Contemporary articles citing Collins R (1988) Theoretical Sociolog

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Jepperson, Ronald & John Meyer. 2011. "Multiple Levels of Analysis and the Limitations of Methodological Individualisms." Sociological Theory. 29:1 54-73. Link
This article discusses relations among the multiple levels of analysis present in macro-sociological explanation-i.e., relations of individual, structural, and institutional processes. It also criticizes the doctrinal insistence upon single-level individualistic explanation found in some prominent contemporary sociological theory. For illustrative material the article returns to intellectual uses of Weber's ``Protestant Ethic thesis,'' showing how an artificial version has been employed as a kind of proof text for the alleged scientific necessity of individualist explanation. Our alternative exposition renders the discussion of Protestantism and capitalism in an explicitly multilevel way, distinguishing possible individual-level, social-organizational, and institutional linkages. The causal processes involved are distinct ones, with the more structural and institutional forms neither captured nor attainable by individual-level thinking. We argue more generally that ``methodological individualisms'' confuse issues of explanation with issues about microfoundations. This persistent intellectual conflation may be rooted in the broader folk models of liberal individualism.

Berk, BB. 2006. "Macro-micro Relationships in Durkheim's Analysis of Egoistic Suicide." Sociological Theory. 24:1 58-80. Link
Contemporary theory is increasingly concerned with macro-micro integration. An attempt is made to integrate these levels of analysis in Durkheim's theory of egoistic suicide. Does Durkheim's theory, which is a social system analysis designed to explain differences in suicide rates between groups, have micro implications for specifying which particular individuals within the group will take their lives? In attempting to answer this question by exploring the causal linkages between integration and suicide, Durkheim's theory of egoistic suicide was revealed not to be a singular theory but rather contained several different explanations. The numerous interpretations have resulted from his incompletely specified, inconsistent, unsystematized, and inadequately tested theory. These ambiguities also account for the historically inconsistent research findings that have limited sociologists' ability to advance beyond Durkheim's century-old formulations. Further areas for new research and illustrative hypothesis are suggested.

Collins, R. 2004. "Lenski's Power Theory of Economic Inequality: a Central Neglected Question in Stratification Research." Sociological Theory. 22:2 219-228. Link

Michalski, JH. 2003. "Financial Altruism or Unilateral Resource Exchanges? - Toward a Pure Sociology of Welfare." Sociological Theory. 21:4 341-358. Link
Questions concerning the essential nature of altruism, the existence of an altruistic personality, and the genetic, biosocial, and social psychological bases of altruistic behavior have dominated theory and research on the topic. The current paper reconceptualizes financial altruism sociologically as a form of unilateral resource exchanges, or welfare. The alternative definition employs Donald Black's (1979, 2000) analytic approach to describe and explain the behavior of welfare with its location and direction in social space. The paper offers several propositions that purport to explain variations in welfare by drawing upon cross-cultural research. In general, welfare flows in the direction of those who are less integrated and who have lower social status. In addition, welfare varies directly with intimacy, conventionality, and respectability. Finally, welfare varies inversely with relational distance, cultural distance, and group size. The paper concludes with a brief discussion of strengths and limitations of the general propositions advanced.

Marshall, DA. 2002. "Behavior, Belonging, and Belief: a Theory of Ritual Practice." Sociological Theory. 20:3 360-380. Link
A new model of ritual based on Durkheims ([1912] 1995) theory is developed. It is argued that ritual practices generate belief and belonging in participants by activating multiple social-psychological mechanisms that interactively create the characteristic outcomes of ritual. Specifically, the distinctive elements of ritual practice are shown to induce altered subjective states and effortful and/or anomalous behaviors, which are subsequently misattributed in such a way that belief and belonging are created or maintained around the focus of ritual attention. These processes are traced in detail, and the resulting model is shown to be empirically credible, comprehensive, and theoretically fertile.

Brint, S. 2001. "Gemeinschaft Revisited: a Critique and Reconstruction of the Community Concept." Sociological Theory. 19:1 1-23. Link
Community remains a potent symbol and aspiration in political and intellectual life. However, it has largely passed out of sociological analysis. The paper shows why this has occurred, and it develops a new typology that can make the concept useful again in sociology: The neu typology is based on identifying structurally distinct subtypes of community using a small number of partitioning variables. The first partition is defined by the ultimate context of interaction; the second by the primary motivation for interaction; the third by rates of interaction and location of members; and the fourth by the amount of face-to-face as opposed ro computer-mediated interaction. This small number of partitioning variables yields eight major subtypes of community. The paper shows how and why these major subtypes are related to important variations in the behavioral and organizational outcomes of community. The paper also seeks to resolve some disagreements between classical liberalism and communitarians. It shows that only a few of the major subtypes of community are likely to be as illiberal and intolerant as the selective imagery of classical liberals asserts, while at the same time only a few are prone to generate as much fraternalism and equity as the selective imagery of communitarians suggests. The paper concludes by discussing the forms of community that are best suited to the modern world.

Fuchs, S. 2001. "Beyond Agency." Sociological Theory. 19:1 24-40. Link
The reason why agency/structure and micro/macro debates remain unresolved is the bad essentialist habit of treating such pairs as opposite natural kinds. Once variation is allowed, agency and structure. or micro and macro, are temporal? poles bracketing a continuum. with serial entities moving along this continuum over time. Explaining these transformations from agency into structure, or micro into macro. and vice versa is the challenge for explanatory theory. This challenge is met by switching to a constructivist level of second-order observing. Then, agency and structure become variable devices or frames different observers might use to perform different sorts of cultural work.

Collins, R. 2000. "Situational Stratification: a Micro-macro Theory of Inequality." Sociological Theory. 18:1 17-43. Link

Cahill, SE. 1998. "Toward a Sociology of the Person." Sociological Theory. 16:2 131-148. Link
This paper proposes a sociology of the person that focuses upon the socially defined, publicly visible beings of intersubjective experience. I argue that the sociology of the person proposed by Durkheim and Mauss is more accurately described as a sociology of institutions of the person and neglects both folk or ethnopsychologies of personhood and the international production of persons. I draw upon the work of Goffman to develop a sociology of the person concerned with means, processes, and relations of person production. I also propose that the work of Goffman, Foucault, and others provides insights into the contemporary technology of person production and into how its control and use affects relations of person production. I conclude with a brief outline of the theoretical connections among institutions of the person, folk psychologies, the social constitution of the person, and the prospect of a distinctively sociological psychology.