Contemporary articles citing Giddens A (1979) Central Problems Soc
concept, habitus, structures, his, bourdieu's, approach, terms, recent, understanding, action
- Moore, Adam. 2011. "The Eventfulness of Social Reproduction*." Sociological Theory. 29:4 294-314.
- The work of William Sewell and Marshall Sahlins has led to a growing interest in recent years in events as a category of analysis and their role in the transformation of social structures. I argue that tying events solely to instances of significant structural transformation entails problematic theoretical assumptions about stability and change and produces a circumscribed field of events, undercutting the goal of developing an eventful account of social life. Social continuity is a state that is achieved just as much as are structural transformations, and events may be constitutive of processes of reproduction as well as change.
- Chang, Kuang-chi. 2011. "A Path to Understanding Guanxi in China's Transitional Economy: Variations on Network Behavior*." Sociological Theory. 29:4 315-339.
- Current research on guanxi (Chinese social connections) suffers from conceptual confusion. This article presents a new theoretical framework for understanding guanxi in the face of China's economic and social transformations. Guanxi is viewed as a purposive network behavior that can take different strategic forms, such as accessing, bridging, and embedding. Pairing this conceptualization with a social-evolutionary framework, I argue that the emergence and increasing or decreasing prevalence of each form over time result from (1) a combination of factors at three analytical levelsmicroagency, mesonetwork, and macroinstitutionaland (2) endogenous processes of selection. By focusing on behavioral forms and their evolution, this framework is able to bridge divides in the guanxi literature, provide a foundation for comparative studies of network behavior across societies, and connect the study of guanxi with economic sociology more broadly.
- 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.
- Ng, Kwai & Jeffrey Kidder. 2010. "Toward a Theory of Emotive Performance: With Lessons From How Politicians Do Anger." Sociological Theory. 28:2 193-214.
- This article treats the public display of emotion as social performance. The concept of ``emotive performance'' is developed to highlight the overlooked quality of performativity in the social use of emotion. We argue that emotive performance is reflexive, cultural, and communicative. As an active social act, emotive performance draws from the cultural repertoire of interpretative frameworks and dominant narratives. We illustrate the utility of the concept by analyzing two episodes of unrehearsed emotive performances by two well-known politicians, Bill Clinton and Jiang Zemin. The two cases demonstrate how emotion can be analyzed as a domain in which culturally specific narratives and rhetorics are used to advance the situational agenda of actors. The concept opens up a more expansive research agenda for sociology. It pushes sociologists to pay greater attention to people's experiences, interpretations, and deployments of emotions in social life.
- 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.
- Hallett, T. 2003. "Symbolic Power and Organizational Culture." Sociological Theory. 21:2 128-149.
- With the recent wave of corporate scandals, organizational culture has regained relevance in politics and the media, However, to acquire enduring utility, the concept needs an overhaul to overcome the weaknesses of earlier approaches. As such, this paper reconceptualizes organizational culture as a negotiated order (Strauss 1978) that emerges through interactions between participants, an order influenced by those with the symbolic power to define the situation. I stress the complementary contributions of theorists of,practice (Bourdieu and Swidler) and theorists of interaction (Goffman and Strauss), building upward from practice into interaction, symbolic power, and the negotiated order. Using data from initial reports on the fall of Arthur Andersen and Co., I compare this symbolic power approach to other approaches (culture as subjective beliefs and values or as context/public meaning). The symbolic power model has five virtues: an empirically observable object of study; the capacity to explain conflict and integration; the ability to explain stability and change; causal efficacy; and links between the micro-, meso-, and macrolevels of analysis. Though this paper focuses on organizational culture, the symbolic power model provides theoretical leverage for understanding many situated contexts.
- Kamolnick, P. 2001. "Simmel's Legacy for Contemporary Value Theory: a Critical Assessment." Sociological Theory. 19:1 65-85.
- In this essay I critically assess Georg Simmel's legacy for contemporary value theory and provide the rudiments of an alternative approach. My central thesis is that Simmel fails to satisfactorily, conceptualize the nature ann origin of value because of his duration to an asocial, Cartesian-Kantian conception of mind, human freedom, anti agency. In contrast. I incorporate recent data from neuroscience, social self theory, developmental psychology: and elements of Marx's theory of the commodity form to provide the terms of a postmetaphysical, intersubjective alternative.
- 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.
- Evens, TMS. 1999. "Bourdieu and the Logic of Practice: Is All Giving Indian-giving or Is ``generalized Materialism'' Not Enough?." Sociological Theory. 17:1 3-31.
- I argue here that in the end Bourdieu's theory of practice Sails to overcome the problem on which it expressly centers, namely, subject-object dualism. The failure is registered in his avowed materialism, which, though significantly ``generalized,'' remains what it says: a materialism In order to substantiate my criticism, I examine for their ontological presuppositions three areas of his theoretical framework pertaining to the questions of(I) human agency las seen through the conceptual glass of the habitus), (2) otherness, and (3) the gift. By scrutinizing Bourdieu's powerful and progressive social theory, with an eye to finding fault, I hope to show the need to take a certain theoretical action, one that is patently out of keeping with the usual self-presentation and self understanding of social science. The action I have in mind is this: because the problem of subject-object dualism is in the first place a matter of ontology, in order successfully to address it there must take place a direct shift of ontological starting point, from the received starting point in Western thought to one that projects reality in terms of ambiguity that is basic. With this shift the dualism of subject and object dissolves by definition, leaving a social reality that, for reasons of its basic ambiguity, is best approached as a question of ethics before power.
- 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.
- Schwinn, T. 1998. "False Connections: Systems and Action Theories in Neofunctionalism and in Jurgen Habermas." Sociological Theory. 16:1 75-95.
- Recent theoretical discussions have served to bridge the gap separating systems- and action-theoretical approaches; however the question of their basic compatibility; has rarely been raised This paper takes up two efforts at linking systems and action theory: those of neofunctionalists and those of Jurgen Habermas. Neofunctionalists start from the inadequacies of systems functionalism and seek to open it to the theory of action. Habermas. on the other hand, seeks to overcome the limits of the theory of action by widening its scope in systems-theoretical terms. Successful synthesis eludes both efforts. either the status of voluntaristic aspects is so enhanced that the systemic whole and its functional imperatives practically vanish, or too much emphasis is placed on the systemic aspect, reducing actors to the mere executing agents of systemic needs. The combination, of theories of structure and action provides a way old of this dilemma.