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The Dictionary of the Social Sciences is a comprehensive reference work with over 1700 entries ranging from fifty to five hundred words covering topics such as anthropology, sociology, economics, political science, cultural studies, human and cultural geography, and Marxism. The Dictionary is aimed at students and scholars who need ready access to defined terms in a social science outside of their immediate area of expertise, for example an economist needing information regarding a political science term. The question ‘What are the social sciences?’ is one to which no final answer can be given, since – like other groupings of scientific and academic fields – the social sciences differ in their scope from one generation to another. There are also within-generation differences: witness the continuing controversies over whether history should be considered as one of the social sciences or as a humanistic discipline; whether geography is an independent social science or a synthetic discipline that draws upon both the social sciences and the earth sciences; whether law is a social science or a body of professional and philosophical knowledge; whether psychology belongs with the social or the natural sciences; and whether psychiatry is a social science or a branch of medicine. While the proposed dictionary will reflect the contemporary concerns of the editors, entries will certainly represent social anthropology, economics, political sciences, sociology, and statistical methodologies. The Dictinary will necessary avoid a thorough overview of these disciplines – the criteria for inclusion will limit entries to those topics in each area that will be of interest to trans-disciplinary users. A thematically organized bibliography will also be included. ‘Craig Calhoun is a superb choice as editor in chief. He is a fine scholar, with exceptionally wide-ranging interests in all the social sciences. What’s more, he is tied into various “invisible colleges” and cognitive networks that transcend his own primary interest in sociology. I believe that you have hit upon a prime prospect.’ – Robert Merton, University Professor Emeritus, Columbia University ‘I do not know Craig Calhoun personally, but his career suggests he is certainly competent and well-connected. Yes, I do recommend publication.’ – David L. Sills.
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