by the Rev. Fred Kammer, S.J.
Teaching (CST) is one-half of the answer to the question, “What is really going on in this situation?” Beyond mere description, the focus here is on trying to understand and analyze a situation,problem, or dilemma more carefully. Holland and Henriot define social analysis as “the effort to obtain a more complete picture of a social situation by exploring its historical and structural relationships.” 2
This could seem a complex task. Brazilian Francisco Ivern says social analysis requires use of philosophy and the social sciences, including not only economics, sociology, and political science, but also social psychology, religious sociology, and cultural anthropology.3 One Vatican source speaks of a “plurality of methods and viewpoints, each of which reveals only one aspect of reality which is so complex that it defies simple and univocal explanation.”4 The Holland-Henriot approach to social analysis seems to me to be shorthand for “socio-economic-political-culturalreligious-historical analysis.”
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