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A polynesian word, first encountered by Captain Cook, meaning literally ‘marked off’. It refers to those special articles or symbols within a culture that are given a distinct status as either sacred, metaphysical or dangerous. Incest is a taboo most are familiar with.

A target refers to a person or a property which an offender may approach to commit a crime. Some targets are more suitable than others. If a home is unlit, shrubs block a view of the front door, there are no neighborhood watch sticker, the door has an old fashioned and ineffective lock, this may be a target that an offender would view as suitable.

Chaired by Mel Watkins, the 1968 report of this task force continued the analysis of the Gordon report, and detailed the extent of foreign ownership of the Canadian economy and recommended measures to reverse this development. The report was largely ignored. See: GORDON REPORT / .

The work management principles followed by Frederick Taylor (1856-1915) designed to transfer control of the work process to management and to achieve the greatest rate of productivity from workers through dividing labour and having work performed in a manner detailed by management. See: INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS / SCIENTIFIC MANAGEMENT / .

Literally, a lover of technology. Likely to be a person who sees the positive benefits deriving from technology and advocating increased use of technology as a solution to economic, social and political problems within the society.

Literally, the fear of technology. See: LUDDITES / .

An analysis of written or spoken texts as a way to understand social life. While this form of analysis has become more common with postmodern sociology, it is derived largely from French structuralist such as Claude Levi-Strauss, Michel Foucault and Jean Piaget who studied human thought, myths, story telling, and texts. Foucault, for example, argues that the way we see and understand the world, which is represented in written or spoken texts, is central to understanding a particular time period or society and the way power is organized.

All sciences use theory as a tool to explain. It is useful to think of theory as a conceptual model of some aspect of life. We may have a theory of mate selection, or the emergence of capitalist societies, or of criminal behaviour, or of the content of dreams. In each case the theory consists of a set of concepts and their nominal definition, assertions about the relationships between these concepts, assumptions and knowledge claims. Carl Jung's theory of the self, for examples, begins by asserting the key concepts --introversion and extroversion, and the relationship between these two components -- one is dominant and the other subordinate. It assumes that the dominant characteristic will be displayed in behaviour and the subordinate one in our dreams or unconscious. The content of dreams can be explained by bringing Jung's model to the inquiry. In the classic model of how science is conducted, the scientist begins with a theory, deduces a hypothesis about the real world from the theory and then engages in the necessary research to determine if the hypothesis is true or false. In this way science is always about theory testing. See: HYPOTHETICO-DEDUCTIVE MODEL OF SCIENCE / .

This way of categorizing societies has lost much of its meaning with the breakup of the Soviet Union and the decline of communism as an economic system. First world countries once referred to the developed, capitalist societies, while the second world identified the developed socialist societies. Third world countries were those large political communities in the initial stages of development while fourth world societies are those that are traditional communities marginalized from economic development and political power. The concept of ‘fourth world’ has been applied to the aboriginal communities of north America.

A behaviour therapy procedure based on operant learning principles; individuals are rewarded(reinforced) for positive or appropriate behaviour and are disciplined (punished) for negative or inappropriate behaviour.

An area of law concerned with intentional violations of the private rights of individuals or neglect of legally recognized duties of care to others. In these cases the public interest is not directly harmed. This is an aspect of civil law and is usually contrasted with criminal law (where the pubic or society is considered to be the injured party), although sociologists note that the distinction between the two is somewhat arbitrary and shifting.

A member of the Tory political party. A term originating in 17th century Britain and referring to that party, supported largely by aristocratic interests, which defended royal prerogatives and divine inheritance of the throne and was resistant to democratic ideals and the growing political and economic power of the middle class. In modern Canada the term is used to refer to the Conservative party. See: CONSERVATISM / .

See institution, total.

Corporations whose sales and production are carried out in many different nations. As a result of their multinational reach these corporations are often thought to be beyond the political control of any individual nation states.

An individual who has physically crossed the boundary between the sexes and thus becomes the other sex. While movement may be in either direction, more transsexuals are men who have become women. Western cultures have been criticized frequently for being extremely dualistic in gender or sexual identities, making little room, or no room, for a third or fourth sex. Hinduism by contrast has an elaborate repertoire of sexual transformations, bisexuality and sexual expression. The term transgender is now preferred since it clearly suggests that sexual categories are themselves social constructions.

An agreement or contract between two or more sovereign nations creating obligations and responsibilities for both parties. The British and French colonizers of what is now called Canada and the Canadian government itself have negotiated many treaties with the Native nations which occupied the land. These treaties are now protected by the Canadian constitution. See: NUMBERED TREATIES / .

A Native person or descendant of a Native person who signed a treaty. The registration list under the Indian Act was drawn up to include those band members who signed treaties, so all treaty Indians are also status Indians (unless they have lost their status). Treaties were signed with bands in parts of British Columbia, Ontario and the Northeast Territories and most of Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba. See: NUMBERED TREATIES / STATUS INDIAN / .

These Chinese groups came into existence in the seventeenth century as resistance fighters against the Manchu invaders. They eventually developed into crime groups.

The use of this term must be understood against the assumption that citizens of the modern world would develop significant identification only with large groupings which included a plurality of social categories. For example, the identity of Canadian would include many ethnic groups, sexual preferences, social interests and religious groupings. Tribalism is used to describe those situations where broad social identification has broken down so that people identify themselves exclusively with a narrower category. For example, people may organize their lives around ethnic identification or sexual preference or religious belief. This retribalization of the society is thought to lead to fragmentation and divisiveness as people identify with an in-group, making a shared sense of citizenship among larger groupings more and more fragile. See: IDENTITY POLITICS / .

President Truman declared in 1947 that one of the primary objectives of American foreign policy was ‘the creation of conditions in which we and other nations will be able to work out a way of life free from coercion. We shall not realize our objectives unless we are willing to help free people to maintain their free institutions, and their national integrity against aggressive movements that seek to impose on them totalitarian regimes. .... I believe that it must be the policy of the United States to support free peoples who are resisting attempted subjugation by armed minorities or by outside pressures.’ The context of this statement was the perceived threat of communist expansion and the policy developed from it gave shape to the cold war and the polarization of the world into peoples in the sphere of influence of the two dominant world powers (the Soviet Union and the United States). See: BERLIN WALL / COLD WAR / NEW WORLD ORDER / .

Refers to the period of English history from 1485 to 1603 when the nation's monarchs were descended from Owen Tudor and Queen Catherine (1401-1437) widow of King Henry V. This line of English monarchs included Henry V111 (1491-1547) famous for his six marriages and the establishment of Protestantism in England and for strengthening the central power of the state. The greatest of the tudor monarchs, and the last, was Elizabeth 1 (1533-1603) Henry's daughter who ascended the throne in 1558 and during her 45 year reign modernized the English state administration, rationalized public finance and further strengthened central government. These achievements established conditions where trade and commerce could rapidly expand and created some of the early foundations for the age of exploration and the industrial revolution.

In inferential reasoning or statistics, rejecting a hypothesis when it is true and should be accepted. The probability of making such a mistake is indicated by the level of significance used, so the probability of this error can be controlled by altering the level of significance. Types 1 and 2 errors are linked, however, so that reducing one increases the other. Researcher will try to achieve some balance between the two types or alter the balance to meet the needs of a specific situation.

In inferential reasoning or statistics, accepting a hypothesis when it is false and should be rejected. Also known as ‘false positive’.

Alfred Schutz (1899-1959), a phenomenologist, suggests that in all of our encounters with others, with the exception of ‘we-relationships’ (the most intimate of relationships), we experience and understand the other in terms of ideal types. We form a construct of a typical way of acting, assume typical underlying motivations or personality. For example we make prior assumptions about the personalities and behaviour of a doctor, priest or judge. Ethnomethodologists have studied the use of this process of typification as a tool for understanding how people such as coroners, prosecutors, police officers and others achieve a sense of concreteness and predictability in their work. Coroners for example, may operate with a sense of a typical suicide, prosecutors with a sense of a ‘normal’ crime of child abuse, police officers with a sense of the ‘normal’ or typical resident of a particular neighborhood. See: IDEAL TYPE / .

A set of two or more ideal types used for categorizing behaviours, events, societies, groups, etc. For example, Emile Durkheim (1858-1917) developed four types of suicide: anomic, egoistic, altruistic and fatalistic. Ferdinand Tonnies (1855-1936) identified two types of society: Gemeinschaft and Gesellschaft. See: IDEAL TYPE / .

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Athabaca University ICAAP

© Robert Drislane, Ph.D. and Gary Parkinson, Ph.D.
The online version of this dictionary is a product of
Athabasca University and

*This social science dictionary has 1000
entries covering the disciplines of sociology, criminology, political
science and women's study with a commitment to Canadian examples and
events and names