Contemporary articles citing Granovetter M (1973) Am J Sociol
relations, relational, understanding, groups, processes, culture, forms, cultural, studies, provide
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Jepperson, Ronald & John Meyer. 2011. "Multiple Levels of Analysis and the Limitations of Methodological Individualisms." Sociological Theory. 29:1 54-73.
- 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.
- Fine, Gary. 2010. "The Sociology of the Local: Action and Its Publics." Sociological Theory. 28:4 355-376.
- Sociology requires a robust theory of how local circumstances create social order. When we analyze social structures not recognizing that they depend on groups with collective pasts and futures that are spatially situated and that are based on personal relations, we avoid a core sociological dimension: the importance of local context in constituting social worlds. Too often this has been the sociological stance, both in micro-sociological studies that examine interaction as untethered from local traditions and in research that treats culture as autonomous from action and choice. Building on theories of action, group dynamics, and micro-cultures, I argue that a sociology of the local solves critical theoretical problems. The local is a stage on which social order gets produced and a lens for understanding how particular forms of action are selected. Treating ethnographic studies as readings of ongoing cultures, I examine how the continuing and referential features of group life (spatial arenas, relations, shared pasts) generate action and argue that local practices provide the basis for cultural extension, influencing societal expectations through the linkages among groups.
- Garcelon, Marc. 2010. "The Missing Key: Institutions, Networks, and the Project of Neoclassical Sociology." Sociological Theory. 28:3 326-353.
- The diversity of contemporary ``capitalisms'' underscores the need to supplant the amorphous concept of structure with more precise concepts, particularly institutions and networks. All institutions entail both embodied and relational aspects. Institutions are relational insofar as they map obligatory patterns of ``getting by and getting along''-institutional orders-that steer stable social fields over time. Institutions are simultaneously embodied as institutional paradigms, part of a larger bodily agency Pierre Bourdieu called habitus. Institutions are in turn tightly coupled to networks between various people based on, but not reducible to, strategic interests. Yet social interaction sometimes exceeds institutional boundaries, giving rise to disjunctive fields and underscoring the prominence of institutional failures in the unfolding of antagonistic relations such as warfare. Such disjunctive fields can be tracked in relation to some transnational networks at the global level without assuming developmental convergence. This last point underscores the meaning of neoclassical sociology, which eschews assumptions of developmental convergence at the global level.
- Wimmer, Andreas. 2009. "Herder's Heritage and the Boundary-making Approach: Studying Ethnicity in Immigrant Societies." Sociological Theory. 27:3 244-270.
- Major paradigms in immigration research, including assimilation theory, multi-culturalism, and ethnic studies, take it for granted that dividing society into ethnic groups is analytically and empirically meaningful because each of these groups is characterized by a specific culture, dense networks of solidarity, and shared identity. Three major revisions of this perspective have been proposed in the comparative ethnicity literature over the past decades, leading to a renewed concern with the emergence and transformation of ethnic boundaries. In immigration research, ``assimilation'' and ``integration'' have been reconceived as potentially reversible, power-driven processes of boundary shifting. After a synthetic summary of the major theoretical propositions of this emerging paradigm, I offer suggestions on how to bring it to fruition in future empirical research. First, major mechanisms and factors influencing the dynamics of ethnic boundary-making are specified, emphasizing the need to disentangle them from other dynamics unrelated to ethnicity. I then discuss a series of promising research designs, most based on nonethnic units of observation and analysis, that allow for a better understanding of these mechanisms and factors.
- 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.''.
- Vandenberghe, Frederic. 2007. "Avatars of the Collective: a Realist Theory of Collective Subjectivities." Sociological Theory. 25:4 295-324.
- Wuthnow, R. 2004. "The Religious Factor Revisited." Sociological Theory. 22:2 205-218.
- Four decades have passed since the publication of Gerhard Lenski's The Religious Factor. While generally regarded as a classic in the sociology of religion, the book has had a curious history, largely because of the interest it generated in differences between Protestants and Catholics. In this paper I provide an alternative reading of The Religious Factor's impact on sociology of religion that points to its larger theoretical implications. I argue that the book should be understood in relation to continuing debates about the classification of religious traditions, differentiation among socioreligious groups, intergroup relations among religious traditions, and friendship ties within religious communities. Through understanding these contributions, the book's legacy as well as continuities and new opportunities in the study of religion can be appreciated.
- Michalski, JH. 2003. "Financial Altruism or Unilateral Resource Exchanges? - Toward a Pure Sociology of Welfare." Sociological Theory. 21:4 341-358.
- 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.
- Corra, M & D Willer. 2002. "The Gatekeeper." Sociological Theory. 20:2 180-207.
- Demerath, L. 2002. "Epistemological Culture Theory: a Micro Theory of the Origin and Maintenance of Culture." Sociological Theory. 20:2 208-226.
- This paper presents a new ``epistemological'' theory of culture that explains how individuals enhance their sense of security in the world by creating and maintaining culture as knowledge of the world. Using cognitive and affective processes previously ignored by culture theorists, the theory posits three dimensions of cultural production: we articulate, typify, and orient our experiences to make their meaningful. The theory asserts that we produce culture because it allows us to,feel as if we understand our world, and to perceive it as ordered; this in turn triggers an aesthetic response of knowledge-based affect. The theory explains how cultural production is motivated by the pursuit of meaningfulness as well as material interests. The theory describes how ail oppressive culture can be reproduced unintentionally, even by the groups it oppresses. The theory also identifies connections between social structure and culture where conditions of ambiguity or control have implications for how meaning can be created.
- Skvoretz, J. 2000. "Looking Backwards Into the Future: Mathematical Sociology Then and Now." Sociological Theory. 18:3 510-517.
- I reflect on the last 30 years of mathematical sociology front my point of view as a student of the field 30 years ago and how, I expected the field to grow and develop. I discuss how the problems and prospects that concerned me 30 years ago are still relevant today. In particular, I elaborate on the intellectual frustrations faced by formal sociologists, the need for nero mathematics to capture serial science insights, the diversity of inquiry and lack of unification in mathematical sociology, and the need for formalists to offer empirically grounded models that appeal to the general reader on the basis of the empirical puzzles they explain.