Contemporary articles citing Gross N (2009) Am Sociol Rev

concept, critical, action, process, provide, pragmatist, understanding, theories, rather, ethnic

Timmermans, Stefan & Iddo Tavory. 2012. "Theory Construction in Qualitative Research: From Grounded Theory to Abductive Analysis." Sociological Theory. 30:3 167-186. Link
A critical pathway for conceptual innovation in the social is the construction of theoretical ideas based on empirical data. Grounded theory has become a leading approach promising the construction of novel theories. Yet grounded theory-based theoretical innovation has been scarce in part because of its commitment to let theories emerge inductively rather than imposing analytic frameworks a priori. We note, along with a long philosophical tradition, that induction does not logically lead to novel theoretical insights. Drawing from the theory of inference, meaning, and action of pragmatist philosopher Charles S. Peirce, we argue that abduction, rather than induction, should be the guiding principle of empirically based theory construction. Abduction refers to a creative inferential process aimed at producing new hypotheses and theories based on surprising research evidence. We propose that abductive analysis arises from actors' social and intellectual positions but can be further aided by careful methodological data analysis. We outline how formal methodological steps enrich abductive analysis through the processes of revisiting, defamiliarization, and alternative casing.

Shiao, Jiannbin, Thomas Bode, Amber Beyer & Daniel Selvig. 2012. "The Genomic Challenge to the Social Construction of Race." Sociological Theory. 30:2 67-88. Link
Recent research on the human genome challenges the basic assumption that human races have no biological basis. In this article, we provide a theoretical synthesis that accepts the existence of genetic clusters consistent with certain racial classifications as well as the validity of the genomic research that has identified the clusters, without diminishing the social character of their context, meaning, production, or consequences. The first part of this article describes the social constructionist account of race as lacking biological reality, its main shortcomings, and our proposed solution: the concept of clinal classes. The second part discusses the character of the group differences that would be consistent with clinal classes and introduces the concept of genomic individualism, which extends an emerging model for understanding biosocial causation to include the genetic effects of ancestry. The third part develops the argument for a ``bounded nature'' reformulation of racial constructionism that reconceptualizes racial and ethnic categorization as the social perception of ancestry. The final part summarizes the article's contributions and outlines implications for future research.

Demetriou, Chares. 2012. "Processual Comparative Sociology: Building on the Approach of Charles Tilly." Sociological Theory. 30:1 51-65. Link
Charles Tilly's work on process analysis offers a methodological approach to comparative-historical sociology that can be considered paradigmatic. Yet the approach has been widely criticized for lack of rigor. This paper maintains that the problem lies in insufficient clarification of the approach's central concept: mechanism. Once scrutinized, the concept reveals a tension between its connotation and its denotation. This can be addressed in two ways: either by maintaining what the concept connotes according to Tilly but limiting what it denotes (thus limiting the paradigm's scope conditions) or by limiting what it connotes and maintaining what it was intended by Tilly to denote (thus maintaining wide scope conditions). Elucidating the possibilities of processual comparison is particularly important for comparative-historical sociology because the subfield rests upon processual presuppositions.

Silver, Daniel. 2011. "The Moodiness of Action." Sociological Theory. 29:3 199-222. Link
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. Link
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.

Fine, Gary. 2010. "The Sociology of the Local: Action and Its Publics." Sociological Theory. 28:4 355-376. Link
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.