Social Sciences

ACTIVISM (Social Science)

Activism refers to action by an individual or group with the intent to bring about social, political, economic, or even ideological change. This change could be directed at something as simple as a community organization or institution or as complex as the federal government or the public at large. In most cases, but not all, […]


Judicial activism is a philosophy that motivates judges to depart from strict adherence to judicial precedent, statutes, and strict interpretation of the United States Constitution. The juridical reasoning behind judicial activism is that the judiciary should have latitude in creating and interpreting law to protect the rights of political minorities from majoritarian excesses. Judicial activism […]


The term adaptive expectations refers to the way economic agents adjust their expectations about future events based on past information and on some adjustment term. This implies some sort of correction mechanism: if someone’s expectations are off the mark now, they can be corrected the next time, and so on. Economists view decision rules that […]

ADDICTION (Social Science)

The term addiction, as applied to substance use, denotes an advanced level of dependence on a substance, marked by a compulsive need to obtain and consume it despite negative consequences. Dependency may consist of physical dependency, psychological dependency, or both. Physical dependency is characterized by withdrawal symptoms that occur if the substance is discontinued. This […]


Administrative law is a branch of public law that includes the laws and legal principles pertaining to the administration and regulation of state agencies, ministries, or departments and the relationship of the state with private individuals. It is a product of the need for a state to perform a multitude of functions for its citizens […]


Adolescence spans the second decade of life, a phase social scientists describe as beginning in biology and ending in society. Adolescence may be defined as the life-span period in which most of a person’s biological, cognitive, psychological, and social characteristics are changing in an interrelated manner from what is considered childlike to what is considered […]


The concept of adverse selection is used to identify a market process in which low-quality products or customers are more likely to be selected as a result of the possession of asymmetric information by the two sides of the market transaction. In this situation the better-informed side may take trading decisions that adversely affect the […]

ADVERTISING (Social Science)

Advertising is a form of mass media designed to promote a specific product, service, or idea on behalf of a business or organization. Advertisers ordinarily use media such as television, radio, print (magazines, newspapers, and billboards), sponsorship of cultural and sporting events, and the Internet. From the Industrial Revolution to the mid-twentieth century, advertising in […]

AESTHETICS (Social Science)

The philosophy professor and writer Jerrold Levinson defines aesthetics as "the branch of philosophy devoted to conceptual and theoretical inquiry into art and aesthetic experience" (Levinson 2003, p. 3). What makes an experience an aesthetic one is a contentious matter, however, and is indeed one of the main subjects of the theoretical inquiry. Nonetheless, there […]


The term affirmative action refers to policy measures designed to reduce the marginalization of groups that have historically suffered from discrimination, exclusion, or worse, and that are underrepresented in a society’s desirable positions. The measures may take the form of public laws, administrative regulations, and court orders, or of practices by private businesses and nonprofit […]