Contemporary articles citing Archer M (1995) Realist Social Theor
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- Archer, Margaret. 2010. "Routine, Reflexivity, and Realism." Sociological Theory. 28:3 272-303.
- Many scholars continue to accord routine action a central role in social theory and defend the continuing relevance of Bourdieu's habitus. Simultaneously, most recognize the importance of reflexivity. In this article, I consider three versions of the effort to render these concepts compatible, which I term ``empirical combination,'' ``hybridization,'' and ``ontological and theoretical reconciliation.'' None of the efforts is ultimately successful in analytical terms. Moreover, I argue on empirical grounds that the relevance of habitus began to decrease toward the end of the 20th century, given major changes in the structures of the advanced capitalist democracies. In these circumstances, habitual forms prove incapable of providing guidelines for people's lives and, thus, make reflexivity imperative. I conclude by arguing that even the reproduction of natal background is a reflexive activity today and that the mode most favorable to producing it-what I call ``communicative reflexivity''-is becoming harder to sustain.
- Reed, Isaac. 2008. "Justifying Sociological Knowledge: From Realism to Interpretation." Sociological Theory. 26:2 101-129.
- In the context of calls for ``postpositivist'' sociology, realism has emerged as a powerful and compelling epistemology for social science. In transferring and transforming scientific realism-a philosophy of natural science-into a justificatory discourse for social science, realism splits into two parts: a strict, highly naturalistic realism and a reflexive, more mediated, and critical realism. Both forms of realism, however, suffer from conceptual ambiguities, omissions, and elisions that make them an inappropriate epistemology for social science. Examination of these problems in detail reveals how a different perspective-centered on the interpretation of meaning-could provide a better justification for social inquiry, and in particular a better understanding of sociological theory and the construction of sociological explanations.
- Depelteau, Francois. 2008. "Relational Thinking: a Critique of Co-deterministic Theories of Structure and Agency." Sociological Theory. 26:1 51-73.
- This article presents a relational criticism of the ``morphogenetic theory'' of M. Archer. This theory is founded and representative of the most influential mode of perception of the social universe of the last few decades: co-determinism (structure <-> agency). Co-determinism's influence can be explained by its integration of modern general presuppositions like freedom, individualism, and the quest for a new social order. By identifying five basic principles of relational sociology, we see that Archer's co-deterministic theory offers a complicated solution to avoid voluntarism and co-determinism, limits the potential of sociological imagination, cannot adequately see the fluidity of social processes, produces a certain reification of social structures and agency, and is based on an inconsistent use of egocentric and relational perspectives. These problems can be avoided if we use a relational approach (actor <-> actor double right arrow structures) based on the study of complex and empirical trans-actions.
- Vandenberghe, Frederic. 2007. "Avatars of the Collective: a Realist Theory of Collective Subjectivities." Sociological Theory. 25:4 295-324.
- Elder-Vass, Dave. 2007. "Reconciling Archer and Bourdieu in an Emergentist Theory of Action." Sociological Theory. 25:4 325-346.
- Margaret Archer and Pierre Bourdieu have advanced what seem at first sight to be incompatible theories of human agency. While Archer places heavy stress on conscious reflexive deliberation and the consequent choices of identity and projects that individuals make, Bourdieu's concept of habitus places equally heavy stress on the role of social conditioning in determining our behavior, and downplays the contribution of conscious deliberation. Despite this, I argue that these two approaches, with some modification, can be reconciled in a single emergentist theory of human action that is sketched out in this article. It examines how human dispositions and our reflexive decisions are related to the determination of human action, linking dispositions and decisions to their neural base in human physiology and to the social factors that influence them. As a result, it argues, we can see human action as the outcome of a continuous interaction between dispositions and reflexivity. The article goes on to relate this explanation back to Bourdieu's concept of the habitus and Archer's account of reflexivity. It argues that the weaknesses in Bourdieu's theory of action can be resolved by a reasonable reinterpretation of the habitus that makes it consistent with the emergentist theory and creates space for human choices as well as social influences on our behavior. This opens up a role for the sort of reflexive deliberations advocated by Archer and thus to a reconciliation of the key contributions of both Archer and Bourdieu.
- Sawyer, RK. 2002. "Durkheim's Dilemma: Toward a Sociology of Emergence." Sociological Theory. 20:2 227-247.
- The concept of emergence is a central thread uniting Durkheims theoretical and empirical work, yet this aspect of Durkheims work has been neglected. I reinterpret Durkheim in light of theories of emergence developed by contemporary philosophers of mind, and I show that Durkheim's writings prefigure many elements of these contemporary theories. Reading Durkheint as an emergentist helps to clarify several difficult and confusing aspects of his work, and reveals a range of unresolved issues. I identify five such issues, and I show how Durkheims writings on emergence suggest potential responses.
- King, A. 2000. "Thinking With Bourdieu Against Bourdieu: a `practical' Critique of the Habitus." Sociological Theory. 18:3 417-433.
- There are two strands in Bourclieu's sociological writings. On the one hand Bourdieu argues for a theoretical position one might term his `practical theory'' which emphasizes virtuosic interactions between individuals. On the other hand, and most frequently, Bourdieu appeals to the concept of the habitus according to which society consists of objective structures and determined-and isolated-individuals. Although Bourdieu believes that the habitus is compatible with his practical theory and overcomes the impasse of objectivism and subjectivism in social theory, neither claim is the case; the habitus is incompatible with his practical theory, and it retreats quickly into objectivism. However Bourdieu's practical theory does offer a way out of the impasse of objectivism and subjectivism by focussing on the intersubjective interactions between individuals.
- Sites, W. 2000. "Primitive Globalization? State and Locale in Neoliberal Global Engagement." Sociological Theory. 18:1 121-144.
- Drawing widely from sociology, political science, and urban studies, this article introduces the term ``primitive globalization'' in order to address issues of state and governance for localities that globalize within a national context. Suggested by the discusssion of primitive accumulation in Marx's Capital, this conceptual frame highlights the ways in which states neither circumvented by globalization nor resistant to it may facilitate neoliberal globalization by ``separating'' or disembedding social actors from conditions that otherwise impede short-term economic activity. This conception, which is considered primarily in relation to the United States, positions the state as both facilitator and victim of globalization, draws attention to state fragmentation and national politics, and places the role of the national state in the local state at the center of unstable linkages. It is suggested that under these conditions the national/local state may be caught between the roles of government and governance; for this reason, as well as others, contemporary globalization remains transitional.
- Vandenberghe, F. 1999. "``the Real Is Relational'': an Epistemological Analysis of Pierre Bourdieu's Generative Structuralism." Sociological Theory. 17:1 32-67.
- An internal reconstruction and an immanent critique of Bourdieu's generative structuralism is presented. Rather than starting with the concept of ``habitus,'' as is usually done, the article tries to systematically reconstruct Bourdieu's theory by an analysis of the relational logic that permeates his whole work. Tracing the debt Bourdieu's approach owes to Bachelard's rationalism and Cassirer's relationalism, the article examines Bourdieu's epistemological writings of the 1960s and 70s. It tries to make the case that Bourdieu's sociological metascience represents a rationalist version of Bhaskar's critical realism, and enjoins Bourdieu to give heed to the realist turn in the philosophy of the natural and the social sciences. The article shows how Bourdieu's epistemological assumptions are reflected in his primary theoretical constructs of ``habitus `` and ``field.'' To concretize their discussion, it analyzes Bourdieu's reinterpretation of Weber in his theory of the field of religion and of the young Mannheim in his theory of the scientific field.