The Norton Dictionary of Modern Thought

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A unique work of reference and a companion to all fields of modern thought.
How often are attempts to broaden your knowledge of modern thought frustrated by terms and allusions that you do not understand? In this age of rapid-fire informational exchange and unprecedented specialization, no one can honestly claim to know the whole vocabulary of modern thought, yet most people would like to understand more. The Norton Dictionary of Modern Thought now provides us with a rich and ...

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Overview

A unique work of reference and a companion to all fields of modern thought.
How often are attempts to broaden your knowledge of modern thought frustrated by terms and allusions that you do not understand? In this age of rapid-fire informational exchange and unprecedented specialization, no one can honestly claim to know the whole vocabulary of modern thought, yet most people would like to understand more. The Norton Dictionary of Modern Thought now provides us with a rich and reliable resource for staying on top of trends and actually enhancing our cultural literacy. With thousands of entries written by an international cast of artists, scholars, and scientists, this book offers an authoritative treasure trove of concepts defining the world in which we live.
More discursive than an ordinary dictionary, more compact than an encyclopedia, and more selective than either, it covers the whole range of modern thought from the latest developments in astrophysics to recent trends in the arts. This volume is indispensable as a reference book, irresistible for browsing through — practically an education in itself.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780393046960
  • Publisher: Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
  • Publication date: 9/28/1999
  • Edition description: Subsequent
  • Pages: 960
  • Product dimensions: 6.50 (w) x 9.50 (h) x 2.20 (d)

Meet the Author

Alan Bullock established his reputation as a historian with Hitler, a Study of Tyranny, and is joint editor of the Oxford History of Modern Europe. He lives in Oxford, England.

Stephen Trombley's books include Modern British Architecture Since 1945; he is a film director and chairman of the independent production company Worldview Pictures. He lives in London.

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Chapter One


A


a posteriori, a priori. Knowledge is a posteriori (literally: after experience) when it depends for its justification or authority upon the evidence of experience. A priori knowledge, conversely, is not in this way dependent upon experience. Our knowledge of the location of a pen on the table or that Paris is the capital of France is a posteriori knowledge. On the other hand, our knowledge that 5 + 7 = 12, or that a vixen is a female fox, is (arguably) a priori. It has often been supposed that a priori knowledge is restricted to what is necessary and a posteriori knowledge to what is contingent (see CONTINGENCY). The above examples obviously conform to this rule. However, the American philosopher Saul Kripke has argued persuasively that there are both contingent truths which can be known a priori and NECESSARY TRUTHS that are only establishable a posteriori. S.W.L.


Abbaye de Créteil. An early 20th-century experiment in COMMUNITY living, called after the utopian (see UTOPIANISM) Abbaye de Thélème imagined by Rabelais. In 1906 a group of young French writers, artists, and musicians, of whom Georges Duhamel was to become the most famous, settled in a house at Créteil, near Pads, and tried, while pursuing their artistic vocations, to support themselves by growing their own vegetables and working a printing-press. During this period Jules Romains, an associate member of the group, evolved the short-lived literary theory known as l'unanimisme, which tried todraw rather facile humanistic (see HUMANISM) reassurance from the fact that all the individuals in a given social group tend to be interdependent and to react on each other. The experiment ended after 14 months, because of disagreements and lack of money. In 1937 Duhamel gave a rather melancholy transposition of it in his novel Le Désert de Bièvres. J.G.W.


ABC art, see MINIMAL ART.


abduction. A term popularized by the American pragmatist philosopher C. S. Peirce (1839-1914) as part of an attempt to redefine the relations between facts and theories. Peirce denied the plausibility of INDUCTION, i.e. the doctrine that generalizations emerged almost automatically from the piling up of data. Against this Peirce argued that theorizing was, and should be, a creative process, and that theories should have a validity in their own right, to some degree independent of the data already available which they explained. Not least, he claimed, theories possessed an important predictive function, enabling the formulation of hypotheses which could later be tested experimentally. Good theories should also embody other rational characteristics, such as being simple or readily modified when confronted with counter-factual evidence. Peirce's `abduction' represents one of many ways in which traditional induction, POSITIVISM and EMPIRICISM began to appear shallow and arid to 20th-century philosophy. For further reading: J. Losee, An Historical Introduction to the Philosophy of Science (1980). R.P.


Abell clusters, see under GALAXY CLUSTERS.


ABM (anti-ballistic missiles). An ABM system consists of missiles, radar and other equipment designed to intercept incoming ballistic missiles. A ballistic missile is one which, although initially powered by rockets, completes its trajectory in free-fall. Although in theory it is possible to predict the flight-path of a ballistic missile, in practice it has proved impossible to design an ABM system that works. Nevertheless, the idea has had great appeal for public and politicians alike. Hence President Reagan's STRATEGIC DEFENCE INITIATIVE (SDI, popularly known as Star Wars). This was not much more than a very expensive exercise in science fiction and was abandoned by his successor.

Even at a more modest level, consistent missile interception has proved impossible to achieve. Contrary to the publicity at the time, it is accepted that the US Patriot missiles fired at Iraqi Scud missiles during the Gulf War almost always missed. Nonetheless, the ABM idea is revived at intervals, although such programmes are inevitably seen as hostile by other states, since a state with an effective ABM system might feel it could use its own weapons, knowing it could not be hit in return. For further reading: A. Karp, Ballistic Missile Proliferation (1996). L.T.


abnormal psychology. The branch of PSYCHOLOGY concerned with the abnormal behaviour and functioning of organisms. The organisms may be human or infrahuman; but the many psychologists investigating the conditions that produce abnormalities of animal behaviour (e.g. by the use of drags, by surgical methods, by the design of conflict-producing situations) would not naturally be described as working in the field of abnormal psychology unless their studies were also designed to throw light on the abnormalities of human functioning. The expression is further restricted to functioning that is abnormal in ways which make life difficult for the people concerned, and which may lead them to require special help. Thus, studies of men who are 6 feet 6 inches tall, or who have an intelligence quotient of over 140, would not usually and naturally be called studies of abnormal psychology; whereas similar studies of dwarfs, or of people with IQs (see INTELLIGENCE of under 60, would be so classified (see also MENTAL RETARDATION). The expression is applied, in particular, and most importantly, to phenomena that are abnormal in that they are regarded as `morbid' in character, i.e. as evidence that the person concerned is in an unhealthy condition. In consequence of the growth, over the last century, of a whole array of therapeutic procedures for the relief of people suffering from mental morbidities, workers in abnormal psychology have also been involved in studying the effectiveness of different methods of therapy.

    Because a psychologist working in this field is characteristically concerned with people who are in difficulties or suffering from mental ill-health, he meets them (typically) as patients in a psychiatric and therefore medical context. Whereas the psychiatrist (see PSYCHIATRY) is the medical specialist concerned with the diagnosis and treatment of these patients, the psychologist is solely concerned with the scientific study of their condition, or of the therapy being given them; and he conducts his enquiries with the permission and cooperation (often very active) of the psychiatrist in charge of the patients.

    In this century, work in abnormal psychology has contributed to raise standards of precision and caution in the whole field of abnormal mental functioning. It has also uncovered much that was new, e.g. about the constitutional correlates of abnormal functioning, the variables of personality involved (see PERSONALITY TYPES), the environmental conditions that adversely affect the development of personality, and the difficulties of establishing that a therapeutic method is really effective. For further reading: G. Davison, Abnormal Psychology (1997). B.A.F.


abolitionism.

    (1) Historically, a term associated with the movement for the abolition of slavery and leading abolitionists such as William Wilberforce (1759-1833).

    (2) A term in CRIMINOLOGY regarding opposition to the use of prisons and imprisonment, literally calling for their abolition. This may follow a period of phasing out of imprisonment, and embrace new forms of dispute resolution, community sanctions and alternative forms of atonement by rule breakers.

    (3) The movement to abolish CAPITAL PUNISHMENT. N.S.


abortion. The death and expulsion of a foetus or embryo before it is viable (between the 20th and 24th week of gestation). Abortion is a medical phenomenon when it occurs naturally (miscarriage). It is also a medical procedure about which there is much ethical debate; and, in the USA, it is a political issue which has been crucial in state and federal elections since the 1970s. The foetus may be removed by a range of methods which include suction, scraping, inducing labour with saline or prostaglandins and, since the 1990s, by taking the artificial steroid mifepristone (RU 486).

Abortion is strictly forbidden for Roman Catholics and Muslims (see CATHOLICISM; ISLAM), and in the USA Christian fundamentalists (see RELIGIOUS RIGHT) are vehement opponents of it (see FUNDAMENTALISM). Abortion became legal in the UK in 1967 and in the whole of the USA in 1973, largely owing to the demands of supporters of `a woman's right to choose', and because illegal so-called `back-street' abortions by unqualified operators were frequent, and often fatal or harmful to the mother. Supporters of the `right to choose' are opposed by so-called `right to life' advocates, who tend to be Christian fundamentalists or Roman Catholics. Pro-choice advocates tend to be liberal or left-leaning politically, while their `right to life' opponents identify with the political right. Opponents of abortion consider it murder; supporters argue that the foetus is not a person. The pro-choice movement grew out of first-wave feminists' (see FEMINISM) demand for control over their own bodies, and their view of abortion as an aspect of reproductive rights.

    During the 1980s in the USA, `right to life' campaigners became militant (a trend that continues). They regularly picket abortion clinics, and often verbally assault both patients and staff. `Right to life' militancy increased with the fire-bombing of abortion clinics and the murder by activists of doctors who work at them, a tactic that escalated alarmingly during the 1990s. In American elections, politicians must routinely defend their stance as `pro-choice' or `pro-life', just as they must address the issue of the death penalty (see CAPITAL PUNISHMENT (it is seen as a deep irony by many critics of American culture that the great majority of `right to life' advocates also support executions). For further reading: R. B. Edwards, New Essays on Abortion and Bioethics (1997). S.T.


abreaction. In PSYCHOTHERAPY, a term used most usefully, and perhaps most frequently, for the actual release of emotion into CONSCIOUSNESS in which the process of CATHARSIS (sense 3) culminates. It is, however, also used synonymously with `catharsis'. B.A.F.


absolute liability, see under STRICT LIABILITY.


absolute poverty. The state of existing below the income that secures the bare essentials of food, clothing, and shelter. World Bank (see BRETTON WOODS) economists, who assume a population with a `normal' distribution by age and GENDER, define the absolute poverty line as the income ($1 daily at 1985 international prices) needed to attain basic nutrition, that is, 2,250 calories per person daily. Using the World Bank line, 30 per cent, or 1.4 billion people, in DEVELOPING COUNTRIES, and 25 per cent of the world, were poor in 1996, only a modest percentage reduction from the previous decade. For further reading: E. W. Nafziger, The Economics of Developing Countries (1997). E.W.N.


absolute space and time. The laws of mechanics finally formulated by Isaac Newton presupposed that uniform motion would continue indefinitely in straight lines unless impeded by other objects or forces. Such a view demanded conceptions of space and time as abstract, infinitely extendible grids within which movement over time could be comprehended. Such concepts of space and time as independent of mundane, transient objects gained plausibility during the Scientific Revolution because the New Astronomy suggested that the universe did indeed extend infinitely, and cosmogony was to open up the prospect of an infinitely old cosmos. CLASSICAL PHYSICS (see also PHYSICS) flowered after Newton within a concept of the independence of space from time which was to be fundamentally challenged by Minkowski's formulation in 1908 of the notion of SPACE-TIME (i.e. their interdependence as dimensions) and the exploitation by Einstein of this idea in his theory of general RELATIVITY. Many important cultural movements of the 20th century have rejected objective notions of space and time, substituting instead subjective concepts based on human experience. Important in this respect was the philosophy of Bergson. For further reading: S. Hawking, A Brief History of Time (1988). R.P.


absolute threshold, see under THRESHOLD.


absolute zero. The temperature of -273.15°C, which is the lowest possible according to the well-established theories of THERMODYNAMICS and STATISTICAL MECHANICS. At the absolute zero, the random heat motion of the constituents of matter is at a minimum, and structural order is at a maximum. This means that thermal noise in measuring instruments is greatly reduced at low temperatures, enabling very weak signals to be detected, e.g. faint radio emissions from distant GALAXIES and stars. Near the absolute zero, two dramatic effects of QUANTUM MECHANICS occur: SUPERCONDUCTIVITY, which is the total vanishing of electrical resistance in some metals, and superfluidity, which is the total vanishing of flow resistance in liquid helium. Temperatures within 1/1000 of a degree above absolute zero can be attained by modern CRYOGENIC techniques, but the absolute zero itself remains an unattainable limit. See also BROWNIAN MOTION; ZERO POINT ENERGY. M.V.B.


absorption cost, see under MARGINAL COSTING.


abstract art. Paintings and sculpture making no identifiable reference to the visible world. Such works, which must have some claim to exist in their own right if they are to be distinguished from ornament or decoration, are often considered analogous to works of music. They have become increasingly common in Western art (and CULTURES influenced by it) since c. 1910, when a number of scattered experimenters influenced by SYMBOLISM and/or CUBISM began producing art with no recognizable `subject' in the traditional sense. Among these were the German Adolf Hoelzel, the Russians Wassily Kandinsky, Kasimir Malevich, Michel Larionov, and Sonia Delaunay-Terk, the Lithuanian M. K. Ciurlionis, the Czech Frantisek Kupka, and the Dutchman Piet Mondrian. The term itself, whose use only became common after 1918, appears to derive from Wilhelm Worringer's Abstraktion und Einfühlung (1907), though Kandinsky's Über das Geistige in der Kunst (1912) is the classic exposition from a symbolist, quasi-musical point of view.

    The first abstract films, by the DADA artists Hans Richter and Viking Eggeling, were shown in Germany in 1921. The first exhibition of abstract art in Paris, in 1930, led to the formation in 1931 of the Abstraction-Création group, consisting mainly of non-French artists. This became the main stream of the movement during the 1930s when abstract art was condemned in Germany and Russia for (respectively) DEGENERACY and FORMALISM. After World War II this condemnation made it seem an embodiment of Western values, particularly after the emergence in the 1950s of ABSTRACT EXPRESSIONISM in the USA. Hence it has developed into an established, academically respectable form of art, with many overlapping versions, e.g. (1) such early branches as Malevich's SUPREMATISM (1915), Alexander Rodchenko's NON-OBJECTIVISM (c. 1920), and Theo van Doesburg's CONCRETE ART (1930); (2) general sub-categories like `geometric' and BIOMORPHIC art (two basic divisions often adopted by critics), or, more recently, HARDEDGE; (3) alternative names for the whole trend, such as `non-figurative', `nonrepresentational', or `non-objective'; (4) genuinely distinct recent branches like KINETIC ART and OP ART; finally (5) critics' and dealers' labels which give a deceptive air of novelty, for instance `art autre', MINIMAL ART, and 'réaliteés nouvelles'. Other movements more or less involved with abstract art are ORPHISM, CONSTRUCTIVISM, De Stijl (see STIJL, DE) and Larionov's RAYONISM, while even SURREALISM has a link with it in the biomorphic abstractions of Joan Miró and Hans Arp. J.W.


abstract expressionism. A term first used in 1919, in Germany and Russia, to describe the painting of Wassily Kandinsky, and again in that context in 1929 by Alfred Barr, director of the Museum of Modern Art, New York. It was subsequently applied by the New Yorker critic Robert Coates in 1946 to the emerging post-World War II American painting, both abstract (see ABSTRACT ART) and figurative. Stylistically, the term implies loose, rapid paint-handling, indistinct shapes, large rhythms, broken colour, uneven saturation of the canvas, and pronounced brushwork, as found in the work of de Kooning, Pollock, Kline, and Gorky; it also includes more reductive painters (e.g. Barnett Newman, Mark Rothko, and Ad Reinhardt) who focus on single, centralized images expressed in terms of large areas or fields of colour — hence the term colour field painting subsequently applied to such painters. The term has been extended to cover several sculptors stylistically related to the painters. See also ACTION PAINTING; COBRA; NEW YORK SCHOOL. A.K.W.


absurd, theatre of the, see THEATRE OF THE ABSURD.


accelerator.

    (1) In PHYSICS, a device for accelerating sub-atomic particles of matter to high energy (see PARTICLE COLLIDER; ELEMENTARY PARTICLES). Particle accelerators collide particles at the highest obtainable energies in order to investigate the internal structure of the colliding particles which disintegrate in the collision process. Most research in elementary particles is carried out by this method at very large purpose-built facilities. These are often funded by international collaboration (as in the case of CERN in Geneva). The acceleration of particles can be achieved by electric fields alone, as in the VAN DE GRAAF GENERATOR and the LINEAR ACCELERATOR, or in conjunction with magnetic fields which deflect particles into space-saving circular paths, as in the cyclotron, synchrotron, synchrocyclotron and Bevatron. Most particle accelerators accelerate charged particles (ELECTRONS, POSITRONS or PROTONS). The latest accelerator to be constructed is the LARGE HADRON COLLIDER at CERN in Switzerland. For further reading: L. Lederman and D. Teresi, The God Particle (1993). J.D.B.

    (2) In ECONOMICS, the accelerator principle states that the level of INVESTMENT depends on the expected change in output. For an expected increase in output, it is necessary for investment to increase in order to have sufficient capacity to produce the expected level of output. The expected increase in output refers to a permanent rather than a temporary increase. Sophisticated versions of the principle allow for the depreciation of the capital stock, replacement investment and the impossibility of having negative gross investment. The accelerator and multiplier principles form the basis of simple MODELS of the TRADE CYCLE and ECONOMIC GROWTH. J.P.


accessible environments. Environments which enable full access and mobility for everyone experiencing any form of mobility difficulties, permanent or temporary, including disabled people, the elderly, and those accompanied by babies and small children. The disabled are not a unitary group, geographically located in one particular area, but are found throughout the range of socio-economic classes and urban localities. Pressure groups have argued that `accessible environments' should be created, both in terms of individual building access design, and in enabling the disabled to move around more freely in the CITY, as an integral part of mainstream PLANNING. Measures are likely to include inter alia public toilet provision, accessible public transport, crèches, and provision of ramps, handrails, and auditory and visual signage to facilitate access. A series of legislative measures has grown up, alongside, and often separate from, planning policy, such as the Americans with Disabilities Act (1989) and the 1995 Disability Discrimination Act in Britain, which it should be stressed is not retrospective. For further reading: L. Davies, `Equality and Planning: gender and disability', in C. Greed (ed.), Implementing Town Planning (1996). C.G.


accommodation. In DEVELOPMENTAL PSYCHOLOGY, a PIAGETIAN term for the adjustment of an organized schema of action to fit new situations. More generally, the subordination of activity to the requirements of external reality, as in imitation. Along with ASSIMILATION, it is one of the main organizing concepts of Piaget's PSYCHOLOGY. P.L.H.


accretion (as power source). Massive objects in space attract material by the force of gravity (see GRAVITATION). For many objects the rate of capture of extraneous material by the accretion process is negligible. For example, the Milky Way GALAXY gains a mass equal to about the mass of the sun each year, but its total mass is 100 billion times greater than this. In other astronomical sites the accreted material can be very significant. When two stars are in close orbit, then if one is sufficiently large it can lose its loosely bound outer material to its companion. This material may then orbit the capturing star in a disc-like configuration -- an accretion disc. Very large amounts of energy can be radiated by material as it is accreted by a strong gravitational field. This process is believed to be responsible for the energy output from QUASARS and other active galaxies, and in these cases it is believed that the accretion is taking place on to a BLACK HOLE. The material in the accretion disc of orbiting material is slowly captured by the central source of gravitational attraction. When a black hole occurs in close orbit around an ordinary star it will very readily accrete material from the outer layers of the star which will fall into an accretion disc and radiate large quantities of X-radiation (see X-RAY ASTRONOMY). This distinctive combination of large X-ray emission from a binary system, with one member of the system the unseen source of the X-rays, is therefore regarded as the signature of a black hole by astronomers. The strongest candidate for a black hole of this sort is the unseen companion in the binary X-ray source Cygnus X-1. J.D.B.


accretion disc, see under ACCRETION.


acculturation (US term; in the UK, culture contact). A kind of CULTURE change that emerges from the interaction of two or more societies or groups with different cultural traditions. Acculturation theory was slow to emerge in ANTHROPOLOGY, which was dominated, up to the 1930s, by an historical approach that concentrated on EVOLUTION and DIFFUSION of cultural traits. Following the efforts of Malinowski and Fortes in England, and Redfield and Linton in the USA, to formulate a more consciously FUNCTIONALIST approach — which saw culture as a system rather than a collection of disparate traits — culture contact theory became more important as a means of analysing social change. The earlier contact theories tended to assume that the normal outcome of acculturation was cultural fusion or assimilation; the dominant (because of superior TECHNOLOGY or political power) culture became the melting-pot for the weaker one. Later theories have tended to be more pluralist, i.e. to show how new and creative mixtures often result from the interaction of diverse cultural traditions and groups. D.B.


accumulation theory, see under SOLAR SYSTEM.


acephalous. `Headless'. In ANTHROPOLOGY, a term applied to societies without centralized political organization or a recognized head. The term was developed by Evans-Pritchard and Fortes (African Political Systems, 1940) as part of a TYPOLOGY of political systems. They made a distinction between societies with centralized authority and judicial institutions (primitive states) and those without (stateless, acephalous societies). The question raised by acephalous societies was to understand how order was maintained in the absence of centralized authority. The Nuer of East Africa were cited as the classic example of an acephalous society. The basis of Nuer political organization was the segmentary LINEAGE. Other acephalous societies include hunter-gathering communities (see HUNTER-GATHERERS) and those organized on the basis of AGE-SET SYSTEMS. A.G.


achievement orientation, see under PATTERN VARIABLES.


Achille Lauro. The name of an Italian cruise ship hijacked in 1985 off Port Said, Egypt, by Palestinian terrorists who shot American passenger Leon Klinghoffer, 69, and threw his body and wheelchair into the Mediterranean. The terrorists, led by a rogue PLO operative named Mohammed (Abul) Abbas, released their hostages three days later in Egypt, then boarded a plane for Tunis. US Navy fighter jets forced the plane down in Sicily, where Italian authorities ignored US extradition requests, prevented Abbas's capture, and allowed him to fly to Yugoslavia, where he disappeared. Abbas, who was sentenced in absentia to life in prison by an Italian court, resurfaced in the Gaza Strip in April 1996 to show support for Yasser Arafat and the peace accord. `The killing of the passenger was a mistake.... we are sorry,' he said. R.K.H.


acid jazz. An attempt in the early 1990s to relieve the electromechanical tedium of DISCO dance music by adding some of the instrumental colours of JAZZ. The results were somewhat reminiscent of jazz-rock FUSION, but the relentlessly electronic essence of the hybrid limited the jazz output to little more than a flavouring. G.E.S.


acid rain. All rain is slightly acid because of the carbon dioxide that it absorbs from the atmosphere, but it is made much more acidic by the release into the atmosphere of sulphates, nitrates and chlorine from industrial processes, which results in the formation of sulphuric, nitric and hydrochloric acid. The death of vast expanses of forest has been attributed to acid rain, often caused by industrial processes many hundreds or thousands of miles away. For example, high-sulphur coal or oil burned in factories of the United States Midwest have caused acid rain to fall in the north-east USA and in Canada, a consequence of the prevailing wind patterns. Similar patterns of long-range transport of acid rain are found in Europe and elsewhere. Man-made structures are also harmed by acid rain, which has accelerated the decay of classic structures such as the Acropolis in Athens. Preventing emission of the chemicals which cause acid rain is costly, especially for DEVELOPING COUNTRIES such as China, where an abundance of cheap high-sulphur fuels provides a tempting alternative to stringent emission controls. A long-term solution will depend on developing clean alternatives to fossil fuels, such as solar energy techniques. For further reading: D. Botkin and E. Keller, Environmental Science (1995). W.G.R.


acmeism (from Greek acme: `zenith, blossoming, ripening'). A movement in Russian poetry which grew out of SYMBOLISM as a reaction against its MYSTICISM and excessive allusiveness. The Acmeists wanted to restore concreteness and immediacy to poetic language, `to admire a rose because it is beautiful, not because it is a symbol of purity'. Their refined lyrical verse combined poetic archaisms with simple everyday language.

    The first Acmeist group, the `Guild of Poets', was founded in St Petersburg in 1912 by Gumilev, the movement's mare theoretician. Acmeism produced three outstanding poets: Gumilev, Anna Akhmatova, and Mandelstam. Its main publication was Apollon (1909-17). It was suppressed in the early 1920s, stamped as `decadent' and `individualist'. Gumilev was executed in 1921 for his association with a counter-revolutionary plot, Mandelstam perished in the purges of the 1930s (see YEZHOVSHCHINA), Akhmatova remained silent. During World War II she published patriotic poetry. In 1946 she was severely criticized (see ZHDANOVSHCHINA), but after the thaw she re-emerged on the literary scene and published several volumes of poetry. M.E.


acquired characteristics, see under LAMARCKISM.


action painting. A phrase coined by the critic Harold Rosenberg in 1952 to define the abstract (see ABSTRACT ART), GESTURAL painting then prevalent. Rosenberg referred particularly to Willem de Kooning, although later the phrase came to be popularly associated with the name of Jackson Pollock, and with the splashing or squirting of paint on canvas; it has also been used synonymously with ABSTRACT EXPRESSIONISM and with tachisme, a French term for much the same thing. According to Rosenberg, the canvas had become `an arena in which to act', the scene of an encounter between the artist and his materials — an encounter possessing a psychological as well as a physical dimension. The term has been rejected by many artists and critics because of Rosenberg's linkage of the artist's psyche to European EXISTENTIALIST thought, and because of the FORMALIST criticism of, notably, Clement Greenberg. See also NEW YORK SCHOOL. A.K.W.


action systems, see under PARSONIAN.


active galaxies, see under QUASAR.


activism. Two main senses can be distinguished:

    (1) In its German form Aktivismus, a term used at the end of World War I to signify the principle of active political engagement by INTELLECTUALS; hence a subdivision of EXPRESSIONISM, whose political wing was strong at that time. It was associated particularly with Kurt Hiller, organizer of the Neuer Club of early expressionist poets, and with Franz Pfemfert, whose magazine Die Aktion, founded in 1911, was the more politically engaged rival of Der Sturm (see STURM, DER).

    (2) More widely, an especially vigorous attitude towards political action, an attitude resulting in particularly zestful political practice. It implies a special role for activists who form the active core of political parties. It is notable in revolutionary movements (see REVOLUTION) and particularly important in radical party politics (see RADICALISM). In its extreme form it is held to justify DIRECT ACTION and/or the use of force for political ends. In LEFT-WING politics militant is sometimes used, substantivally, in the same sense as activist, but the first refers properly to the degree of radicalism in a person's politics, the second to the degree of his involvement in politics; though usually correlated, the two are clearly distinguishable. Activists of all parties are as a rule more concerned with the purity of the party's creed than are their fellow members; this is particularly true of COMMUNIST parties, at least before they come to power, after which the role of the apparat becomes paramount. L.L.


Actors' Studio, see under METHOD, THE.


acupuncture. An approach to treatment based on the Chinese model of health and disease. The Chinese believe that in addition to a circulatory and nervous system the body possesses an energy system which flows in channels called meridians. This energy, chi, is seen to have two opposing forces, yin and yang. Disease occurs when the energy flow for whatever reason is blocked. Needles are placed in different parts of tee body along meridians to help `unblock' energy channels. The placing of needles is only one aspect of acupuncture, and a physician trained in traditional Chinese medicine will take a very long time to arrive at his diagnosis and will pay particular attention to diet, and emotional and environmental factors. Although Western science has been unable accurately to locate the existence of either `energy flow' or meridians, there is good scientific evidence that acupuncture causes the release of brain chemicals (endorphins) which act as an internal analgesic. In the West acupuncture has largely been used for muscular and arthritic conditions to relieve pain. It has also been used as an anaesthetic, and there are several reports of operations being conducted solely with the use of acupuncture. Chinese medicine as practised in China, of which acupuncture is only a part, is practised in this country mostly by non-doctors. They generally accept and treat a much wider range of disorders than conventional medical practitioners. For further reading: H. Macpherson et al, Acupuncture in Practice: Case History Insights from the West (1997). P.C.P.


adaptable theatre, see under OPEN STAGE.


adaptation.

    (1) In general BIOLOGY, the process by which an organism becomes fitted to its ENVIRONMENT, or the characteristic that renders it fit.

    (2) In BACTERIOLOGY, a change in a bacterial population which makes it possible, after a certain interval, for bacteria to use a new foodstuff or avoid the action of a new ANTIBIOTIC.

    (3) In sensory PHYSIOLOGY, the process by which an end organ ceases to respond to some uniformly applied stimulus — e.g. the adaptation of the nose to a uniform pervasive smell. In vision, adaptations are prevented from occurring by tiny wandering or scanning movements of the eye. P.M.


adaptive mutation. A genetic change (see GENETICS/GENOMICS) that improves the quality of the organism. In BIOLOGY, adaptation refers to how well the organism is designed for, or adjusted to, the environment it is living in. The neo-Darwinian theory of EVOLUTION holds that mutation is not adaptive, and it is one of the deepest features of NEO-DARWINISM that the direction of mutation is uncoupled from the direction of evolution. In most alternatives to neo-Darwinism, such as LAMARCKISM and ORTHOGENESIS, the direction of MUTATION is the same as, and the cause of, evolution. These alternatives to neo-Darwinism are generally thought to be factually erroneous. In neo-Darwinism, the direction of mutation is accidental and adaptation evolves by NATURAL SELECTION among the mutations. Such is still widely held to be the correct theory of adaptive evolution.

    However, in 1988 John Cairns and colleagues carried out an experiment with bacteria, and seemed to find that mutations were disproportionately arising in an adaptive direction, to a new environment that the experimenters had imposed on the bacteria. The result stimulated many further experiments. Two possible interpretations are that (i) the genetic changes in the experiments are not purely due to mutation, but natural selection is also operating and is the real cause of the directionality. In the experiments, it is essential to prevent selection from operating among the bacteria and biologists differ as to how effectively this has been achieved. Alternatively, (ii) the genetic changes in the experiment may be due to the switching on of previously unobserved genes — genes that are held in reserve for when the bacteria encounters the experimental environment. The changes are then not mutations, but the DNA (see NUCLEIC ACID) of the bacteria is behaving in a sense intelligently, able to switch on appropriate genes when they are needed. The issue remains open, and research continues. M.R.


adaptive radiation. The exploitation by the members of an animal or plant group of a wide variety of different HABITATS or habits of life to each of which the ORGANISMS are appropriately adapted. Thus the higher (placental) mammals show a high degree of adaptive radiation as exemplified by terrestrial carnivores, whales, moles, bats, and chimpanzees. The marsupial mammals have undergone an adaptive radiation of their own curiously similar in many ways to that of the terrestrial higher mammals. In this context the word `radiation' is of course figurative and refers to a fanning out of evolutionary lines; and adaptive radiation calls for no special explanations that do not apply equally to the remainder of EVOLUTION. P.M.


addiction. Perhaps the most useful definition of an addiction is `the inability to predict further use or abstinence in any day after the first use of an addictive substance or process' (Dr Richard Heilman). However, there are as many definitions of addiction as there are addicts and therapeutic approaches. For addicts any definition excludes themselves. This denial is the basic psychopathology: the nature of the condition is that it `tells' them, through disordered perception, that they have not got it. Addicts generally seek help only when they are in pain from the consequences of use of addictive substances or processes. Enabling (relieving their pain) can therefore be counter-productive.

    From a psychological perspective, Dr Jim Orford describes Excessive Appetites (1985) for drinking, gambling, drug taking, eating and sex. Professor Ernest Noble attributes excessive appetites for alcohol, nicotine, cocaine, caffeine and sugar to genetic defects in the 11th chromosome affecting the number of dopamine receptors in the mood centres of the brain.

    Excessive use of addictive substances often underlies major killing diseases such as cancer, strokes, heart attacks and arterial disease, gastrointestinal disturbances and obesity. Addictive behaviour is therefore more widespread and devastating than is commonly perceived.

    Genetic and environmental factors and the mood-altering capacity of specific substances and processes all play a part in the addictive process, although there has been considerable resistance to the implication of genetic impairment leading to individual powerlessness over the process of addiction, even while still being responsible for behaviour towards others. Prevention has tended to focus upon educating drinkers to stay within sensible limits, smokers to cut down or quit, and others (especially children) to `say no to drugs'. These strategies may be generally effective but a significant minority, perhaps 10 to 15 per cent of the population, fail, possibly as a result of genetic predisposition as well as environmental influences.

    The therapeutic strategy of harm-minimization aims to protect established drug users from the risks of contaminated drugs or needles leading to septicaemia, hepatitis B and C, AIDS and other damaging consequences; the supervised prescription of oral Methadone in place of black-market heroin and other drugs is intended to stabilize the individual addict and reduce the dependency upon crime for supply. However, there is increasing concern that Methadone itself has a black market and also leads to significant morbidity and mortality. The precedent that heroin was introduced to the pharmacopoeia as a non-addictive alternative to morphia is not encouraging. Nor has been the reluctance (until very recently) to accept the addictive nature of various prescription medications such as tranquillizers, painkillers and sleeping tablets. The debate continues on anti-depressants, currently seen by some as a panacea and by others as just another addictive substance.

    Further debates on the relative risks of `hard' or `soft' drugs and whether some should be legalized or decriminalized may underestimate the individual risk from genetic predisposition. The full structural analysis of the HUMAN GENOME PROJECT, anticipated by the year 2005, will present enormous challenges to current ideas and clinical practices on the treatment of addiction.

    The concept of addictive disease affecting some people but not others is central to the Minnesota method of treatment, based upon the principles of Alcoholics Anonymous (see ALCOHOLISM). Some people are said to be powerless over the use of some or all mood-altering substances and processes and therefore total abstinence is advisable, combined with regular attendance at an appropriate anonymous fellowship as a continuing substitute mood-altering process. The requirement that sufferers should have a God or Higher Power than self is highly contentious and is discussed extensively in Not God by Ernest Kurtz.

    The comprehensive `matching study' funded by the National Institute for Alcoholism and Alcohol Abuse in the USA (1997) found the therapeutic approach of Alcoholics Anonymous to be more effective than motivational enhancement or cognitive behavioural approaches that attempt to build upon the sufferer's own resources.

    The mirror-image of addiction (in which the addict needs to be `fixed' in some way) is `compulsive helping', the need to be needed. Compulsive helping is also progressive and destructive and is also treated with a continuing twelve-step programme of an anonymous fellowship. R.M.H.L.


Adelphi, The, see under CRITERION, THE.


adelphic polyandry, see under POLYANDRY.


adequacy. A term used in GENERATIVE GRAMMAR as a CRITERION of the extent to which the goals of linguistic theory have been achieved. Three levels of adequacy, or stages of achievement, are recognized.

    Observational adequacy is achieved when a grammar gives a correct description of a corpus of data, but does not make generalizations based on this. Descriptive adequacy is achieved to the extent that a grammar gives a correct account of a speaker's COMPETENCE, his intuitive knowledge of a language. Explanatory adequacy is achieved to the extent that a linguistic theory provides principles for determining which of a number of descriptively adequate grammars is the best (see EVALUATION PROCEDURE). Structural LINGUISTICS was criticized by Chomsky as being too preoccupied with observational adequacy. Very little headway has been made in the study of explanatory adequacy. D.C.


adhocracy. An organization in which there is no rigid organizational structure and in which people work in teams on individual projects. The teams often change their personnel, their shape and relationship to one another. Managers, experts and support staff are brought together to work on specific projects on an ad hoc basis, and teams are disbanded and new teams reformed once projects are complete. Adhocracies are held to be less hierarchical than bureaucracies and more suited to operating in a POSTFORDIST world in which markets are constantly changing and organizations need to be flexible to react rapidly to changing conditions. For further reading: H. Mintzberg, Structures in Fives: Designing Effective Organizations (1983). M.D.H.


Adlerian. Adjective applied to a school of PSYCHOANALYSIS originating in the work of Alfred Adler (Vienna, 1870-1937); also a substantive, meaning a member of that school. In the course of an early, close association with Freud (see FREUDIAN), Adler began to develop his own INDIVIDUAL PSYCHOLOGY, in which he came to reject Freud's LIBIDO theory, together with his views of infantile sexuality and of sexuality as the root source of NEUROSIS; and finally (1912) he severed relations with Freud. Adler's fundamental notion was the helplessness of the infant, with its feelings of inferiority. The infant has an urge to overcome and compensate for all this. The key conditions that determine how he achieves this compensation are the inter-personal relations in the family. The upshot is that the child acquires his own LIFESTYLE, or way of dealing with his situation. Where this fails, the person may retain an uncompensated feeling of inferiority (an INFERIORITY COMPLEX), and this can lead to a neurotic style of behaviour (see NEUROSIS). Adler's influence, though to some extent indirect and unacknowledged, has been considerable, especially in the USA. For further reading: A. Adler, The Practice and Theory of Individual Psychology (1924); B. Handlbauer, The Freud-Adler Controversy (1997). B.A.F.


admass. Term coined by J. B. Priestley in 1955 (Journey Down a Rainbow) for an economic, cultural and social order dominated and saturated by the drive reflecting the illusory world of the ADVERTISING copywriter's `ad', and obsessively promoted through the mass media. Admass leads to the creation and purveying of LIFESTYLES in the context of a glittering CONSUMER SOCIETY which, it is claimed, stifles creativity and individuality, and distorts human feelings, needs, and emotions (see MASS CULTURE; MASS SOCIETY). P.S.L.


adult education (continuing education). Part-time education for adults, irrespective of their previous educational attainment. In Britain, it is a tradition developed and maintained by the Workers' Educational Association (WEA), whose original purpose was to teach liberal arts subjects to persons in full employment who may have left school at a young age; but WEA courses became popular with a broad section of the population, and anyone is welcome to attend them. It is an idea also promoted by local education authorities, who offer evening courses in schools. In Britain and in Europe adult education can also include the idea of continuing professional development, in which managers, technicians and professionals attend courses, often paid for by their employer, in order to keep up with the latest developments in their field. Britain's OPEN UNIVERSITY, where adults may take university degrees by correspondence, is a significant adult education institute.

    In the USA, adult education is modelled more closely on the university or college system, where students are offered courses for which they receive `credits' (often transferrable) which may be accumulated over time and which count towards a college degree. S.T.


adventurism, see under DEVIATIONISM.


advertising. The earliest advertisement extant can be found in the ruins of Ephesus. It is for a brothel. Advertising thinking has not advanced a great deal since then. Prior to World War II, advertising was sloganeering: `Guinness is good for you', `Friday night is Amami night'. With the advent of commercial television it became big business. Thinking now originated with marketing directors and brand managers (clients); agency reps and bag carriers (account executives) assumed a new importance as `custodians of the brand', with the consumer represented by a curious mixture of researcher and strategy creator (planners). Their findings were passed to the copywriter and art director whose job it became to translate the strategy into a memorable and effective television, press or poster advertisement, the key word being creativity. Creativity, to be noticed by the TV viewer, newspaper or magazine reader, or poster observer, necessarily means instant attention-getting, resulting in a glibness or lateral cleverness, not to be confused with creativity in, say, film, literature or art, and frequently is exposed as a new form of prewar sloganeering (`Heineken refreshes the parts other beers cannot reach', `Drinka pinta milka day', `Hello Tosh gotta Toshiba'). Concern that such creativity has hidden shallows has resulted in a plethora of self-aggrandizing award festivals, locally and internationally, at which `creatives' award each other glittering prizes to celebrate the quality of their creative thinking. D.W.


advocacy planning. In TOWN PLANNING, professional advice and representation for COMMUNITY groups and individuals in challenging and providing alternative inputs to proposed development proposals. Many socially motivated planners would argue that the planning process must incorporate and reflect the views of all members of the community, especially under-represented groups such as ethnic minorities, women, youth groups and the elderly. In particular, there are demands for greater acknowledgement of the contribution of black people and businesses to urban society and the economy in the development of planning policy. Concern has been expressed on both sides of the Atlantic at what has been seen as the discriminatory application of planning controls, zoning ordinances and public health regulations in respect of ethnic minority restaurants, taxi services and businesses. For further reading: M. Cross and M. Keith (eds), Racism, the City and the State (1993). C.G.

(Continues...)

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