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Volume 53 / Social Sciences


WILLIAM L. CANAK, Assistant Professor of Sociology, Loyola University
DANILO LEVI, Instructor of Sociology, Southeastern Louisiana University

POLITICAL ECONOMY REMAINS THE CORE THEME of Colombian sociology. Empirical studies of women, collective behavior, peasants, and demography are, in general, marked by a consistent focus on questions of class, State structure and policy, and economic development. Colombian sociologists have always been thoroughly familiar with theory, methods, and hot topics in North America and Europe. They are a very well integrated and international group, yet they have built a distinctive personality and made many influential and original contributions to the discipline. The tradition of "action research" which links issues of sociological analysis to popular and practical concerns in rural and urban areas is especially notable. In addition, Colombian sociologists have helped to define the parameters of Latin America's strong advances in women's studies, especially the political economy of women's labor, organizations, and family studies. Colombian universities and private research institutes house strong training and publishing programs that promise to continue this tradition of quality and influence.

Recent contributions to women's studies document the wide ranging methodologies - surveys, case studies, participant observation, aggregate census data - that Colombian sociologists apply to a number of issues affecting women (items bi 91000506, bi 90008768, bi 92002334, bi 91000507, bi 91006210, bi 91007608, and bi 91000467). These include determinants of women's changing role in industry (item bi 91000506), Fordism and family survival strategies (item bi 90008768), women's organization and political action (items bi 92002334, bi 91000467, and bi 91000507), class (item bi 92005788), and class and infant mortality (item bi 91007608).

Studies of the State (items bi 91000493, bi 91000477, and bi 91000492) generally investigate the links of State policy and structure to specific issues, e.g., popular participation, peasants, etc. Two recent contributions by senior Colombian sociologists, however, focus on the State-civil society relationship per se (item bi 90012390 and bi 91008774). Colombia's rich history of organized political action continues to motivate research on regional development (items bi 92005787 and bi 91000454) and social movements (items bi 91000454, bi 91000479, bi 91000507, bi 91000459, and bi 91006501). Peasant studies continue to be an important research focus for Colombians (items bi 91000479, bi 92005790, bi 91000492, bi 92005799, and bi 90011381).

Venezuelan interest in ideology, values, and socialization processes cuts across numerous research studies on widely diverse topics. In addition, conventional demographic studies of indicators, aging, brain drain, and child mortality (items bi 91000434, bi 91000436, bi 92005778, bi 92005750, and bi 89017072) are an important element of Venezuelan sociology, in contrast with Colombian sociologists' political economic concern with labor markets and international migration (items bi 91000474 and bi 91000478). Political economy studies, nonetheless, are increasingly examining the informal economy (item bi 91005957), agriculture (item bi 90013758), State reformism (item bi 91005391), and immigration policy (item bi 90010224). Recent work also continues to demonstrate Venezuelan sociologists' concern with childhood studies (items bi 92005777, bi 92005791, bi 92005749, and bi 89017072).

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