1960s >> 1962 >> no-700-december-1962

A New Magazine

Nothing that is new can be dismissed out of hand. If that sounds like a truism, it is at least one that bears and needs repetition. Ignorance and prejudice still stalk the world, and the untried, the unknown, are ruthlessly annihilated.

The approach of the Socialist is completely opposite to this. Our approach is and always must be scientific. In that spirit then, we examine yet one more journal, amid the welter of journals that fill the bookstalls, which claims to spread enlightenment.

October saw the launching of New Society, described as the social science weekly. The general layout is excellent, while the actual printing is a model to many of its contemporaries. Some idea of the range of subjects can be seen in a few of the articles in number one. “Softening the Sack” deals with redundancy and job security. “New facts on Teen-Age Marriage” with considerable detail. Barbara Wooton contributes “Socrates, Science and Social Problems” — a plea for the scientific approach to social problems. The Home Secretary is interviewed by editor Timothy Raison on his approach to crime, and Robert Bierstedt, head of the Department of Sociology and Anthropology of New York University, gives a report on the various papers read to the recent meeting of the American Sociological Association.

Taken in all, there is much to interest and inform. But a word of warning. The leading article endeavours to explain the aims and methods of New Society, thus:

    “We shall not ignore ideas and theories; indeed we see their interpretation as one of the principal challenges to us. But we aim above all to link the study of society with practice; to tell the manager what the psychologist has to say, to make the town planner aware of what the social anthropologist is revealing, to inform the local government official or councillor of the trends revealed by the demographer, to enable the magistrate to know what the criminologist has to offer and—in each case equally important—vice versa. The experience of the practitioner and the research of the academic are complementary, and our contributors will be drawn from both groups.”

We can be under no illusion then, of the path that will be taken. However scientific the approach may be in intention, the sciences must be kept within the bounds of the existing social order—capitalism. This makes a mockery of the very name of the science and means that just one more hunter joins in chasing a will-o-the-wisp, for we know that the problems of society can only be solved by the overthrow of capitalism and the establishment of Socialism. Nevertheless, there will be much worth studying in this journal if the early issues live up to their promise.

H. J. W.

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