Contemporary articles citing Wallerstein I (1974) Modern World System
history, institutional, european, very, forms, generally, role, legacies, religious, helps
- 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.
- Steinmetz, G. 2004. "Odious Comparisons: Incommensurability, the Case Study, and ``small N's'' in Sociology." Sociological Theory. 22:3 371-400.
- Case studies and ``small-N comparisons'' have been attacked from two directions, positivist and incommensurabilist. At the same time, some authors have defended small-N comparisons as allowing qualitative researchers to attain a degree of scientificity, yet they also have rejected the case study as merely ``idiographic.'' Practitioners of the case study sometimes agree with these critics, disavowing all claims to scientificity. A related set of disagreements concerns the role and nature of social theory in sociology, which sometimes is described as useless and parasitic and other times as evolving in splendid isolation from empirical research. These three forms of sociological activity-comparative analysis, studies of individual cases, and social theory-are defended here from the standpoint of critical realism. In this article I first reconstruct, in very broad strokes, the dominant epistemological and ontological framework of postwar U.S. sociology. The next two sections discuss several positivist and incommensurabilist criticisms of comparison and case studies. The last two sections propose an understanding of comparison as operating along two dimensions, events and structures, and offer an illustration of the difference and relationship between the two.
- Calhoun, C. 2004. "Gerhard Lenski, Some False Oppositions, and the Religious Factor." Sociological Theory. 22:2 194-204.
- Bergesen, AJ & O Lizardo. 2004. "International Terrorism and the World-system." Sociological Theory. 22:1 38-52.
- Theories of international terrorism are reviewed. It then is noted that waves of terrorism appear in semiperipheral zones of the world-system during pulsations of globalization when the dominant state is in decline. Finally, how these and other factors might combine to suggest a model of terrorism's role in the cyclical undulations of the world-system is suggested.
- Jepperson, RL. 2002. "Political Modernities: Disentangling Two Underlying Dimensions of Institutional Differentiation." Sociological Theory. 20:1 61-85.
- This article recommends that we recover two old contrasts from the history of social thought in order to facilitate the recently renewed discussion of multiple variants of European political modernity. Recovering them greatly aids in clarifying the different ``modernizing'' paths that the European-system polities took during the state-consolidation and nation-building periods of the ``long nineteenth century.'' Specifically, the basic polity forms delineated in this article capture strikingly well the distinctive ``institutional logics'' and political cultures of the Anglo, Nordic, Germanic, and French orbits, legacies enduring through the 1960s and beyond. Clarifying these polity forms also helps in isolating underlying institutional changes occurring in the contemporary (post-World War II) period (current institutional convergence, for example).
- Hopcroft, RL. 2001. "Theoretical Implications of Regional Effects." Sociological Theory. 19:2 145-164.
- Local economic institutions (systems of property rights and rules of land use) influenced the course of economic change in European history, as well as state formation and religious change. In this paper, I outline the theoretical implications of these regional effects. None of our existing macrolevel theories and explanations of the ``rise of the West'' can adequately incorporate them, so I present an alternative theory, based on rational choice premises. Yet the existence of these regional effects also highlights the deficiencies of a rational choice theoretical approach. First, the approach is unable to explain historical contexts, institutional legacies, or the effects of timing, which were vital for outcomes of social change but that lie outside the model itself. Second, although it can be very useful, the model of the actor motivated by material self-interest often proved inadequate in historical situations. Solutions are suggested.
- Goldstone, JA. 2000. "The Rise of the West - or Not? a Revision to Socio-economic History." Sociological Theory. 18:2 175-194.
- The debate over the ``Rise of the West'' has generally been over which factor or factors-cultural, geoographic, or material-in European history led Europe to diverge from the World's pre-industrial civilizations. This article aims to shift the terms of the debate by arguing that there were no causal factors that made Europe's industrialization inevitable or even likely. Rather, most of Europe would not and could not move toward industrialization any more than China or India or Japan. Rather, a very accidental combination of events in the late seventeenth century placed England on a peculiar path, leading to industrialization and constitutional democracy. These accidents included the compromise between the Anglican Church and Dissenters, and between Crown and Parliament, in the settlements of 1689; the adoption of Newtonian science as part of the cosmology of the Anglican Church and its spread to craftsmen and entrepreneurs throughout Britain; and the opportunity to apply the idea of the vacuum and mechanics to solve a particular technical problem: pumping water out of deep mines shafts in or near coal mines. Without these particular accidents of history, there is no reason to believe that Europe would have been more advanced than the leading Asian civilizations of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.
- Meyer, JW & RL Jepperson. 2000. "The ``actors'' of Modern Society: the Cultural Construction of Social Agency." Sociological Theory. 18:1 100-120.
- Much social theory takes for gr anted the core conceit of modern culture, chat modern actors-individuals, organizations, nation states-are authochthonous and natural entities, no longer really embedded ill culture. Accordingly while there is much abstract metatheory about ``actors `` and their ``agency, `` there is arguably little theory about the topic. This article offers direct arguments about how the modern (European, now global) cultural system constructs the modern actor as an authorized agent for various interests via an ongoing relocation into society of agency originally located in transcendental authority or in natural forces environing the social system. We see this authorized agentic capability as an essential feature of what modern theory and culture call an ``actor,'' and one that, when analyzed, helps greatly in explaining a number of otherwise anomalous ol little analyzed features of modern individuals, organizations, and slates. These features include their isomorphism and standardization, their internal decoupling, their extraordinarily complex structuration, and their capacity for prolific collective action.
- Kalberg, S. 1996. "On the Neglect of Weber's Protestant Ethic as a Theoretical Treatise: Demarcating the Parameters of Postwar American Sociological Theory." Sociological Theory. 14:1 49-70.
- Although widely recognized as one of sociology's true classics, Max Weber's The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism has largely failed to influence the development of sociological theory in the United States. Because it has been read almost exclusively as a study of the ``role of ideas'' in economic development, its diverse and multifaceted theoretical contributions generally have been neglected. This study explicitly calls attention to The Protestant Ethic as a theoretical treatise by examining this classic in reference to four major debates in postwar sociological theory in the United States. Moreover, it demarcates an array of major parameters in American theorizing. The conclusion speculates upon the reasons for the strong opposition to The Protestant Ethic's theoretical lessons and argues that a style of theorizing unique to sociology in the United States has erected firm barriers against this classic text.
- SOMERS, MR. 1995. "Whats Political or Cultural About Political-culture and the Public Sphere - Toward an Historical Sociology of Concept-formation." Sociological Theory. 13:2 113-144.
- The English translation of Habermas's The Structural Transformation of the Public Sphere converges with a recent trend toward the revival of the `'political culture concept'' in the social sciences. Surprisingly, Habermas's account of the Western bourgeois public sphere has much in common with the original political culture concept associated with Parsonian modernization theory in the 1950s and 1960s. In both cases, the concept of political culture is used in a way that is neither political nor cultural. Explaining this peculiarity is the central problem addressed in this article and one to follow I hypothesize that this is the case because the concept itself is embedded in an historically constituted political culture (here called a conceptual network)-a structured web of conceptual relationships that combine into Anglo-American citizenship theory. The method of an historical sociology of concept formation is introduced to analyze historically and empirically the internal constraints and dynamics of this conceptual network. The method draws from new work in cultural history and sociology, social studies, and network, narrative, and institutional analysis. This research yields three empirical findings: this conceptual network has a narrative structure, here called the Anglo-American citizenship story; this narrative is grafted onto an epistemology of social naturalism; and these elements combine in a metanarrative that continues to constrain empirical research in political sociology.