Thursday, March 17, 2005

Social fundamentals

I took a closer look at the site that I mentioned at the beginning, and I wasn't very happy with its approach, so I did a Google search on the subject of self education, and found that there still isn't a great deal out there. I did find a few more resources, though. I like Self Education - Learning without instructors, Autodidactic press, but they don't take you very far in terms of links or techniques. I hope to include more links like these, and pointers to specific subjects, as I go on.

The area I am calling social fundamentals deals with groups of people, without all the cultural and institutional baggage of society. These deal with common themes that affect all cultures. Specific areas include:

1) Group studies. Social interaction, Formal and informal organizations
2) Demography. The study of human populations and their growth, change, and movement.
3) Human ecology. Relationships with nature and the environment
4) Physical anthropology. Studies of race and physical characteristics of groups of people
5) Human geography. Specific distribution of people on the earth
6) Specific groups. Particular groups with names, addresses, and identieties.

This is a rather general category, and the ordering of topics is subject to rearrangement. It's not an area where I have gathered a great deal of expertise.

This depends more directly on science and nature than other areas so far considered, and it also depends quite directly on people considered as individuals. Details about particular areas of social fundamentals can be gathered from how they are manifested in particular areas of culture and social institutions, and from particular communities and societies. These fundamentals have changed somewhat through time, as world population has increased, changes in culture have affected the environment, and the earth has been explored, and history is useful in describing these changes.

Several exercises might be useful. Various references have the population of various countries, you might include a map of the world, or a list of organizations that is useful to you. Include these or copies of them in your notebook as a ready reference so you don't have to keep going back to the original sources time and again.

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