Contemporary articles citing Hedstrom P (1998) Social Mech Anal App
choice, action, approach, collective, distinct, history, process, sociological, rational, ways
- Demetriou, Chares. 2012. "Processual Comparative Sociology: Building on the Approach of Charles Tilly." Sociological Theory. 30:1 51-65.
- 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.
- 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.
- Rydgren, Jens. 2007. "The Power of the Past: a Contribution to a Cognitive Sociology of Ethnic Conflic." Sociological Theory. 25:3 225-244.
- The aim of this article is to demonstrate the ways in which the past matters for ethnic conflict in the present. More specifically, by presenting a sociocognitive approach to the problem, this article sets out to specify macro-micro bridging mechanisms that explain why a history of prior conflict is likely to increase the likelihood that new conflicts will erupt. People's inclination toward simplified and/or invalid (but often useful) inductive reasoning in the form of analogism, and their innate disposition for ordering events in teleological narratives-to which causality is typically attributed-will be of particular interest for this article. The article will also emphasize the ways in which collective memory sites become activated in such belief formation processes. For instance, the memory biases inherent in analogical reasoning often lead people to overestimate the likelihood of future conflict, which may lead them to mobilize in order to defend themselves, and/or to take preemptive action in ways that foment conflict.
- Donabedian, B. 2003. "The Natural Realm of Social Law." Sociological Theory. 21:2 175-190.
- This paper proposes criteria for distinguishing those types of social forms that are susceptible to lawlike explanation from those that are susceptible to interpretive accounts. The main criterion concerns the rankability of choice alternatives. The choice process is modeled as having two subprocesses. The first subprocess is a rational one in which unacceptable decision alternatives are eliminated, reducing the universe of alternatives to the set of interchangeably acceptable options, termed the admissible set. In the second subprocess, an arbitrary choice is made from the admissible set. In rational-choice settings, the admissible set consists of just one element, the optimum. However, this is clearly not the only possibility, as the example of language, with its plurality of interchangeable phonemic options, bears witness. The fundamental concept: At one extreme-the extreme of language-the admissible set is large and the arbitrary-choice subprocess dominates the rational-choice subprocess. At the other extreme-the extreme of rational-choice theory-the admissible set consists of a single element and the rational-choice subprocess dominates the arbitrary-choice subprocess. Social law has its proper home in those territories of human activity where the admissible set. is small; social interpretation has its proper home in those regions where the admissible set is large.
- 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.
- Zafirovski, M. 2000. "The Rational Choice Generalization of Neoclassical Economics Reconsidered: Any Theoretical Legitimation for Economic Imperialism?." Sociological Theory. 18:3 448-471.
- The article reconsiders the generalization of neoclassical economics by modern rational choice theory. Hence, it reexamines the possible theoretical grounds or lack thereof within neoclassical economics for economic imperialism implied in much of rational choice theory. Some indicative instances of rational choice theory's generalization of neoclassical economics are reviewed. The main portion of the article addresses the question as to whether neoclassical economics allows its generalization in rational choice theory and thus legitimizes economic imperialism. Presented are a number of pertinent theoretical reasons why neoclassical economics does not fully justify ifs generalization into rational choice as a general social theory particularly into an over-arching economic approach to social action and society Also discussed are some theoretical implications of the rational choice generalization of neoclassical economics. The main contribution of the article is to defect lack of a strong theoretical rationale in much of neoclassical economics for rational choice theory's manifest or latent economic imperialism.
- Pfaff, S & G Yang. 2001. "Double-edged Rituals and the Symbolic Resources of Collective Action: Political Commemorations and the Mobilization of Protest in 1989." Theory and Society. 30:4 539-589.
- Biggs, M. 2003. "Positive Feedback in Collective Mobilization: the American Strike Wave of 1886." Theory and Society. 32:2 217-254.
- Waves of collective mobilization, when participation increases rapidly and expectations shift dramatically, pose an important puzzle for social science. Such waves, I argue, can only be explained by an endogenous process of ``positive feedback.'' This article identifies two distinct mechanisms - interdependence and inspiration - that generate positive feedback in collective mobilization. It also provides a detailed analysis of one episode: the wave of strikes that swept American cities in May 1886. Although historians and sociologists have suggested various precipitants, these do not account for the magnitude of the upsurge. Focusing on events in Chicago during the months before May, the article provides quantitative and qualitative evidence for positive feedback.
- Mclean, PD. 2004. "Widening Access While Tightening Control: Office-holding, Marriages, and Elite Consolidation in Early Modern Poland." Theory and Society. 33:2 167-212.
- Elites are dynamically emergent and evolving groups, yet their organization at any given time has tremendous implications for the tenor of social life and the probability of historical change. Using data on more than 3,000 Senatorial office-holders and over 3,100 elite marriages in early modern Poland, this article systematically documents changes over time in the structure of the Polish elite between 1500 and 1795 from a ``multiple-networks'' perspective. It measures timing of entry into senatorial ranks, regional integration of the elite, degree of elite dominance, and patterns of overlap between office-holding and marriage networks across four distinct eras in Polish history. Aggregate network patterns reveal a system in the eighteenth century characterized simultaneously by widening political access and increasing super-elite political control. Highlighting these patterns makes better sense of the Polish nobility's distinct cultural practices than do other historical sociological accounts and illuminates the structural basis for Poland's remarkable constitutional moment in the late eighteenth century.
- Swedberg, Richard. 2012. "Theorizing in Sociology and Social Science: Turning to the Context of Discovery." Theory and Society. 41:1 1-40.
- Since World War II methods have advanced very quickly in sociology and social science, while this has not been the case with theory. In this article I suggest that one way of beginning to close the gap between the two is to focus on theorizing rather than on theory. The place where theorizing can be used in the most effective way, I suggest, is in the context of discovery. What needs to be discussed are especially ways for how to develop theory before hypotheses are formulated and tested. To be successful in this, we need to assign an independent place to theorizing and also to develop some basic rules for how to theorize. An attempt is made to formulate such rules; it is also argued that theorizing can only be successful if it is done in close unison with observation in what is called a prestudy. Theorizing has turned into a skill when it is iterative, draws on intuitive ways of thinking, and goes beyond the basic rules for theorizing.