Michael J Francisconi. 21st Century Anthropology: A Reference Handbook. 2010. Sage Publication.
History is both a structured and a dynamic process. The history of history begins with the proposition that it is the telling of history that is important. Objectivity is a specific interpretation that is related to a specific subjective reference point. The social facts a historian deals with are related to dominant but changing social forces that appear dissimilar to people with different points of reference. These social facts and forces are defined in terms of historical trends that are interpreted differently by different historians of the same time period. Historical trends then presuppose that a transformation is happening with these social facts. Changes in the social life of a nation are reflected in the changes in the class structure, and ultimately changes in the productive techniques and social environment.
Human knowledge as expressed by individual psychology develops collectively through growing up and interacting in a social setting in concert with a changing social environment. Even the language that a people speaks is learned through communication within social groupings. The world as we experience it is created out of the way we see our lives and think about our personal active participation in the events of our lives. This, in turn, is at every point a social creation.
We are products of our social upbringing. Our thoughts and ideas are the invention of a specific set of social, cultural, and historical conditions. We learn through the exchange of ideas in the social setting we participate in.
Each culture within its own historical setting develops a unique worldview. Every culture develops along its own path, with its own thought patterns that are created out of a shared but changing worldview and narration. This is reflected in the way a people responds to events in their world.
Within each society and each ethnic group in that society, different classes often develop different, and sometimes competing, belief arrangements and points of view. Even within classes, different genders and generations develop competing convictions and perspectives. This is true even if people are employing the same symbols and unifying ideologies. These distinctive occurrences in the collective beliefs and attitudes are built on historical paradigms. New sets of assumptions that constitute a way of viewing reality for the community are forged from what is left over from past worldviews, creating an acknowledged understanding that becomes recognized as real. This change develops continuously because life is always changing. Altered circumstances that are lived in the present stand in contrast with past interpretations of life. Because people are active within their social environment, their environment reflects that activity. People interact consciously with their environment. While reacting to their immediate needs, they often create outcomes that have long-term effects. This is in part the nature of social evolution. The result is largely the consequences of our collective actions that are, in fact, unpredicted. This leads to a need for a people to come up with new strategies to come to terms with the changes brought about in the societal ecosystem. History at this point is the story of important modifications.
History reflects recurrent adjustment to a continuously changing environment. There is constant engagement between communities, between individuals within communities, and between people within their larger environment. This alteration also coaxes a persistent reinterpretation of the conventional cardinal philosophy. This is the essence of the enduring human condition.
To understand these changes by using both diachronic anthropology and historical sociology, we begin by observing just how situational truth is. It is not enough to describe a social fact objectively. The historical sociologists/ anthropologists need to also look at the cultural understanding of the fact in the context of the larger society. This includes the careful examination of the motives, values, and interpretations of the participating actors in their lived social drama. In the social sciences, objective explanations are in fact trite, dispassionate accounts, and without cultural understandings, they are basically dull.
Because changes in people’s attitudes reflect changes in their existential reality, a people’s beliefs and point of view are part of any scientific study of society. The actual experience of existence is filtered through a shared worldview that is culturally and historically specific. Each cultural-historical epoch has its own unusual and salient worldview. The historical artifacts of socially created worldviews are the tense interaction between differing worldviews of the historian and the subject matter being studied. The actual threat of domestic communism during the post–World War II era is going to be told differently by historians who came of age in the turmoil of the 1960s and those who came of age in the post–Cold War era, 30 years later. The second set of historians does not have the same sense of moral indignation leveled against the U.S. government’s antisubversive programs.
Along similar lines, particular sociological theories are set in specific historical settings. Established social theories correspond to the position and point of view of the individual who initially set up the theory. The devotees inhabit a distinctive point in the tiered social structure. Each theory, then, has a legitimate perspective given the social site of the researcher.
Any serious study of anthropology or sociology would require that at some point students carefully read the classics while examining the historical context in which they were written. Because the contemporary code of beliefs and philosophies is created out of elements of past theories, the classics remain important to any dynamic study of sociology. Through anthropology, we can better understand the historical and social-cultural context that gives rise to any theory.
For example, the idea that a society is like an integrated organism requires that the writer be living in a modern industrial nation-state. British structural functionalism is set in the early 20th century and is intellectually reflective of the British Empire. The incorporated essence of this society bears a resemblance to an organism. This analogy is derived from the structure of a society in which different institutions, like different organ systems of a living individual, tend to specialize in function. Functionalism reflects the development of a modern industrial society following the French Revolution in Europe. In these societies, because of an integrated market economy, the society moves in the direction of a more centralized and efficient economic and political amalgamation.
A modern industrial society cooks up a multitude of theories developed to explain the same or similar phenomena. The anthropologist or sociologist or historian is a product of this environment. The opposing theories represent conflicting social positions in the same society.
19th-Century Evolutionary Thought
Evolutionary thought began to take root during the 18th-century European Enlightenment. By the second half of the 19th century, evolutionary anthropologists were developing evolutionary thought even before Charles Darwin published On the Origin of Species (1859). Biblical scholars looked on non-European societies as being an erosion of a basic humanity that monotheism, and specifically Christianity, had generated. The evolutionist developed an alternative view by hypothesizing that nonwhites (i.e., non-Europeans) were a more primitive type of human subspecies. Monotheism was superior to either polytheism or animism. Science was superior to religion and rationalism superior to mysticism. Consequently, European civilization was at the apex of evolutionary development. All other cultures were somewhere along the evolutionary trajectory from early apelike hominids to modern Europeans.
In reaction to universal evolution, Franz Boas became a founding spirit of historical particularism, which claimed that the universal or unilinear evolution, in which Europe was the apex, was teleological and therefore not scientific. British structural functionalism also became antievolutionary in how it saw the separate parts of a society interact to form a cooperating whole as being the focus of their studies; this synchronic theory characterizes the most important goal of any cultural element as being the harmony of the society as a whole. In doing so, history is not the core in these studies. However, history could not be ignored. Change is a constant in all social settings. Therefore, societies must be studied in their historical context. Cultural evolution reemerges as a fact of life.
Historical sociology as a part of diachronic anthropology demonstrates the continuous development of groups, classes, nations, and social institutions in which one set of social organizations replaces earlier examples. In doing this, we learn how each small part interacts with the others in order to establish ever-larger units until we define a global economy.
In the study of the mixture of discrete elements, we learn that these parts come together to provide an interrelated whole. The world is made up of a combination of millions of local communities that are always in a process of transformation. Because of the increasing tempo of change following World War II and the degree of external intrusion in local affairs, process theory developed as a sharp criticism of functionalism by a younger anthropologist hostile to colonialism.
Cultural motifs form themes that condition the evolution of future national designs. A modern way of looking at the world would not have been possible before the advent of the Industrial and Liberal Revolutions. The modern mind-set develops a way of looking at things along the lines of a concept that holds that both the past and the future are real units of time and that this linear time frame is real and related to an ever-changing present. This liberal worldview is a noticeable departure from the previous age in which people saw truth as both absolute and unchanging.
Capitalism, liberal government, industrial technology, and scientific development mutually feed one another. Liberal society began being defined during the Enlightenment of the 18th century, and with Adam Smith’s Wealth of Nations and the Market Economy, its rough outline was delineated. Along the same lines, feudal privilege and the power of religion was being challenged. Science developed in this environment. Modern rational philosophy was the expression of a revolutionary, capitalist bourgeoisie in its assent to power. Empiricism and science became the practical expression of the empowered capitalist class. The growing capitalist economy required the quantitative analysis of market possibilities, production expenses, and technological innovation.
With a market economy, production grows in importance, replacing local subsistence economy. The new market economy was founded on an exchange of values and prices that defined the relationship among production units and thus among individuals. Previously, production and production units were embedded in social obligations. Thus, the expansion of market relations within a society changed the established social relations.
Because liberalism became the dominant worldview, the political changes that followed were revolutionary. Natural law and human nature became the cornerstones of the new philosophy. National identity creates a general spirit of the time and outlook, going beyond local distinctiveness and native uniqueness. “The rights of man” and resistance against tyranny replaced theocratic absolutes. Through revolution in Europe and America and colonialism everywhere else, liberal ideas spread throughout most of the world. As the liberal bourgeois society spread, it destroyed much of the time-honored social organization in traditional society. The ideas of John Locke, Jean Rousseau, Adam Smith, and others helped to define much of the liberal thought, which gained a definition.
The reaction to the spread of liberal society was the expansion and fruition of conservative philosophy. Conservatism came into existence with the advent of liberal capitalism. Because there is a specific connection between beliefs, attitudes, values, and the social circumstances of a particular group, it can be seen that the conservative ideology appeals to those most threatened by the spread of capitalism. By putting an end to the ancient order, a call for its return is likely to follow.
Because of the rise of liberal society and its corresponding worldview, conservative philosophy would be characterized by its way of following and countering an opposition to liberalism. Conservative philosophy was born after and not before liberal philosophy. Because it was a reaction against capitalism, it was a dream of a return either to feudalism in Europe or to a traditional society everywhere else. Because science, empiricism, rationalism, and modern technology coevolved with capitalism, conservatives find a lot to fight against. Because this progressive market economy undermines the ancient order and the saga of heroes—to free both people and resources for production for profit—those who did better under a traditional society will oppose both free enterprise and science. To the conservative, liberalism, capitalism, and modernism were seen as the destruction of all that was decent in life to the conservative thinker.
The conservative movement was a romantic attempt to reestablish traditional communities that existed before capitalism. The capitalist and the working class are a product of capitalism, and both stand to gain nothing by a return to the antique civilization. Thus, both the capitalist and the working class are very much underrepresented in the ranks of the conservative thinker.
Those elements utterly damaged by the development of bourgeois-capitalist society are the small-property owners, such as small farmers, peasants, urban small-business owners, independent artisans, and the self-employed. These factions join forces with the natural leaders of the conservative movement, the large-landed aristocracy with ties to their feudal or traditional past.
With the robust formation of a romantic-conservative movement, a milieu is set up in which some intellectuals, who feel alienated from both bourgeois liberalism and the socialism of the revolutionary working class, can find a home within the setting of the romantic folklore, that is, a vision of what the traditional society was like before the Enlightenment of the 18th century, the Industrial Revolution of the 19th century, and the modern global capitalism of the 20th century. Community is defended against society. The spiritual is seen as preferable to science. Family and kinship are understood as favored over contracts and professional qualifications. The conservatives such as Friedrich Wilhelm Joseph von Schelling or Joseph de Maistre believed that society must be governed by divinely inspired internal principles that are embedded in deep traditional roots, which are culturally embedded and long established within deep historical roots.
The Radical Left as an Intellectual Tradition
With the advancement of the market economy and the Industrial Revolution, a new industrial working class is formed from the disrupted elements of the previous society. These detached fragments come together to form a distinct organic class unique to capitalism. Wage labor is the minimum requirement for the further development of industrial capital. The working class has lost its connection to traditional society and can now be fashioned into an original class within capitalism. Because the very nature of wage labor is creating a surplus for the capitalist, the defining characteristic of the proletariat is exploitation. It is only the natural workers who develop an alternative perspective in opposition to liberal philosophy. Socialism stands in marked opposition to both liberals and conservatives. Because of shared common experiences, socialism can be neither liberal nor conservative.
Anthropology of Advocacy
Along similar lines, many anthropologists see their roles not only as researchers but also as advocates for the people they study. In 1968, anthropologist Helga Kleivan formed the International Work Group for Indigenous Affairs as a human rights support organization to help indigenous peoples define their rights, maintain control over their lands, and maintain their independent existence. Science has served capitalism well by creating this worldview of objectivity in which truth is independent of ethics. Now, these anthropologists claim that they must offer whatever assistance they can to help the surviving indigenous peoples to resist becoming the victims of someone else’s progress.
Rise of Fascism
Fascism is the effect of failed liberalism and the excessive remains of conservatism that has come to nothing. As fascism goes, it absorbs disempowered liberals and disenchanted socialists. Fascism is both activist and irrational. Militant engagement and the intuitive sentiments are glorified over reason and caution. Leadership is virtually made sacred. Elite theory states that history is made by elites, and everyone else simply follows. The acting without regard to science or reason, placing the act of conquest above ethical principles, negates the need for careful analysis or an interpretation of history.
Fascists believe that history at the simplest level, while an intellectually coherent and understandable method of knowledge, disappears. Fascism is the irrational exaltation of the deed, and the antihistorical myth takes priority over history as the imaginative symbols provide the edifice for the simple rendition of a future golden age based on a newly created folklore of the past that is envisioned by the leader. History becomes a lie, and the myth is a creative fiction become real in the hearts of the masses. Only the leader has the vision, and the rest of the population is only glad for the prophet to lead them out of the wilderness.
In the beginning, Fascism was anticapitalist and antisocialist. While destroying socialism by its strong hostility to equality, democracy, and all socialist ideology, it borrows from the people’s socialism in order to make the claim that it speaks to the masses. While being anticapitalist, fascism can never come to power without making peace with the very largesse of capitalists who not only support but also finance it in the quest for power.
Fascism makes an extremely patriotic use of platitudes, catch phrases, flags, symbols, songs, and strong emotions to rally crowds of people into the frenzy of a unifying mania of patriotism. Xenophobia and a passionate love of one’s “country” rally large groups of people against the treat of a common foe, that is, anyone or anything that is different. Because of a perceived need for national security, basic civil liberties and human rights are seen as a luxury that needs to be suspended for the greater need for security. The military, our protector, is given top priority in government funding until social programs must be cut to pay for the swollen military budgets. Life in the military is glorified, while human rights and peace activists are vilified. Sexism is commonplace. Opposition to abortion is a high priority, as is homophobia and antigay legislation. Religion is central to fascism. Government backing for the dominant religion receives support from many in the church hierarchies. The industrial and business upper crust support the government leaders, creating a mutually beneficial business-to-government relationship and strengthening the position of the power elite. In spite of a popular appeal, ordinary working people are treated like expendable resources. Workers in their labor unions are severely suppressed. There is encouragement of an open hostility to higher education. Intellectuals are dismissed as irrelevant. Professors who are competent are sometimes censored or fired for taking a political stand. Openness in the arts is blatantly harassed either in the public media or by the government, which refuses to fund the arts. Either the mass media are directly controlled or their range of opinions are limited through a control of funding.
Elite theory is based on the idea that a small, powerful ruling elite rules all societies. Politics is but the tool by which this elite maintains control. Leaders govern because the masses are too weak to rule themselves. Vilfredo Pareto (1848–1923) claimed that the ruling elite was in fact an association of superior individuals having the will to power. Because of this, history is the “circulation of elites.” As one group of elites becomes weak, it is replaced by another group of elites in a violent revolution. Gaetano Mosca (1858–1941) added that the superiority of the political elite was based on the fact that the elites have the virtues needed to rule. Often proponents of this theory looked on fascism as a necessary corrective force.
The conflicts among classes, ethnic groups, and classes within ethnic groups reflect larger social contradictions. The long-lasting results are the deployment of reciprocally contradictory explanations for social reality in capitalist societies. Sociology gives us the tools to study the complex interactions of a whole society within a global context. Anthropology adds a cross-cultural and historical component within which to better understand the relational connections among social interactions. But there is more than one kind of sociology, and social or cultural anthropology is often found in a separate department at a college or university. Competing groups use the sociological method in mutually antagonistic ways.
Critical historical sociology is the basis of scientific socialism. What is largely a cultural subconsciousness of competing groups within a larger society is exposed through historical sociology. This is why Marxism defines the rest of sociology as either a debate with the ghost of Marx or an attempt at trying to disprove or defend or reform Marxism.
Historical studies are embedded in a rigorous theory that can be used to examine the data. Radical social scientists use the critical methods in the demanding engagement of social activism. This is analyzed in the context of power relationships to determine the possibilities of collective vigorous action as a means of achieving radical political and economic change. By becoming aware of one’s social, cultural, political, and economic situation, the activists become aware of the real conditions. From this awareness, one can begin to see the possibilities in terms of strategies to strengthen one’s class or group’s position in society.
Intellectuals exist in all classes, and many, for personal reasons, transcend class lines by strongly identifying with another class. Because many intellectuals identify so closely with a class other than the one of their origin, they bring fresh insights into their adoptive class. Communication among intellectuals of antagonistic classes is easy. This allows for the intellectual in each of the major classes to develop counterarguments to any and all criticisms of the intellectuals’ theories. This creates a cross-fertilization of ideas. Intellectuals are strongly influenced by their opponents. Departmental divisions and specializations at the university only weaken this trend.
At one level, a group of intellectuals representing themselves as professionals structurally becomes its own class, both in and for itself. With the increasing specialization and growth of bureaucracy since the end of the 19th century, the modern nation-state saw the rise of a new class to challenge the capitalists for dominance. Not the industrial working class but the professional class is next in line to be the ruling class.
With increasing specialization, the expanding bureaus or departments are staffed with educated professionals. The importance of the expert means that democracy is continuously being undermined. Both capital and labor become increasingly dependent on the expert, and the professionals progressively take on more responsibility for all aspects of life. The overall working class is kept permanently disempowered. At the top levels of the major universities and research institutes, a small group of professionals form a power block that can be seen as a real threat to the most powerful capitalists. Because of the capitalists’ dependence on these intelligentsia, there is a monopoly of expert knowledge.
With experts in a class of their own, the two power blocks, capitalists versus professionals, begin to compete for dominance in the larger capitalist society. The prize is control over the economy and politics. A small elite versus a not-quite-as-small elite means the serious rivalry between capital and expertise, suggesting that the majority of the population is left out of the preponderance of decisions affecting their lives. Add to this a highly industrialized military, and the total domination of society by these twin oligarchies is complete. Most people, because of the quality of their education, are kept ignorant of the process that allows a small group of autocrats to dominate their lives.
The anxiety of the powerless is intensified because of their inability to gain any substantive insight into their lives. Personal shrewdness replaces political understanding. Because rebellion becomes undirected, the repressed assert themselves through irrational outbursts. Leaders of the nation count on this and manipulate the influence of management in order to control the population. Either crime for the individual or fascism for the many allows people to avoid the worst aspects of this perfidious class structure. Crime and fascism is preferred to revolution.
For the proletarian intellectual, the challenge is to gain an understanding of these social facts in order to direct social change by influencing people to take the actions that will strengthen their choices. If a proletarian mental laborer and cultural worker carefully examine the current social situation and its historical background, the iron cage can be unlocked. The essential major thinking is the hopeful knowledge of objective opportunity making it likely to coordinate tangible circumstances and capability. Since each of the competing factions within society use their own sociological theories and have a drastically different understanding and analysis of what is going on, it is important to understand that the opposing theories are of the social environment and must be carefully studied. The more complete the study, the more likely the activist will come up with a successful program.
If a psychological explanation fails to take into account changing goals, values, and beliefs that are socially defined, we will know nothing about how changing social and cultural circumstances mold the personality. Every judgment includes values of good and evil, beauty and unattractiveness, or just better or worse. All knowing or learning is a group project. Individual knowledge is born in this group process, and each person influences that process. This is what we study in our struggles with the opposition. Combined achievement of conflicting groups establishes daily habits while defining the struggle.
Different cultures have their own evolutionary trajectories. Individuals experience similar events differently, and the significance of events is viewed differently by different classes. Elites and the dispossessed live in different universes. Each segment within the larger group has unique standards and deciphers the ordinary contents and knowledge of daily life and life experiences differently. Unless an individual has a real break with the past, his or her experiences generally confirm what is already believed to be true. Only when the external world comes in direct conflict with established beliefs does conversion become likely.
While knowing is interpreted through the living experiences of a personal biography, it is set in a social and historical context. Social position and life situations influence the particular character of this world and the encounters of real people. Through the active creation of their technology, their material culture, and the process of survival, people reproduce and change their social relations, resulting in a particular way of thinking and responding to their environment.
Meaning is related to the general ideas that bring together a combination of culturally unique processes and purposes for a historically explicit episode. When a person fails to understand the long-term consequences of an immediate action, it can be viewed as an example of false consciousness. Because knowledge is set in a historical context, it is not relative because some statements are incorrect. Knowledge is dependent on historical and social relationships to be correct. However, values and goals of the observer are as important as the subject in any study. The interaction between theory and the social setting points to a relation between various elements in the social setting.
Ideology, Revolution, and Reaction
Science has grown with the advent of the university’s independence from the church. Science by the mid-19th century was closely allied with industry, finance capital, and the rising power of the nation-state. During the prior 200 years, science had to fight against the feudal theocratic monopoly of political domination over the rest of society. With the establishment of the liberal state, science as an intellectual movement became the new symbol of hope or official creed. The romantic-conservative reaction fought a pitched battle, retreating into idealistic reconsideration of a venerated fable of history. It established a historical tradition creating an antirational folklore of the way things should remain. However, socialists, both utopian and scientific, would steal science in support of a revolutionary transformation of society and its eventual management. This world-shattering overhaul and ultimate organization would develop but not replace science.
Science is a method of studying events and objects around us and produces a history of ideas developed using an evolving scientific method. What is chosen to be researched is entrenched in the history that the researcher is part of. These research priorities are in turn affected by and effect our living concepts of nature. The ever-changing result is that discoveries are embedded in political, social, and economic historical forces. Social science follows a similar path.
In point of fact, the economic base only sets the limits of what is possible, as the environmental and technological bases set the limits for the economy. The economy in turn is limited by the possibilities of the rest of the sociocultural environment. All parts of the social and cultural whole have a profound effect on each of the other parts of the historically changing whole. Science is no exception. The history of science is the investigation of associations. Now, although the arrow of causality goes both ways, it more often than not travels from existence to consciousness. This complicates social science research, making the break between science and philosophy less clear.
The philosophy of social science, like science itself, is set inside a moving history that reflects a set of values or reflects a point of view that is overloaded with cultural biases. Theory is necessary to understand anything, and theory reflects both ideologies and their underlying world-views. These basic culturally derived assumptions saturate our scientific thinking. This in turn establishes what we consider to be facts. This becomes the foundation of our scientific theories, and an established theory sets up research priorities and delineates adequate scientific discoveries.
Historical sociologists such as Weber, Mannheim, and Merton (and their current counterparts) find a way of rooting the history of science in society without risking tenure or promotion in the academic world by believing that they are objective scholars. Theory and practice are forever separated in their cowardice. While attempting neutrality, these scholars studied in detail the historical and social context of the development of science while avoiding the moral context of scientific research. These brilliant intellectuals carried on excellent scholarship. They even studied the close relationship between technology, economic class, and a global economy within the evolution of science, but what is lacking is the ethical consequences of scientific research. Much has been done in the way of research into the class origins of scientists. The culture of scientific communities, patronage of individual research projects, commercial and political investments in grants to researchers, scientific accountability and to whom have been carried out in detail without asking the difficult question of ethical responsibility. The honors given to top scientists along with accolades, the ethos of laboratory analysis, and scientific lack of responsibility to the powerless, poor, and dispossessed is left unstudied.
Where Is Science Now?
Chronological storytelling would have us believe that scientific insight develops progressively in the path of a superior gathering of more and more factual knowledge. This myth is at the present time generally ridiculed as a history that is overly simple and highly subjective of a romanticized fantasy of fulfillment (Mannheim, 1936, p. 205). This fairy tale is founded on the illusion of a universal scientific method, similar to the economic fable of marginal utility. This literary fiction would have us believe a body of scientific knowledge is allegedly expanded by generalizing from the gathering of information from meticulous observations and experiments rather than to the articulation of universal laws presented as fact.
There are convincing points of view that there are many acceptable methods in any research. We need to subject all research to rigorous assessments because it is possible to chip away at the complete scheme of a single scientific method by arguing that human action cannot be comprehended as a simple process of following general rules applicable to any research project. It may be that working scientists are not constrained by any of the rules of method that are universally applicable.
The conflicting total worldview of an entire class in contemporary society is molded by the existential condition of history. This existential moment of choice is the focus of the external manifestation of a way of life. Each particular mind-set identifies itself as the psychology of an individual. What lies behind a personal set of beliefs is born out of that person’s social and historical location. Ultimately, the total social and cultural origin of the psychology lies in a changing historical setting.
All philosophy or science or religion is a social product that is created out of a very real living history shared differently by different groups. Each person is the product of a specific social environment. Because different classes experience life differently, they develop conflicting interests and opposing values. The oppressed want change that will end their oppression. The oppressed look to the future with their utopian dreams. The liberal looks to preserve the current social inequality by allowing only those reforms that will safeguard the status quo. The romantic looks longingly at the existing conditions of the past in the hope of reestablishing those golden days of yesteryear.
The predominant patterns that are socially arranged provide the raw resources for shared culture. Thinking, accepted wisdom, reasoning, imagining, judgment, conclusions, opinions, and beliefs can be radically transformed through ever-changing social conditions. However, the new patterns of thought are formed out of the obsolete and altered outlines of previous thought.
In every historical period, knowing is given birth from genuine existing phenomena. All elements of meaning in a given situation are interconnected causally and have reference to each part and to the whole. When a shared, collective set of circumstances changes, the arrangement of norms, customs, and values ceases to be in harmony with real life and a rupture arises with reference to traditional beliefs.
A crisis arises within the traditional philosophy of wisdom and its corresponding historical perspective. This forms a new reciprocal interrelated framework of thought. People themselves change as does basic human nature, both of which are culturally distinct. People are always adapting and regenerating through the awareness of a new body of knowledge and are consequently generating innovative factions. There are new compositions of groupings of intellectual categories, leading to changes in patterns of social stratification in the larger society and ever-changing debates between antagonistic segments of society and their differing views of that society.
Competing social theories are always being redefined and reinforced to offset potential criticism. The theories once articulated directly inform the participants of what needs to be done. Then, they act in ways that change the social environment and the corresponding political culture.
The statement of any scholar may be true or false, valid or invalid, but it is so only in the context of a specific social, cultural, and historical context. Because of continuously changing social environments, categorical forms of knowledge are always changing. What is right in any one period of time will be wrong in another. Validity is determined within the context in which categories themselves are changing. Consequently, theory must continuously be updated to be valid.