[compiled by] Walda Katz Fishman and C. George Benello
Fundamental crises exist and are intensifying in economic and political institutions worldwide. These crises are also expressed in the turmoil in the social and cultural spheres and in the personal lives of millions who are jobless, homeless, hungry, and powerless. Humanist sociologists are activists rooted in the reality of history and change and guided by a concern for the "real life" problems of equality, peace, and social justice. They view people as active shapers of social life, capable of creating societies in which everyone's potential can unfold. Alfred McClung Lee, introduces the volume with "Sociology: Humanist and Scientific" and develops the theme that a sociology that is humanist is also scientific. The other nine selections are grouped into four parts: "The Individual and Social Life"; "Social Institutions: Technology, Science, and Formal Organization"; "Political Structures: Issues of Justice and Equality"; and "Methodological Critiques and Counterproposals." David O'Brien and Richard Sterne suggest that the logic of social inquiry should be reversed.
Victoria Rader analyzes the way in which the social system has constructed artificial stages in the human life cycle. David Gil argues that the paradigm of human society needs to be replaced by a paradigm embodying egalitarianism, cooperation, and liberty. Sal Restivo and Michael Zenzen call for a wholistic approach in both the physical and social sciences. C. George Benello argues for a higher and more complex form of organization that is liberating, self-governing, voluntaristic, and flexible. James Kelly arrives at an understanding of the meaning of "social justice," as an organizing and revolutionizing principle in social life. Walda Katz Fishman and Robert Newby focus on the current intensification of inequality and right-wing reaction as capitalism sinks deeper into its final crisis. Jerold Starr identifies the dominance of logical positivism in mainstream re