Encyclopedia of Sociology, Volume 1



Encyclopedia of Sociology, Volume 1
In the early stages, a broad set of topics was used to accumulate the important concepts and subfields included in sociology. Initially, the objective was to be as inclusive as possible and to avoid errors of omission. A constant problem in the process was that topics did not fit neatly into only one broad category. Often they could fit as easily into two, three, or four. In fact, the number of broad categories became increasingly elastic, but eventually these were reduced to seventeen, corresponding to no known system of organization other than expedience. The broad categories did not have any obvious theoretical basis of division, which was disconcerting, but represented the pragmatic result of many revisions. Our Advisory and Associate Editors participated in reviews of the total set of categories or of selected subsets for a few of the broad categories. It is fair to report that while we often saw consensus in the process, sometimes we felt that there was no effective way to manage the procedure for selection of topics or to satisfy every piece of advice, sound as it might seem. At one point we had more than 1,700 potential entry titles. These eventually were consolidated into about 400 titles with notations of how overlapping concepts were handled, how related concepts were to be combined, and so forth. In making the arrangements with authors, further consolidation brought the final number of entries to the 370 in this 4-volume set.

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