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Social theories overview (part 2) - Society and Culture - MCAT - Khan Academy
Four Perspectives on Cultural Studies
This article offers a critical review of the concept of social capital, focusing on the theoretical underpinnings of the communitarian approach. It argues that this approach has a culturalist bias that omits key issues of inequality, conflict and power, making it a tool that is unlikely to contribute significantly to poverty reduction or development. As an example, it describes the adoption of the concept by the World Bank and provides a case study of rural community organization in Ecuador. In a paper leading to the world banks world Development Report, John Williamson, the economist who coined the term "Washington Consensus', described the theoretical phases that economic development thinking has experienced since World War II The first one, lasting from the s to the s, emphasized the accumulation of physical capital as a way to achieve development. Under this framework, the factors of production were the stepping-stones of growth. In the second phase, running through the s, human capital, that bundle of knowledge and skills held by individuals, became the explanatory variable of choice.
Sociocultural theory is an emerging theory in psychology that looks at the important contributions that society makes to individual development. This theory stresses the interaction between developing people and the culture in which they live. Sociocultural theory also suggests that human learning is largely a social process. Sociocultural theory grew from the work of seminal psychologist Lev Vygotsky , who believed that parents, caregivers, peers, and the culture at large were responsible for developing higher order functions. According to Vygotsky, learning has its basis in interacting with other people. Once this has occurred, the information is then integrated on the individual level:.
In the last quarter of the 20th century, four approaches to cultural studies drew growing attention. To a large extent and outside the main trend in social science, these approaches were mostly oriented toward meaning , symbolism , language and discourse. They were rooted in deeper philosophical traditions, which were different and significantly outside the positivist tradition of contemporary social science. The first approach is phenomenology , then cultural anthropology , structuralism and critical theory. Mostly European in origin, these perspectives increasingly attracted more attention to the point that the main assumptions of cultural research considerably derived from one or more of these traditions. Each of these approaches has been the subject of major theoretical work and they all include competitive concepts and influential, leading authors with substantial contributions to cultural studies in their own right. Leading figures include Peter L.
Culture, Development and Social Theory places culture back at the centre of debates in development studies. The author expertly argues that in the current world crises it is necessary to recover a more holistic vision of development that creates a vocabulary linking more technical and predominantly economic aspects of development with more humanistic and ecological goals. Any conception of post-capitalist society, he argues, requires cultural, as well as economic and political, dimensions. Previously he taught development sociology, contemporary Asian studies and the sociology of art at Sophia University, Tokyo. His academic and practical interests range over development sociology, environmental sociology, urban sociology, the sociology of religion, post-colonialist indigenous social theory, social movements, economic anthropology and alternative and post-capitalist economies, the sociology of art and critical social theory, both Western and non-Western. His current research relates to solidarity economics, issues of art and society and the place of culture in development and in particular alternative forms of sustainable development. He is the author of numerous books, including most recently Diaspora and Belief: Globalisation, Religion and Identity in Postcolonial Asia.