of popular literature, but the point would be the same: the destruction of localism and of discrepancies in wealth, education, culture, and power and their replacement by uniformities have created the conditions for a science of politics. One of the earliest and most ambitious attempts at a science of politics was made by Montesquieu.

His list of conditions was based on geography, economic occupations, religion, government, and mores; these operated as forces which determined the kinds of laws, practices, and institutions which would prevail in a particular society. When rightly adjusted, the system represented a kind of Newtonian equilibrium. Although Montesquieu favored a constitutional monarchy tempered by aristocratic privileges and corps intermediates, the comparative basis of his theory tended to sanction all political forms as the natural products of adaptation to environment, save only for despotism, which he viewed as a monstrous aberration.

During the last half of the eighteenth century, however, theorists tended to follow a different path toward a science of politics. They turned to the nature of man rather than of things and found psychological laws of human behavior, usually involving some principles of attraction and aversion or pleasure and pain and, on this basis, erected theories which claimed to be empirical and universal. Yet, in the case of the major writers in this tradition, such as Helvetius and Holbach in France and Bentham in England, the theories remained dominantly a priori, with facts serving primarily as illustrations [ see the biography of Bentham ].

Above all, there was nothing scientifically neutral about their formulations.

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All three writers were critics and reformers who were mainly intent on having the political world reflect their theories rather than having their theories reflect the world. Although many of the major theorists of the nineteenth century—such as Hegel, Tocqueville, and J.

Mill excluding the Logic —practiced theory in ways dominantly traditional, there was a growing tendency toward making politics a scientific study [ see the biographies of Hegel ; Mill ; Tocqueville ]. Nevertheless, it is not easy to characterize this tendency, because so many diverse understandings of science were competing.

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Toward the close of the nineteenth century, however, the social sciences had sufficiently developed to enable men like Durkheim and, somewhat later, Max Weber, to fight clear of most of these earlier disagreements about the nature of science and to lay down some basic ideas about what a theory should be [ see the biographies of Durkheim and Weber, Max ]. Twentieth-century concepts of political theory have continued to evolve beyond the point attained by Weber and Durkheim, particularly by borrowing from the fields of social psychology and psychoanalysis and by seeking to utilize mathematics and statistics.

The result has been a profound change in the notion of what theory is and what are the appropriate conventions governing its use.


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Most theoretical efforts now aim at establishing knowledge by methods that are empirical and quantitative; to a considerable degree, they aspire to a form of knowledge that will be precise, rigorous, verifiable, and predictable. Like its predecessors, contemporary theory embodies a decision about what is worth studying, how it shall be studied, and what shall be accepted as knowledge. Although it is risky to attempt a characterization of contemporary notions of theory, some of the main features may be indicated. It should be mentioned that sharp disagreements exist, not only among those who purport to share the same scientific orientation, but between them and others who remain loyal to traditional methods.

What follows is an attempt to designate the main characteristics of what is new—that is, of the scientific conception of theorizing. The alliance with philosophy has been severed, at least temporarily. Although there are some signs of attempts being made to utilize contemporary philosophical techniques of language analysis and its variants, most theorists proceed on the assumption that the adoption of scientific methods obviates the need for elaborate philosophical techniques. This development has been accompanied by the abdication of the traditional attempt to formulate synoptic pictures, or epitomes, of the whole society.

They are artifacts whose sole justification is their utility, which remains a moot point. The contemporary conventions reject so-called grand or comprehensive theories and prefer to pursue testable hypotheses. Those of an empirical and quantitative persuasion frequently express the hope that by patient and systematic investigation it will be possible to establish tested propositions of ever-increasing generality and that, gradually, an interconnected and logically consistent series of propositions will culminate in a general theory of universal validity.

In this respect contemporary theory is in the tradition of Hobbes, who was the first to launch a systematic attack against the classical notion that there was a natural structure appropriate to every political form and that man possessed a nature which required a political association for its fulfillment. The divorce of politics from nature and of theory from nature did not become complete until the twentieth century.

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Theory no longer seeks to grasp the political world synthetically; rather it seeks to slice into it. Theorizing tends to be sustained by the belief that the political world exhibits sufficiently recurrent regularities and repetition of causal sequences to allow for the testing of generalizations. The concern with regularities forms part of an outlook which contrasts sharply with the traditional preoccupation with the dangers and derangements besetting the political order.

Traditional theory had been powerfully influenced by the hope of providing knowledge for action; its language, concepts, and values were primarily those of the actor. Contemporary theory, with its emphasis upon objectivity, scientific detachment, and testable hypotheses, tends to be governed by the values of inquiry rather than of potential action. This appears most strikingly in systems theory, where conceptions such as equilibrium, homeostasis, inputs and outputs are, whatever their value for research, wholly irrelevant to action. For the present, at least, theory appears to have surrendered the critical function, which has been one of its dominant characteristics since Plato.

Gradually, this austere position has been relaxed into an attitude which insists that scientific knowledge can contribute to the clarification of choices, by indicating that some choices are unfeasible and that others are too costly. The former would represent theorizing based upon scientific methods of collecting and classifying data and of testing hypotheses by statistical or mathematical methods.

Its goal would be the empirically verified hypothesis. To normative theory would be assigned an ill-assorted collection of activities whose common element would be a lack of scientific methods. It would include all questions regarding values, all historical studies, and all conceptual inquiries. One would be hard-pressed to concoct a better solution for the sterilization of political theory. Not only does it rest on a profound ignorance, or even arrogance, regarding the nature of traditional theories and their subtle blend of empirical observation and theoretical speculation, but more strikingly, it flies in the face of the kind of experience which the proponents of such a division would be expected to be the first to recognize —namely, the history of theory in the natural sciences.