Contemporary articles citing Emirbayer M (1997) Am J Sociol
relational, agency, basic, others, structures, approach, provides, way, construction, concept
- Silver, Daniel & Monica Lee. 2012. "Self-relations in Social Relations." Sociological Theory. 30:4 207-237.
- This article contributes to an ongoing theoretical effort to extend the insights of relational and network sociology into adjacent domains. We integrate Simmel's late theory of the relational self into the formal analysis of social relations, generating a framework for theorizing forms of association among self-relating individuals. On this model, every ``node'' in an interaction has relations not only to others but also to itself, specifically between its ideality and its actuality. We go on to integrate this self-relation into a formal model of social relations. This model provides a way to describe configurations of social interactions defined by the forms according to which social relations realize participants' ideal selves. We examine four formal dimensions along which these self-relational relationships can vary: distance, symmetry, scope, and actualization.
- Silver, Daniel. 2011. "The Moodiness of Action." Sociological Theory. 29:3 199-222.
- This article argues that the concept of moodiness provides significant resources for developing a more robust pragmatist theory of action. Building on current conceptualizations of agency as effort by relational sociologists, it turns to the early work of Talcott Parsons to outline the theoretical presuppositions and antinomies endemic to any such conception; William James and John Dewey provide an alternative conception of effort as a contingent rather than fundamental form of agency. The article then proposes a way forward to a nonvoluntarist theory of action by introducing the notion of moodiness, highlighting how the concept permits a richer conceptualization of actors' prereflexive involvement in and relatedness to nonneutral, demanding situations. Effort is reconceptualized as a moment in a broader process of action, where the mood is fragile and problematical. Finally, the article draws all of these elements together in an outline of a unified portrait of the pragmatist action cycle that includes both creativity and moodiness as essential moments.
- Saito, Hiro. 2011. "An Actor-network Theory of Cosmopolitanism." Sociological Theory. 29:2 124-149.
- A major problem with the emerging sociological literature on cosmopolitanism is that it has not adequately theorized mechanisms that mediate the presumed causal relationship between globalization and the development of cosmopolitan orientations. To solve this problem, I draw on Bruno Latour's actor-network theory (ANT) to theorize the development of three key elements of cosmopolitanism: cultural omnivorousness, ethnic tolerance, and cosmopolitics. ANT illuminates how humans and nonhumans of multiple nationalities develop attachments with one another to create network structures that sustain cosmopolitanism. ANT also helps the sociology of cosmopolitanism become more reflexive and critical of its implicit normative claims.
- Fuhse, Jan. 2009. "The Meaning Structure of Social Networks." Sociological Theory. 27:1 51-73.
- This essay proposes to view networks as sociocultural structures. Following authors from Leopold von Wiese and Norbert Elias to Gary Alan Fine and Harrison White, networks are configurations of social relationships interwoven with meaning. Social relationships as the basic building blocks of networks are conceived of as dynamic structures of reciprocal (but not necessarily symmetric) expectations between alter and ego. Through their transactions, alter and ego construct an idiosyncratic ``relationship culture'' comprising symbols, narratives, and relational identities. The coupling of social relationships to networks, too, is heavily laden with meaning. The symbolic construction of persons is one instance of this coupling. Another instance is the application of social categories (like race or gender), which both map and structure social networks. The conclusion offers an agenda for research on this ``meaning structure of social networks.''.
- 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.
- Bergesen, AJ. 2004. "Chomsky Versus Mead." Sociological Theory. 22:3 357-370.
- G. H. Mead's model of language and mind, while perhaps understandable at the time it was written, now seems inadequate. First, the research evidence strongly suggests that mental operations exist prior to language onset, conversation of gestures, or social interaction. Second, language is not just significant symbols; it requires syntax. Third, syntax seems to be part of our bioinheritance, that is, part of our presocial mind/brain-what Noam Chomsky has called our language faculty. Fourth, this means syntax probably is not learned nor a social construction that is internalized as a cultural template. Fifth, this suggests a basic reversal of the prevailing model of symbolic interaction, mind, language, and perhaps the self as well, although there has not been the time or space to engage that topic here. Therefore, symbolic interaction may turn out to be a more Chomskyan than Meadian process. Given the bioinheritance of our mind/brain we are able to engage in symbolic interaction; it does not appear that symbolic interaction creates our mind or the basic computational algorithms of language.
- Gibson, DR. 2000. "Seizing the Moment: the Problem of Conversational Agency." Sociological Theory. 18:3 368-382.
- In conversation, actors face constraints on when they can speak, whom they can address, what they can say, and what they carr safely expect from others by way of cooperation. This is the backdrop against which people pursue their idiosyncratic interests and objectives, success at which constitutes conversational agency. In principle, agency is made possible by the ``looseness'' of conversational constraints. This does not create a clear path for the advancement of personal ends, however, since options are always limited by the context, and success is always contingent upon the cooperation of others. Ultimately, the most agentic people are those who readily exploit imperfect options though this means abandoning the inflexible pursuit of pre-conceived objectives.
- Breslau, D. 2000. "Sociology After Humanism: a Lesson From Contemporary Science Studies." Sociological Theory. 18:2 289-307.
- The field of science studies is the site of an explicit reflection on the ontological premises of sociology, with rival approaches defined by distinctive ways of specifying the basic constituents of reality. This article takes advantage of this debate to compare three types of ontological schemes in terms of their internal coherence and their consequences for sociology. Sociological in terms of their internal coherence and their consequences for sociology. Sociological humanism-represented by proponents of the sociology of scientific knowledge (SSK)-distinguishes between an immanent domain of social relations, a transcendent and meaningless material reality, and an intermediate, socially constructed level of knowledge, meaning and culture. Symmetrical humanism-as found in the recent writings of Andrew Pickering-insists that society too should be placed among the constructions, thereby disqualifying it as a source of explanations of human agency and leaving a detached and self-moving human agent. The relational ontology-exemplified by the ``actor-network'' approach of Bruno Latour adn others-make no a priori distinctions between humans and others, or between trandscendent reality and construction, treating these properties as outcomes. The two humanist approaches are found to be incoherent as ontological schemes and also, contrary to the antisociological stance of the actor-network approach, it is found that the relational ontology provides a consistent basis for sociological explanations of human practices.
- 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.