polarization

The tendency towards concentration at two opposing extremes, observed by sociologists in a large number of diverse contexts. For example, on the basis of research on the Isle of Sheppey, R. E. Pahl (Divisions of Labour, 1984) identified a process of social polarization which was said to be producing in Britain a division into ‘work rich’ and ‘work poor’ households . Pahl argued that opportunities in both the formal and informal sectors of the economy tended to cluster in the same households; or, put somewhat differently, that households whose members were unemployed did not (indeed according to Pahl could not) compensate for this by informal economic activities in the hidden, underground, or so-called black economy .
Many sociological typologies are descriptions of polar types or extremes: one obvious example is Ferdinand Tönnies's distinction between Gemeinschaft (community) and Gesellschaft(association). Sociologists are also prone to polarization when describing processes of social change -as, for example, in Karl Marx's account of the polarization of classes in capitalist societies into the ‘two great hostile camps’ of bourgeoisie and proletariat.

Dictionary of sociology. 2013.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Polarization — ( Brit. polarisation) is a property of waves that describes the orientation of their oscillations. For transverse waves, it describes the orientation of the oscillations in the plane perpendicular to the wave s direction of travel. Longitudinal… …   Wikipedia

  • Polarization — Po lar*i*za tion, n. [Cf. F. polarisation.] [1913 Webster] 1. The act of polarizing; the state of being polarized, or of having polarity. [1913 Webster] 2. (Opt.) A peculiar affection or condition of the rays of light or heat, in consequence of… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • polarization — polarization. См. поляризация [света]. (Источник: «Англо русский толковый словарь генетических терминов». Арефьев В.А., Лисовенко Л.А., Москва: Изд во ВНИРО, 1995 г.) …   Молекулярная биология и генетика. Толковый словарь.

  • Polarization — Polarization. См. Поляризация. (Источник: «Металлы и сплавы. Справочник.» Под редакцией Ю.П. Солнцева; НПО Профессионал , НПО Мир и семья ; Санкт Петербург, 2003 г.) …   Словарь металлургических терминов

  • polarization — (n.) 1812, from POLARIZE (Cf. polarize) + ATION (Cf. ation) …   Etymology dictionary

  • polarization — (Amer.) po·lar·i·za·tion || ‚pəʊlÉ™raɪ zeɪʃn n. making polarized, giving two opposite tendencies; condition of having polariy; phenomenon in which light waves move in one plane (also polarisation) …   English contemporary dictionary

  • polarization — [pō΄lə ri zā′shən] n. [< POLARIZE + ATION] 1. the producing of polarity in something, or the acquiring of polarity 2. the process or condition of being divided into two opposing groups 3. Elec. a condition in which gases produced during… …   English World dictionary

  • polarization — /poh leuhr euh zay sheuhn/, n. 1. a sharp division, as of a population or group, into opposing factions. 2. Optics. a state, or the production of a state, in which rays of light or similar radiation exhibit different properties in different… …   Universalium

  • polarization — The requirement that financial advisers selling packaged products in the United Kingdom should either be independent financial advisers, offering advice on all the products available in the market, or tied agents, offering advice on the products… …   Financial and business terms

  • polarization — n. polarization between * * * [ˌpəʊləraɪ zeɪʃ(ə)n] polarization between …   Combinatory dictionary

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