Tag Archives: term of art

Term of Art: Rapport

rapport n.: A sympathetic or harmonious relationship or state of mutual understanding. The word was introduced into psychology by the Viennese physician Franz Anton Mesmer (1734-1815), and the French psychologist and neurologist Pierre Janet (1859-1947) confined its meaning specifically to the relationship between a hypnotist and a hypnotized subject; then Sigmund Freud (1856-1939) eventually widened its meaning and described it as the prototype (2) of  the transference.

[From French rapporter, to bring back, from re-again and apportare, to carry to, from Latin apportare to bring to, from, ad to + portare to bring or carry]”

Excerpted from: Colman, Andrew M., ed. Oxford Dictionary of Psychology. New York: Oxford University Press, 2003.

Term of Art: Critical Thinking

critical thinking: The trained ability to think clearly and dispassionately. Critical thinking is logical thinking based on sound evidence, involving the ability to gather and and analyze information and solve problems; it is the opposite of biased, sloppy thinking. A critical thinker can accurately and fairly explain a point of view that he or she does not agree with. Critical thinking requires close attention to facts, evidence, knowledge, and how knowledge is used, particularly in situations in which the facts are in conflict or the evidence permits more than one interpretation. This kind of reasoning is especially relevant for democratic life. Critics of the term think that educators have turned it into an empty cliche, since there is a tendency to refer to any sort of thinking as critical thinking.”

Excerpted from: Ravitch, Diane. EdSpeak: A Glossary of Education Terms, Phrases, Buzzwords, and Jargon. Alexandria, VA: ASCD, 2007.

Term of Art: Cognate

“cognate: (Languages, words, etc.) that have developed from a common ancestor. E.g. English beam is cognate with German; likewise English beam is cognate with German Baum ‘tree.’”

Excerpted from: Marshall, P.H., ed. The Oxford Concise Dictionary of Linguistics. New York: Oxford University Press, 2014.


synesthesia: A medical (or psychological) term describing the occurrence when stimulating one sense organ causes another to respond. It is as though in eating one were to receive strong visual sensations of color rather than, or along with, sensations of taste. As a literary device, synesthesia has been used in certain types of poetry of the 19th and 20th centuries, especially that of the Symbolists. Rimbaud’s “Sonnet des voyelles,” expressing the sounds of the common vowels in terms of colors, is an excellent use of this device.”

Excerpted from: Murphy, Bruce, ed. Benet’s Reader’s Encyclopedia, Fourth Edition. New York: Harper Collins, 1996.

Term of Art: Youth Culture

Youth Culture: Strictly speaking a subculture, the subject of an influential debate between (mainly) functionalist writers and their critics. Youth cultures are explained either by factors in the experience of adolescence, or by the manipulation of young people’s spending and leisure, through advertising and other mass media. The functional separation of home, school, and work supposedly makes teenagers increasingly distinct from adults, more self-aware, and subject to peer group rather than parental and other adult influences. But the relative affluence of teenagers in the decades after the Second World War, especially if they were in work, also encouraged the growth of a large and profitable market for goods and services specifically directed at young consumers. This has promoted the growth of a distinctive youth fashions and styles in clothes, music, and leisure, many of the originating in the United States.

For some writers, the cultural clash across generations has displaced social class as the primary form of conflict in modern industrialism. Yet class itself figures importantly in shaping the content of different youth cultures. Research in the United States distinguished the so-called college cultures of (mainly) middle-class youth from the rough or corner cultures of their working-class counterparts. The former were thought to manage the gap between conformist attitudes to achievement and otherness of adolescent school life—of which the school itself is the center. Corner cultures, in contrast, were viewed as a response to working-class academic failure; centered around the neighborhood gang rather than the school; and as reflecting the search for alternative, even deviant status, identity, or rewards. In Britain, however, youth culture was almost exclusively identified with male working-class youth and the moral panic about its style and aggressiveness. Neo-Marxist studies saw this as symbolic protest against, for example, the dissolution of the traditional working-class neighborhood community, and mass control over what were once predominantly working-class forms of leisure (such as soccer). Much of this literature is reviewed in Mike Brake, The Sociology of Youth Cultures and Subcultures (1980).

Developments in both sociology and society itself, notably during the 1980s, greatly modified the terms of the debate. Feminist writers pointed to the invisibility of girls in the mainstream literature on youth and have researched gender variations in youth culture. The experiences of youth among ethnic minorities have received more attention. But, above all, the period since the mid-1970s has seen the demise of the notion of the independent teenage consumer and rebel. The focus of research has switched instead to the youth labor-market, and the dependence of young people on the household, as a result of growing unemployment and the vulnerability of youth to flexible employment. See also Coleman, James S. 

Excerpted from: Matthews, Gordon, ed. Oxford Dictionary of Sociology. New York: Oxford University Press, 1994.

Term of Art: Haptic Sense

“haptic sense: A person’s sense of touch. Haptic recognition tests involve blindfolded subjects feeling geometric shapes, then choosing the picture corresponding to the shape from a limited set. Many people with language-based disabilities have a difficult time with these tasks.”

Excerpted from: Turkington, Carol, and Joseph R. Harris, PhD. The Encyclopedia of Learning Disabilities. New York: Facts on File, 2006.

Term of Art: Theology

“theology: The systematic study of religious beliefs and systems of thinking about God (or gods), often from within a given tradition, such as Judaism or Catholicism. Theology is not far removed from philosophy and the sociology of religion when considerations of meaning and empirical manifestations of religion are primary.”

Excerpted from: Matthews, Gordon, ed. Oxford Dictionary of Sociology. New York: Oxford University Press, 1994.