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The second part is constituted by a set of thesis about the European Union construction process: Europe as a unifying logic, as a new network of out-centered societies, as a new structure of social relationships. Andreas Balog To define social phenomena one has to refer to practices and attitudes of actors. It is not clear how this can be attained with the concept "society".

In fact this concept is used in an ambivalent way. Either "society" is understood as the entirety of all social phenomena as a rule within a pre-defined territory or it has to be identified as one specific field or a combination of fields. Because of the uncertainty of its concrete meaning its main function is to legitimize the generalizing interpretation of empirical findings or sometimes of more diffuse impressions beyond the range of their aquisition. So, in order to call an example, changes of attitudes concerning special issues are interpreted as changes of "the society".

In my paper I concentrate on two aspects. First, in the context of theory no consistent use of the concept has been established and it refers to heterogenious theoretical problems. Even more problematic is its role in "Zeitdiagnosen", where empirical analysis as well as explanations of social processes are superseded by reference to this fictitous entity. These have been argued as theoretically fruitful but distinctly different and therefore hard to subject to theory synthesis e. In this paper the problem of not synthesizing strands of institutionalisms is discussed in the light of the development of 'yet another institutionalism', i.

Vivien A Schmidt's 'discursive institutionalism' developed in her recent book 'The Futures of European Capitalism', The discussion attempts to clarify three issues: It concludes that the fourth institutionalism Schmidt can be usefully integrated into the sociological New Institutionalism with the critical re-visiting of the latter's action theory. Attention will be devoted to the idea of the 'chosen people', and the type of 'holy wars' which such people were waging, in order to conquer their own land, or to gain mastery over the world.

The paper will shortly review five such main historical instances, preparing the scene for modernity: In each of the five cases, emphasis will be on the manner in which a strongly anti-imperial ideology eventually creates, through the justification of a holy war, an empire building momentum on its own.

The conclusion of the paper will reassess the extent to which the historical context presented helps to better understand the contemporary setting. Barbara Misztal The main aim of this paper is to reconstruct and evaluate the most prevalent assumptions in the literature about links between collective memory and democracy. It will outline widespread assertions that memory is important for democratic community for three reasons: These assume that collective memory is the condition of freedom, justice and the stability of democratic order.

The paper will confront these assumptions with equally popular counter-propositions arguing that memory presents a threat to democratic community as it can undermine cohesion, increase the costs of cooperation and cause moral damage to civil society by conflating political and ethnic or cultural boundaries. The confusion revealed about and complexity of the relationship between memory and democracy will be firstly explained as stemming from difficulties in addressing such systematically ambiguous terms as democracy and collective memory. These difficulties are further magnified when we view democracy as being more than as a technique for changing the government without violence and when we define collective memory as being more than only passive recollection of the past.

Secondly, the controversy is explained by the complexity of the intermediate notions of identity, trauma and ritual that link memory with freedom, justice and the stability of democratic order. In conclusion, it will be argued that what matters for democracy's health is not social remembering per se but the way in which the past is called up and made present.

In sociological development of the concept of "social perspective" essential incitement was the perspectivism idea of the famous Spanish philosopher Jose-Ortega-i-Gasset , who considered perspective not only dependent from the subject, but also from that reality, which surrounds the subject. The transcendental meta-reality of social perspective is formed and is organized also on meso- and -macro-social levels, and that " the organizing centre " can be not only individual man, but also any social formation, each of which has "a separate social prospect " social integrity, organization, government, state.

The social perspective " acts, in the end, as social reality field and dynamic potential of social changes and formation of various structures of a society. And as potential " social perspective " acts in synchronic way, i. Thus, by crossing synchronous - spatial and diachronous temporary lines we have a specific net, or a volumetric field " of social perspective ", in which are connected in a single unit usually discretely considered, social past, present and future, and also subject and object of social reflexion.

In sociological concept " social perspective " we have an opportunity not only to see development of social processes in their temporary integrity, in continual connection of past, present and future, but forecast and determine the main ways of social changes. Or, to put it in Margaret Archer's terms, we have to look for mechanisms that facilitate social morphostasis or social reproduction and social morphogenesis or social change , especially those mechanisms operating in schools as social institutions in which the seed for societal reproduction and transformation germinates.

In order to do so, it is argued that we have to redefine the concept of socialisation. In stead of defining socialisation, in a traditional sociological way, as the process of transmision, in wich only reproduction of the existing mono-ethnic culture and structure s can be conceptualised, we should redefine it, in a Simmelian way, as the multiple processes of the development of social relationships and social groups. This way, we can take into account the possibilities of cultural and structural renewal in the daily actions and practices of the actors involved, as well as the structural and cultural conditions under which actors exercise their agency.

So we can take a look at whether and how new forms of multi-ethnic social relationships and concommittant structural and cultural schemes are formed, which mechanisms facilitate these processes and which counteract them. Late modernity is characterized, inter allia, by a significant shift of the relationship between the post-industrial Educational Policy and the employment and social policies.

In Europe, the new economic trends growth development, market economy, globalisation, sustainability, etc. Already since the beginning of the 90s, the apperceptions about Higher Education appear to change and rekindle anew the issue about the economic and social role of Higher Education and its interaction with "Society at Large".

Education is considered to be an inalienable social good only in its rudimentary form. Higher education, in much the same way as labour, often tends to become a stake The proposed study focuses on the stake of the new partnership between European Higher Education and "Society at Large".


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Main topics of the study are: In fact the whole study raises and attempts to answer questions such as: Craig Browne Critical social theory has been defined as a philosophically informed approach providing empirical diagnoses of the present. The empirical-analytical dimension of such diagnoses is complemented by a normative orientation, which is directed at discerning immanent tendencies towards emancipatory or democratising forms of social change.

However, the extent to which critical theory is able to incorporate aspects of other representative formulations of the contemporary period without weakening its distinctive normative orientation is an open question. This theoretical dilemma applies not only to postmodernist understandings of the present, but in a different vein to arguments which superficially appear more sympathetic to the critical theory's orientation, like the risk society thesis and the analysis of globalization.

My paper examines the manner in which the logics of alternative perspectives on the present are at variance with that of an immanent critique. Likewise, it considers how the original critical theory methodology has been transformed, although it is found that immanent critique cannot be totally discarded without undermining the entire critical theory project. It will be argued on this basis that Habermas' later theory foregoes aspects of the standpoint of critique, yet still preserves the idea of an immanent potential for democratisation.

Even so, my paper will suggest that some of critical theory's synthetic aspirations persist in contemporary attempts to reconcile conceptions of positive liberty and social justice. This paper argues that a societal perspective in sociology encompasses three moments: The underlying claim is that the concept of society plays a regulative role in this societal perspective, as society links the formation of the canon to different epochal diagnoses. Within this framework, Talcott Parsons' threefold concept of society as social system, modern society and nation-state is critically discussed.

Finally, contemporary approaches in which the relationship society - nation-state is not taken for granted are discussed as to show how they do not undermine the relevance of a concept of society for sociology's societal perspective. Dennis Smith Europe has been remarkably successful in largely overcoming the humiliation cycles that bedevilled the continent for a century and a half after the French Revolution.

These cycles of humiliation, revenge and counter-humiliation drew Germany and France into repeated bouts of violence against each other. Meanwhile, repression was met by resentment and resistance leading to still more repression in relations between imperial masters and unwilling servants such as, for example, between Austria and the Czechs or Britain and the Irish.

Within the European Union these humiliation cycles have been overcome by a mixture of military pacification, careful diplomacy, cultural influence and institution-building. An important part has been played by the creation of a Europe-wide job market, especially in business and the professions. The 'European experiment' post is different from the American experiment post and the Soviet experiment post The American version emphasised freedom at the expense of security.

The Soviet version stressed security in all senses at the expense of freedom. The European experiment seeks a balance between freedom and security while at the same time trying to provide citizens with a guarantee of respect and decency ie freedom from humiliation that is absent from either the Soviet or the American versions. National traditions, born in a climate of mutual hostility and resentment, have moved towards mutual accommodation.

We are beginning to find our common European identity precisely in this shared capacity for compromise and constructive negotiation. Between the subjective experience of intentional meanings and objectivised structure of meanings there is a sphere of meaningful interactions and collective actions. Arguments are presented that it is possible to integrate symbolic inter-actionist orientation and Durkhemian tradition in the study of social symbolism in the perspective of collective action approach and pragmatism.

That allows going beyond the cognitive limitations inherited from phenomenological view on symbolism as manifested in the concepts of P. Luckmann about the social construction of reality. A model for a multidimentional analysis of social symbolism and its functions is proposed. Forerunners of the EU aimed at preventing war by means of intensified co-operation, however exclusively in economic and social affairs.

Increasingly, the domains of both inner security and common defence and foreign policy are being framed as crucial domains for the EU to commit itself to. In brief, what accounts for the increased politicisation of the EU? My suggestion is that investigating mechanisms in EU responses to wars, military crises, and terrorism, in brief politically motivated violence, might yield central insights allowing us to comprehend the self-transformational development of the EU.

The emergence and evolution of the EU's security agenda could appear as a typical political science topic; the sociological interest stems from the proposed mechanism approach. A mechanism approach implies analysis of the regularities in social processes. Thus the paper examines the EU responses to politically motivated violence, however discrete these responses may seem, with a view to identifying recurrent patterns. More generally, the ambition is to consider whether the social mechanisms, if clearly identifiable in these situations, are isomorphic and thus can be generalised or whether they remain specific to the type of explanandum, that is the politicised security agenda in the EU.

Eva Buchinger Following the theory of social system of N. Luhmann, innovation processes are occurring within and between systems - technical, psychic, interactional, organizational, societal systems. Whereas technical systems are allopoietic controlled from outside , the others are autopoietic self-organizing control of reproduction.

Based on the autopoiese paradigm anew the question is raised to which extend policy makers can "control", "steer", "regulate" or all together "govern"? Luhmann itself preferred a second-order cybernetic type of answer: Beyond that it seems that another analytical tool out of this bundle of "evolutionary system" approaches can provide fruitful insights for political innovation governance: Structural coupling co-evolution , strict coupling causal relation, if A than B and loose coupling are concepts, which explain interactions between autopoietic systems and contribute to the clarification of the concept of resonance.

The presentation will deal with the possibilities of politics to manage complexity without external intervention and control but on basis of structural, causal and loose coupling. There are at lest two ways to tackle the complexities it presents: In two different papers one published in European Journal of Sociology, a critique of Alessandro Pizzorno, and the other unpublished we have tried to show that when identity is taken as a primitive concept it is difficult to link it directly with social action.

Sentences as "I am X [because of that] I do Y" or "Person group X does do M because he is they are Y", very common in sociological analysis of identity, are meaningless if we do not provide microfoundations. Now we would like to take a step further. Even accepting that identity and action are connected through individual preferences and desires, we do not defend a radical individualist-cum-agreggative approach.

It is possible to attribute intentions to groups, or we-intentions Tuomela, Searle , that lead to action and generate collective preferences. Social identity could be understood, in many cases, as an instance of collective, team or group preferences, that are not a simple aggregate of individual preferences.

We think that to analyse social identity in terms of group intentions and pereferences is a promising way to face some of the puzzles that identity poses. The paradigm used for this analysis is game theory because, despite the non-credible assumptions about the rational abilities of social actors, it meets a key requirement to the analysis of unintended consequences: I call these consequences "weak unintended consequences". The second type best exemplified by international relations two level games arises in social structures which are called "complex", since actors cannot predict the ultimate consequences of a large chain of interconnected actions.

I call this second type of consequences "strong unintended consequences". Some examples of both types of consequences are privided. Besides the long term history of structure, of institution Durkeim , of the necessity of coordination, we have to complement the singular history as a disjunctive times such as the disjunctive socialization, such as the biographic institution. Cases studies will be developped in the social worlds, in the social policies. While Bourdieu's concept provides some useful insights into the 'social' nature of our identities, it also presents some analytical shortcomings.

With this presentation I will attempt to show that the Perfomative Model of Social Institutions, with its core notion of the social as a 'collective accomplishment', offers new understanding for the comprehension of social phenomena. My paper will aim to contrast these two Social Constructionist views of the constitution of the self and, by revealing their weaknesses and accomplishments, to suggest new paths of analysis for social theory debates.

At the same time, in the social science encyclopedias there are no entries "social relations" or "relations". Such important fields of social research as sociology of ethnicity, economic sociology, and political sciences are interested respectively in "ethnic relations", "industrial relations", and "international relations".

There is a very large number of books on these topics, which proves that the concept of social relations is very vital in social science production. However, what is too often missing in the fields mentioned above is the analysis of the very concept of social relations. Therefore, we actually are not sure what the authors mean by ethnic, industrial, international relations.

The aim of this presentation is to contribute to the clarification of the concept of "social relations". When dealing with the problematic of social "human" relations, we should face the problem of the ways of conceptualization of similar phenomena. The phenomenon which is the subject of this presentation if often conceptualized in terms of "social interaction". Even if we decide to ignore social psychology, we should take into account at least two interactionist tradictionswithin contemporary sociology: In this text, however, I am interested in stable and relatively durable phenomena and these cannot be reduced to "social exchange".

Moreover, the sociology of ethnicity, economic sociology, political sciences and other fields of macrosociology conceptualize their problematic rather interms of "social relations" than in terms of "interaction". In this presentation, I take into account only two classic ideas out of necessity ignoring many important traditions: I present similarities and differences between them. For me, these two ideas are examples of analytical sociology because of the way the authors constructed the discipline: Weber strongly influenced the tradition of what then became symbolic interactionism, and the ideas of Znaniecki can be treated as a variety of this interactionism.

Therefore, both ideas belong to a kind of interpretative sociology which has been looking not only for a subjective sense of social phenomena, but also for the causal explanations. Both were developed more or less at the same time. Both were influenced by Georg Simmel, particularly his "Soziologie". My intention in this presenation is first and foremost the reconstruction of Weber's and Znaniecki's conceptualizations of social relations, and secondly the stressing of ideas which could help analyze relations between social groups on the macro scale.

Jochen Dreher Phenomenological investigations into the theory of the symbol as a life-world phenomenon are rare and rather exceptional. This essay views the concept of the life-world from a subjectivist perspective to understand the interconnection of individual and society, which is established - as I will show - by means of the mechanisms of signs and symbols.

The individual experiences the transcendences of the life-world - of space, time, sociality and different spheres of reality - and is able to overcome these transcendences by means of signs and symbols. Signs and symbols are described as appresentational modes which stand for experiences originating in the different spheres of the life-world within the world of everyday life, within which they can be communicated, thereby establishing intersubjectivity. From a phenomenological perspective, a theory of the symbol explains how social entities or collectivities - such as nations, states or religious groups - are symbolically integrated to become components of the individual's life-world.

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With reference to reflections of Alfred Schutz, Edmund Husserl, Karl Jaspers, Eric Voegelin and Thomas Luckmann, the following systematic analysis develops a theoretical position to describe the symbol as crucial mechanism for establishing the cohesion of the life-world and as central component of constituting the life-world as entity of multiple reality spheres. Communions and social collectivities are constituted of ideas and experiences of realities transcendent to the reality of the everyday life-world.

As far as society as such is concerned, the "self-illumination" of society through symbols enables the individual to experience and perceive this society as part of his or her human existence. The model is based on a pluralist and conflict functionalist account of interaction. It can be used to study which factors are crucial for turning a situation with a motivational leaning for conflict into a situation with a motivational basis for co-operation.

Actors in different organizational departments are differentiated. They have different roles and belong to various groups both intra- and extra-organizational and have different personalities. Some of the actors' actions are rule-guided: Actors are also seen as having partly diverse interests due to their extra-organizational roles, groups and personalities. Intra-organizational roles can be used as a vehicle to further personal interests.

Intra-organizational rules and extra-organizational interests mesh and function as the premises of action. According to pluralism actors solve their conflicts of interest by using power. Power can be seen as a function of dependence. Orientations of dependence are rational, emotional and - unlike in standard rational choice or exchange theory - normative. Norms are partly a vehicle for rationality but also mechanisms of choice sui generis. Dependence is only one of the three components that are being used to differentiate between cases of conflict, co-operation and individualism.

The other two components are contact and interests. An example from Finnish local government is used in the essay. The model is yet to be operationalized for empirical research. June Edmunds By focusing on 'spatial' exclusion, Max Weber's original treatment of social closure neglected 'temporal' exclusion by groups that come after and before other groups. In this paper, we suggest that the concept of social closure can be used to understand relations between cultural generations, in previously unexplored ways.

As social closure operates to limit access to influential positions, younger generations must compete with the generations that have consolidated their positions in the social system. Inter-generational relations can therefore be understood in terms of competition over scarce resources.

Strategic generations that have successfully established themselves by usurping their predecessors may go on to adopt exclusionary practices towards the next generation, by closing off opportunities. Drawing on Bourdieu's conceptualisation of capital fractions, we suggest that social closure has come to operate along generational rather than class lines. The possession of cultural capital has become more important than the possession of economic capital as a result of the shift from a production-based to a consumption-based economy.

These themes are illustrated through a discussion of the s generation, a classic example of a strategic generation. Having gained a monopoly over scarce, prestigious positions, this generation has achieved social closure by acting as 'gatekeepers' to the younger generation. Its successors, generation X, are an emasculated generation, having been denied the resources of its predecessors. A key question now is whether the s generation's hold over cultural and other resources is coming to an end.

Justin Cruickshank Critical realists argue that developing a social ontology to resolve the structure-agency problem is vital to social science research, because all research is held to be informed by ontological assumptions. One of the most important criticisms levelled against critical realism is the claim that its ontology cannot act as an underlabourer because it is too general to be of use for informing empirical research.

Attempts to apply this ontology will therefore entail circular arguments as empirical phenomena are simply redescribed to fit the realist terms of reference. This criticism does not furnish the sufficient condition to abandon the critical realist problem situation though. Rather than reject the underlabouring project, it is argued in this paper that social scientists need to develop a domain-specific meta-theory DSMT , informed by both a general critical realist ontology as developed by Archer and an immanent critique of existing research literature on given topics. Whilst many critical realists hold that the general ontology mirrors the essential but hidden features of social reality, the approach argued for here swings the emphasis from such metaphysical commitment to the method of immanent critique.

This means that the general meta-theory, as well as DSMTs, are open to conceptual revision in the light of on- going dialogue with alternative perspectives. This enables meta-theories to be deployed in an underlabouring fashion, by avoiding an essentialist appeal to a master-ontology that redescribes the world to fit some general precepts that are held to mirror the key hidden features of being.

Kalle Haatanen My initial interest in the issue of liberal democracy and liberal political theory stems from my doctoral dissertation The Paradoxes of Communitarianism in which I studied theoretically and conceptionally the problematics of civic virtues, solidarity, new social movements, neo-Aristotelian approaches to 'solve' modern problems of individualism, and the possibility, or, indeed, impossibility to construct conceptual apparatuses which could give us an accurate view of contingent, non-oppressive communities.

The somewhat utopian idea of an 'inoperative community' e. Jean-Luc Nancy is very challenging indeed - but definitely not a futile one. Is there a possibility to conceptualize modern and liberal communities in such a way that the rigid boundaries and fates of race, gender, social structure, socio-economic background, and nationality could be obsoleted?

It is not my intension, however, to claim that these givens play no role at all in the molding of political indentities in modern and liberal communities and individuals. On the contrary, their role remains very powerful, and the significance of 'utopian' and 'contingent' e. Richard Rorty liberal thought lies elsewhere, i.

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However, if we take these contingent, relativistic or 'post-modern' arguments for granted, we are bound to face several dilemmas. When agonistic models of democracy are emphasized, we have to deal with the problem of 'ordinary people', i. Charles Taylor but remain mere voters or opinion-poll-answerers. This position of 'ordinary people' is something that should be defended, in my point of view, and we should better acknowledge the utopian elements of liberal political communities without any kind of friend - foe -differentiation.

I scrutinise the social ontological frameworks of the two approaches with the intention of combining a relational structural approach, as Pierre Bourdieu employs, with a model of the actor based on a cognitivist rationalist position, as Raymond Boudon is exponent of. Thus, I argue in favour of rapprochement and synthesis of these two positions aiming at a continued development of the social ontological frameworks in sociology. The example set is within the field of social mobility and social stratification, where the theory of habitus and the theory of rational action constitute two major approaches.

Having this as a platform, I discuss how to develop adequate causal social models to explain patterns of absolute and relative social mobility rates, taken into account the complex interplay of structural changes in the distribution of social positions, changes in inequality and resource distribution and individual choices regarding education in competition for scarce social positions. Political violence organized by states is rarely discussed. This neglect can among other things be seen as a specific conception of state and society which claims that state and society are constituted by its internal elements.

A number of thinkers, however, who wrote from the late 19th century e. Oppenheimer, Gumplowitz, Ratzenhofer, Spencer, Mackinder, Hintze or Weber actually stressed the importance of war and violence as driving forces of societal change. During the last two or three decades these thinkers have inspired more recent historical sociology. This paper argues that a further and more fruitful development of a theory of war, state, and social change can be done by taking a point of departure in the theories of Hegel, Clausewitz and Carl Schmitt.

Laurence Ellena The question of the relationship between social sciences and literature was the subject of many researchs last years: In framing a general theoretical problem, Homans asked: What makes customs customary? In other words, how do we account for order? The problem is framed at the elementary level of interaction and pertains to the emergence, maintenance or change of systems of social relationships among persons.

Order in the form of social integration is explained through an emergent "internal system," given external conditions. Social bonds among members and shared norms are generated by mechanisms that are described in terms of specific hypothesized linkages among analytical elements pertaining to activities, sentiments, and interaction. For instance, the more frequently people interact with each other, the more similar their sentiments, normative ideas and activities become. Far more clearly than in Parsons' work, a system of variables and their relationships is specified so as to undertake the verbal equivalent of the sorts of steps that are taken in the mathematical analysis of a dynamical system model.

Moreover, Homans synthesizes classical ideas within his theoretical framework. For example, in treating social control, the Durkheimian idea of the ritual effects of punishment is embedded in the discussion of the stability analysis of equilibrium states. In addition, he delimits the scope of two seemingly opposing theories of ritual -- those of Malinowski and Radcliffe-Brown, respectively -- before reconciling them, i.

In short, Homans' social system theory is in the Durkheimian tradition, although critical of functionalist arguments that do not specify mechanisms that account for the emergence and stability of equilibrium states. If Homans' analytical hypotheses or laws describe group dynamics and the build-up or dissolution of a group, what explains the laws? In searching for this more fundamental level of theorizing, Homans invoked a conceptual scheme from behavioral psychology in the next phase of his theoretical work Homans , Interaction is an exchange involving material and non-material goods, and social approval is a fundamental category of social reward.

Just as Parsons had changed theory construction strategy between his first and second major works, so did Homans. From a theory as modeled on a system of differential equations, he moved to theory as a system of propositions forming a deductive system. The behavioral principles have the function of covering laws in logical arguments that explain regularities in social life, including the results of experimental social psychology as well as field studies of the sort analyzed in the earlier work.

We can interpret the basic logic of this approach as reduction in the sense of explanation of social life from a non-social foundation. This is somewhat analogous to the explanation of molecular levels of existence from a purely atomic basis. What if atoms only could have the postulated properties they have if these properties emerge out of molecular relations? Then this sort of organic relationship makes reduction nonsense.

Similarly, if individuals are socialized beings, how can their interaction explain social order? You are simply presupposing what is supposed to be explained. But there is a response to this criticism. In Homans' behavioral theory, the fundamental unit is not the person but the behavioral act. The person as a complex socialized entity is not the subject matter of interest to Homans, although such a system -- corresponding to Parsons' personality system -- is within the scope of the behavioral theory.

In other words, Homans has a tree of theory with a basic behavioral or action theory at its root and with a number of branches. Given his commitment to analytical theory, he pursues just one branch, namely the one that deals with the problem of the integration of the actions of plural persons to form a dynamic social system with emergent patterns of order. In this interpretation, Homans can agree with the classical sociological theorist Charles Cooley who argued that individual and society are "twin-born," in that the person is socially constructed in social interaction and that a society is a system of interaction.

In practice, then, Homans took mind, self and symbols -- three important elements from the Cooley-Mead standpoint -- as givens in the pursuit of a pure theoretical sociology that would formulate and explain group processes. In taking this approach, Homans accompanied his work with a polemical argument. He took aim at Durkheim, who had argued that what explanation means for sociological theory is a causal account that remains at the level of social facts.

For instance, to explain varying rates of deviance in groups, Durkheimian theory would point to varying levels of solidarity: What Homans argued was that such a proposition, if it is true, could be derived logically from a behavioral foundation. For instance, in a highly solidary group, members experience or can anticipate high costs in lost social approval for deviation from group norms, while in a less solidary group, such costs are lower.

Solidarity or cohesion is "micro-translated," to use Collins' term, in such an explanation. Then the behavioral mechanisms are able to explain why varying rates of solidarity lead to varying rates of deviance. In this way, Durkheimian explanation is cause-effect explanation while behavioral explanation can be seen as providing the mechanism that, logically speaking, is invoked through covering laws drawn from behavioral psychology.

Combining the two, we have what I have called "Durkheimian social generativity" Fararo a: I will treat the recent phase of theoretical sociology in two steps. In the first, preliminary step, I discuss the current state of the field in terms of the existence of multiple theoretical perspectives inherited from the postclassical phase but undergoing a process that I describe as producing mutations and new combinations.

In the second, more extensive step, I turn to the growing use of formal models in theoretical sociology. During the postclassical phase of theoretical sociology and amidst its proliferation of perspectives, a book appeared that shaped the way many sociologists reflected upon theory in their discipline. In application of the paradigm concept to sociology, commentators characterized the field as one with multiple paradigms, usually called theoretical perspectives. By the late s, most texts reflected this consensus, featuring separate chapters on functionalism Parsons , conflict theory both critical theory and the Dahrendorf tradition , exchange theory Homans , symbolic interactionism Blumer , structuralism French and American versions , and phenomenology social constructionism and ethnomethodology.

To make the picture even more diverse, two other developments occurred. Feminists launched a wide-ranging critique of sociological theory and helped to make the study of gender a key research topic. Critics respond by attacking the cognitive relativism of this approach. Some commentators argue that there is no possibility of placing these paradigms under a common intellectual framework, thereby seeing the discipline as permanently fractured and at war with itself.

Others regard the situation as a positive one, emphasizing the importance of diverse viewpoints that could be brought to bear on any particular feature of social life. Still others recognize the diversity but argue for integrative theorizing, as we shall see below. The most prominent mid-century efforts in theoretical sociology that aimed toward generality and synthesis -- the ideas of Parsons and Homans described earlier and a strong integrative effort by Blau - have failed on the criterion of acceptance as the paradigm of general theoretical sociology.

Yet the spirit of what they tried to accomplish is not gone. We can call it "the spirit of unification," meaning a value-commitment to generalizing synthesis efforts in episodes of consolidating components of distinct theoretical systems Fararo b. Robert Merton emphasized this idea in his often-cited paper "On Sociological Theories of the Middle Range" included in [] A middle range theory employs a general conceptual scheme with analytical elements, but it is scope-restricted to some abstractly specified class of empirical systems, e.

It explains intuitively very different empirical systems using the same analytical elements and laws that do not exhaust the content of the empirical system. In short, a middle-range theory is an analytical theory. Its scope is limited in the sense of dealing only with certain analytical elements, not in the sense of dealing only with a class of concrete entities as classified in folk culture.

A value-commitment to the construction of limited-scope but abstract theories coupled with a recursive process of integration of such theories may well be a plausible path for the advance of theoretical sociology. At present, this approach is most strongly institutionalized in the field of research known as group processes, in which theorists elaborate and integrate their theories over time in connection with the construction of experimental situations that provide opportunities for testing the implications of theories. Long-term theoretical research programs, spanning decades, have characterized some of this work.

For instance, expectation states theory and exchange network theory are two such programs among others see Berger and Zelditch These programs are a kind of mutation out of the earlier small group research of the s and early s, many of them influenced by the work of Homans. Other recent developments indicate other mutations in the paradigms and the emergence of new paradigms. Three such developments may be noted: Neofunctionalism is a mutation of Parsons' theory. It departs from his four-function paradigm in a number of ways that reflect the influence of external critiques.

For instance, Alexander tries to incorporate ideas from various perspectives, including conflict theory and symbolic interactionism. Much of neofunctionalist writing is focussed on historical and normative interests. The revised functionalist framework is employed to interpret historical situations, e. One of the new paradigms is social network analysis.

Although social system theorists such as Parsons and Homans employed the network concept as a metaphor, they did not employ formal tools. By contrast, the social network paradigm incorporates a strong mathematical and statistical foundation in a program of cumulative research on the properties of social networks. In the following section of this paper, when I discuss structural models, I will pick up on this discussion of social network analysis. Rational choice theory has departed from the behavioral psychological foundation that Homans advocated, often favoring a more mathematically tractable rational choice approach.

Coleman presented his foundations of social theory as directed to resolving the micro-macro transition problem that Blau's earlier effort had defined. On the one hand, he endorsed Parsons' action framework with its concept of purposive action and repudiated the transition to structural-functional analysis. On the other hand, he endorsed Homans' methodological individualism and repudiated the transition to reduction in terms of behavioral principles. In Coleman's theory, macro-level systemic givens constrain and enable micro-level situations of actors.

Making rational choices based on their internal preferences and the situational constraints, actors then collectively shape macro-level outcomes. This is not equivalent to Homans' reduction program. Among other things, it is a trade-off of behavioral realism for the deductive fertility that optimization arguments enable. Homans is much more attuned to the task of the scientific theorist: Coleman's theory, in part, is more in the classical tradition of sociological theory as a whole in that it blends general theoretical, world-historical and normative interests.

A key contribution of sociological rational choice theorists has been their sharp theoretical focus on variants of the basic problem of order or integration, treating solidarity, coordination, cooperation, and trust. At the same time, the synthesis of the Durkheimian theory of solidarity with conflict theory undertaken by Collins provides a different middle-range perspective on the problem of social integration.

I have pointed out the centrality of this problem in the tradition of theoretical sociology. Now, with such explicit theories treating it, the problem may well constitute an important locus of episodes involving theoretical unification. In addition, some of this work illustrates the use of mathematical models in relation to sociological theory Doreian and Fararo Model building can fulfill a variety of goals, including the clarification of concepts, the representation of processes, and the specification of theoretical constructs that explain a variety of phenomena Berger et al Such formal model-building developments are of growing importance in recent theoretical sociology, a topic to which I turn at this point.

A model is an abstract entity that functions as a representation of some system in the world that is of sociological interest. My aim now is to discuss a variety of types of models that theoretical sociologists have employed in the analysis of social structures and social processes. Thereafter I will treat the philosophy and methodology of model building in more general terms. It should be noted that the term "model" is used in sociology in diverse ways.

Very often it refers to statistical models employed in the analysis of data. This usage is excluded from this discussion, which is focused on models and model building in relation to sociological concepts and theories. Also excluded is the diffuse idea of a general model of society as a kind of social organism.

In the present context, a model is a formal object functioning as a representation of some structure or process of sociological interest. A type of model is constructed, generally, as an implementation of a representation principle Fararo a: In what follows, some important representation principles associated with the concept of social structure are described, and then the discussion turns to models of social processes.

Sociologists have employed at least four different types of models in the analysis of structure in social life. We may regard these as four representation principles under the headings: One aspect of recent theoretical sociology is the use of combinations of these models in developing theories. Thus, the four types of models form a set of interrelated conceptual elements see Figure 4. The metaphor of a social system as a network, widely employed informally in sociology, was transformed into a mode of model building and analysis through a convergence of ideas and techniques from several traditions.

One such source was sociometry Moreno , involving the analysis of network diagrams indicating relationships among people in a small population. A second source was balance theory, which deals with configurations of positive and negative sentiments. The theory was absorbed into social network analysis via the formalization of the configurations of sentiments in terms of signed graph theory Harary, Cartwright an Norman A third source was the analysis of structures of kinship, especially after the publication of an influential monograph by White Sociometric models, balance-theoretic models, models of kinship structure, as well as numerous other model-building efforts -- such as those treating social diffusion and small worlds -- converged by the late s and the term "social network paradigm" was used to describe this whole area of model building Leinhardt Over time, it became common for measured properties of networks -- for instance, centrality Freeman , -- to be employed in the formulation and testing of empirical hypotheses about the behavior of actors.

By the end of the 20th century, social network analysis had become a mode of structural analysis with an extensive battery of formal techniques at its disposal Scott ; Wasserman and Faust, The close connection between formal representation, concept formation, and application makes it a domain of social science that strongly exhibits what Freeman has described as "turning a profit from mathematics. However, social network analysis has been regarded by most macrosociologists as not the sort of model required for the description of macrostructure.

Sociologists often speak, in the latter context, of such entities as "occupational structure" or "income structure. Blau proposed a systematic theory in which the key analytical properties of such distributions, in relation to rates of intergroup relations, provide one type of answer to the Durkheimian problem of the nature of the integration of a large complex social system. Blau employed the concepts of heterogeneity, inequality, and consolidation as such key parameters and formulated theorems relating them to the extent of intergroup relations, e.

A definite model that would represent such a macrostructure was not a part of this theory, but subsequently Skvoretz and myself formulated a mathematical treatment see especially Skvoretz It drew upon developments in the application of the theory of random and biased nets Rapoport and Horvath ; Fararo and Sunshine Thus, structure as distribution is linked to structure as network.

A summary of the formalization is presented in Fararo a: This development, which we call formal macrostructural theory, was undertaken in "the spirit of unification" in theoretical sociology Fararo b. A third type of model of structure emerges out of the language analogy or metaphor employed in one wing of structuralist thought based upon the work of Saussure [] and Chomsky This form of structuralism has been a perspective based on the idea that in some sense, that social and cultural systems should be treated with a language-like model Levi-Strauss [].

One implication of this idea is abstraction from time: Another strand of such work has been more process oriented, employing the idea that a set of finite recursively applied rules generates a system of symbolically mediated interactions comprising a domain of institutionalized social action Fararo and Skvoretz The formalism is drawn from cognitive psychology Newell and Simon The resulting model can be studied from two points of view.


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  • On the one hand, the finite rule basis and the institution stand to each as grammar and language: On the other hand, the finite rule basis can be used to analyze a system of symbolic interaction as it is generated locally and in real time Skvoretz and Fararo b. This type of model is one among a variety of those that draw upon techniques from artificial intelligence and cognitive science Bainbridge et al I pointed out earlier how structure as distribution was integrated with structure as network in formal macrostructural theory.

    A similar effort, not discussed here see Fararo and Skvoretz , links structure as grammar with structure as network, drawing upon an abstract algebra of interpenetration framed in network terms to formally represent hierarchical levels of institutional structure Fararo and Doreian A fourth representation of structure employs game theory. A play of a game is analogous to an utterance in a language, wherein the rules of the game play the role of the grammar.

    Given such rules, a tree of possible sequential plays of the game is implied, called the game in extensive form. However, as distinct from grammatical analysis, the focus in game-theoretic analysis is on strategic interaction, so that a model of rational choice usually supplements the game model. The aim of the game-theoretic model-builder is to derive the consequences of rational choices on the part of each player, often with a view of showing how outcomes involve "perverse effects" Boudon Thus, the game model is an alternative to the grammatical model that emphasizes emergent order at the level of the tacit or implicit rules governing institutionalized social action.

    The game model, by contrast, emphasizes the way in which the structure, as represented by the game, produces predictable but often-paradoxical effects from the conjunction of rational choices. It turns out that structure as game has been linked to structure as network. A good example is the use of game-theoretic ideas to arrive at theoretical predictions of outcomes of network exchange experiments Bienenstock and Bonacich This type of theory actually combines structure as game and structure as network with structure as distribution because the outcome of any exchange process in a network is a distribution of resources among the players.

    The theory shows how and why this distribution depends upon the shape of the network. Another example of the linkage of game and network representations occurs in some of the work of Peter Abell The postclassical theoretical sociologists Parsons and Homans among others were committed to the project of bringing dynamic analysis into sociological theory.

    So clearly did Homans try to model his discursive analysis of group phenomena on the set-up and analysis of a system of differential equations that shortly after this book appeared it was formalized as such by Herbert Simon , including an early treatment of nonlinear dynamics with multiple equilibria. Coleman , responsive to the needs of survey research with its discrete data summarized as proportions, developed a family of dynamic models that are stochastic processes in continuous-time. Each individual makes transitions from one discrete state to another - for instance, shifting candidates during an election campaign - and the group makes transitions among states representing the number of individuals in each of the discrete individual states e.

    The most general way of thinking about processes is in terms of the concept of a behavior manifold see Figure 5, upper part. This consists of a parameter space together with a state space, both multidimensional. Given a time domain and a generator, the parameterized process is the tracing out of trajectory in state space. For any given value of the parameter, apart from transient states, there may be various types of attractors generalized forms of equilibrium as well as repellors unstable equilibria. For instance, the nonlinear Simon-Homans model, under some conditions yields a configuration of two attractor states separated by a repellor.

    Thus, when an initial state is close to the repellor it departs from it toward one or the other attractor. The whole subject of nonlinear systems is framed in terms of such generated configurations in state space that vary with parametric conditions. Special cases of the general dynamical system include topics catastrophes and chaos as well as classical linear system dynamics where equilibrium, if it exists, is unique. For an extended discussion, see Fararo a: Of particular interest in sociology are two types of process models that relate to the concept of social structure.

    See Figure 5, lower part. In one type, a network or some other model object represents the structure, and other phenomena, say X, are taken as defining the state space. The aim is to show how the outcome of a postulated process with respect to X varies with parameters descriptive of the social structure.

    In the other type of model, the structure is treated as emergent. An interaction process model involving "E-states" may serve to illustrate Skvoretz and Fararo The process involves the over-time construction of stable relationships among pairs of actors until equilibrium, when the postulated rules lead to social reproduction of the relational pattern. The process is the trip through a state space of possible forms of the emergent local social structure.

    Which trip is taken, in terms of which network states are visited, depends upon the initial state, the parameters, and the specific realization of the stochastic process representation of the generator. I conclude this paper with a presentation of a conception of how to think about models in relationship to the knowledge process as involving theories, data and the relationship between them. The following discussion relates to Figure 6. Framework, Problem and Model. Sociologists, like other social scientists, use the term "theory" to cover both general frameworks and more specific formulations that address particular problems.

    This double usage can be articulated to the model concept. Namely, we think of a scientific theory as having two levels, a framework level and a model level. The two are linked by theoretical problems that are addressed by constructing a model within the framework. Suppose that T is a general theoretical framework, comprised of general concepts and principles.

    Often a formal theoretical framework will contain what I will call a "template," meaning a general form of a model that needs to be "filled-in" with more definite terms. Associated with the T-framework will be various problems, for instance, phenomena calling for an explanation, a "T-problem. In addition, investigators will employ empirical methods to generate data appropriate to the problem. In particular cases, this is followed by such procedures as parameter estimation and calculations of empirical predictions.

    The comparison of the latter with properties of the body of data may show discrepancies that, in turn, may lead to revisions of the theoretical model, to questioning the quality or relevance of the data, to a reformulation of the problem, or a revision of the general framework itself. Even the worldview is not immune from rethinking, although this would be a last resort to resolve some intolerable inconsistencies not only between data and models but also between different frameworks within a research tradition.

    In the event of a favorable assessment of the theoretical model, a natural step would be extension of the scope of the theoretical model through removal of analytical restrictions that were introduced to facilitate a first theoretical approach to the problem. This sketch works best when the framework entails formal model building. Let me illustrate with a sociological example. In the recent phase of theoretical sociology, Coleman constructed a framework with both a metatheoretical template and a theory template.

    The former consists of an already famous "boat" diagram in which -- in one interpretation -- a given macro initial condition M0 produces an outcome macro-state M1 via three linkages. First, there is a linkage from macro M0 to micro m0, interpretable as an actor with socially induced preferences in a situation with opportunities and constraints. Second, there is a link from m0 to m1, an act by that actor, postulated, as a first approximation, to be a rational choice.

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    Then, third, some mechanism combines the acts of the various actors to generate the macro outcome to be explained, a link from m1 to M1. This metatheoretical template serves to orient theorists to construct models that explain macrosociological causal relations by postulation of theoretical models that incorporate the three types of links. Coleman's theory template is a generalization of the logical structure of general equilibrium theory in economics, compactly represented in two matrices.

    First, there is a matrix in which there is a distribution of rights of control of a set of resources among a set of actors. Second, there is a matrix of the distribution of each actor's interests over the same resources, where the interests are parameters in a Cobb-Douglas utility function. The template then invokes an exchange process to carry the state of the control matrix from its initial state to an equilibrium state. In this process, each actor's utility function is maximized subject to constraints.

    Thus, to create a theoretical model based on this framework means to specify the actors, the resources, and the initial control relations and interests. Thus, in Coleman's structure of theory, the exchange theory template satisfies the metatheory template and in turn exchange models created within the framework are designed to satisfy the theory template. For instance, one theoretical problem that Coleman poses is: How do norms emerge?

    The theoretical model he proposes employs the theory template to address this problem. Coleman includes conditions necessary for "the demand for a norm" to arise and also conditions necessary for effective enforcement of the emergent norm. A somewhat different and briefer example may be given in terms of the use of the construct "E-state," mentioned earlier.

    E-state structuralism is a theoretical method, functioning as the basis for model of network dynamics in which actors hold evolving expectation states with respect to each other, as in a small group discussion setting Skvoretz and Fararo In this instance, the framework is the core of expectation states theory itself with its principle that relational expectation states arise out of social behavior and then come to form stable bases for the control of such behavior as indicated by differential rates of participation in group discussion.

    Given the problem of describing such an interactive process in detail, the E-state structuralist method, as combined with several other ideas, yields a model that makes detailed predictions. Preliminary tests of the model were undertaken but it was clear that far more detailed interaction data were required. In turn, this led to further empirical inquiry to generate this more appropriate body of data to permit more refined tests of the predictions yielded by the dynamic model. This example, then, illustrates some of the dynamic aspects of the interplay of two modes of implementation of a theoretical framework, one involving theoretical methods that aid in the construction of theoretical models and the other involving empirical methods that aid in the collection of appropriate data.

    Although these ideas about theoretical frameworks, theoretical problems and theoretical models were devised with formal theories in mind, they also enable us to interpret the logical structure of theoretical work that is not formal. For instance, let T be a structural-functionalist theoretical framework. One T-problem is to explain the universality of stratification, which is understood within the T-framework to refer to rewards, especially prestige, assigned to positions in a social system. The famous Davis-Moore theory of stratification can be interpreted as a T-model proposing a theoretical solution of this problem.

    Employing some ideas about motivation, what the authors do is equivalent to proving a theorem about the T-model: If a social system, a system of interrelated positions, is stable, then that system is stratified. Hence, stratification is a necessary condition for social order. To derive empirically testable claims that can be compared with appropriate data, a formalized functional approach would be helpful. For instance, Stinchcombe represents functional arguments in terms of a negative feedback or homeostatic system.

    The problem of appropriate data for the empirical assessment of such functional models is addressed by Faia Representation, Idealization and Approximation. The connection between sociological frameworks and formal model-building will become much closer as theoretical sociologists become more explicitly oriented to three basic aspects of theoretical model-building, namely representation, idealization and approximation Fararo a: Representation is the core idea of model building and, therefore, in the context of constructing effective theoretical frameworks in sociology an essential aspect of theory development.

    Berger et al set out an important statement of the linkage between theoretical goals and model building. In their terms, there are three basic goals that motivate the construction of a model: The role of idealization in sociology was recognized by the classical sociologist Max Weber, who used the term "ideal type" for "model. Only selected aspects of a concrete reality are represented.

    Even key features of reality may be omitted in this process in order to study a "pure" case. For instance, economic theorists define and study general equilibrium models of perfectly competitive economies. As of the late 20th century, however, this important role of idealization has not yet found its way into most theoretical work in sociology. An exception occurred in the work of Coleman in his adoption of the economic approach, formulating the concept of a "perfect social system" and employing a general equilibrium theory.

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    The role of approximation is closely related to the logical derivation of properties of a theoretical model. For instance, a complex mathematical expression may be approximated by a simpler one that enables deductions that would not otherwise be obtained. Standards in Theoretical Model Building. Implied in this entire discussion of formal models in theoretical sociology is some conception of cognitive standards for the construction and assessment of models.

    Lave and March Two groups of standards they explicate under the headings of truth and beauty, respectively. I will discuss one of the standards of truth. There is general agreement among philosophers of science that a model is not really a theoretical model unless it can be shown to be wrong in relation to the world. This is what Lave and March call "the importance of being wrong. The standard may be called "truth," but idealization and approximation have to be taken into account.

    The more precise the prediction made by a model the more likely it is to be untrue in the strict sense. The real point is that the development of our collective grasp of the world in respect to the problems we pose is under empirical control as well as informed by conceptual schemes and theories. Another important point is that the generality of a framework enables alternative models to be constructed. In addition, it may be that a given problem can be re-framed so as to enable a quite different framework to be employed in the construction of an alternative model.