Contemporary articles citing Padgett J (1993) Am J Sociol

action, sociological, evidence, structure, lack, practices, others, systems, modern, why

Fontdevila, Jorge, M. Opazo & Harrison White. 2011. "Order at the Edge of Chaos: Meanings From Netdom Switchings Across Functional Systems." Sociological Theory. 29:3 178-198. Link
The great German theorist Niklas Luhmann argued long ago that meaning is the central construct of sociology. We agree, but our scheme of stochastic processes-evolved over many years as identity and control-argues for switchings of intercalated bits of social network and interpretive domain (i.e., netdom switchings) as the core of meaning processes. We thus challenge Luhmann's central claim that modern society's subsystems are based on communicative self-closure. We assert that there is refuting evidence from sociolinguistics, from how languages are put together and how languages' indexical and reflexive devices (e.g., metapragmatics, heteroglossia, genres) are used in social action. Communication is about managing indexicalities, which entail great ambiguity and openness as they are anchored in myriad netdom switchings across social times and spreads. In contrast, Luhmann's concept of communication revolves around binary codes governed recursively and algorithmically within systems in efforts to reduce complexity from the environment. We conclude that systems closure does not solve the problem of uncertainty in social life. In fact, lack of uncertainty is itself a problem. Order is necessary, but order at the edge of chaos.

DiCicco-Bloom, Benjamin & David Gibson. 2010. "More Than a Game: Sociological Theory From the Theories of Games." Sociological Theory. 28:3 247-271.
Sociologists are fond of game metaphors. However, such metaphors rarely go beyond casual references to generic games. Yet games are little social systems, and each game offers a distinctive perspective on the relationship between rules and constraints, on the one side, and emergent order, on the other. In this article, we examine three games-chess, go, and (Texas hold `em) poker-for sociological insights into contested social arenas such as markets, warfare, politics, and the professions. We describe each game's rules and emergent properties, and then offer a brief theorization of the social world through the ``lens'' of that game. Then we show how a study of the three games advances the sociology of strategy by enriching ideas about skill, position, and strategic dilemma.

Fuhse, Jan. 2009. "The Meaning Structure of Social Networks." Sociological Theory. 27:1 51-73. Link
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.''.

Abbott, A. 2005. "Linked Ecologies: States and Universities as Environments for Professions." Sociological Theory. 23:3 245-274. Link
In this article I generalize ecological theory by developing the notion of separate but linked ecologies. I characterize an ecology by its set of actors, its set of locations, and the relation it involves between these. I then develop two central concepts for the linkage of ecologies: hinges and avatars. The first are issues or strategies that ``work'' in both ecologies at once. The second are attempts to institutionalize in one ecology a copy or colony of an actor in another. The article investigates the first of these concepts using two detailed examples of hinge analysis between the professional and political ecologies. Both concern medical licensing, the first in 19th-century New York and the second in 19th-century England. For the avatar concept, the article analyzes four less detailed cases linking the professional and university ecologies: computer science, criminal justice, clinical psychology, and applied economies.

Berger, J, D Willer & M Zelditch. 2005. "Theory Programs and Theoretical Problems." Sociological Theory. 23:2 127-155. Link
Some sociologists argue that sociological theory does not grow and the reason why it does not grow is that the discipline lacks a core of highly developed, almost universally accepted, paradigms; even worse, because it is reflexive, its criteria of problem and theory choice are so noncognitive that there are no paradigms, hence no progress, in its future. We do not question that sociology lacks a core of almost universally accepted paradigms, nor that highly developed paradigms may be a sufficient condition of theory growth, but we question both that universal acceptance of them is necessary and that sociology has nothing like them. We argue that theoretical research programs-sets of strategies, sets of interrelated theories embodying these strategies, and empirical models interpreting these theories-are sufficient for theoretical growth. An examination of three theoretical research programs in this article shows that they perform some of the same functions for theory growth as, in Kuhn, are performed by paradigms. Sociology may lack a universally accepted core, but there are theoretical research programs in sociology, and therefore already there is theory growth if it is looked for in the right place. Nor is there any warrant for the view that because its criteria of problem and theory choice are inescapably noncognitive, there are no paradigms, hence no progress, in sociology's future. If that were true, not only would sociology lack paradigms, but also theoretical research programs. We conclude from our study that sociology need not wait on the emergence of a universally accepted core. It is sufficient for the growth of theory that it develops further its existing theoretical research programs and that it encourages the creation of new programs.

Tilly, C. 2004. "Observations of Social Processes and Their Formal Representations." Sociological Theory. 22:4 595-602. Link
Distinctions between quantitative and qualitative social science misrepresent the actual choices confronting analysts of observations concerning social processes. Analysts regularly (if not always self-consciously) choose between adopting and a voiding formal representations of social processes. Despite widespread prejudices to the contrary, formalisms are available and helpful for all sorts of social scientific evidence, including those commonly labeled as qualitative. Available formalisms vary in two important regards: (1) from direct to analogical representation of the evidence at hand; and (2) from numerical to topological correspondence between formalism and evidence. Adoption of formalisms facilitates the identification of erroneous arguments, hence the correction of analytic errors and the production of more adequate explanations.

Corra, M & D Willer. 2002. "The Gatekeeper." Sociological Theory. 20:2 180-207. Link

Gibson, DR. 2000. "Seizing the Moment: the Problem of Conversational Agency." Sociological Theory. 18:3 368-382. Link
In conversation, actors face constraints on when they can speak, whom they can address, what they can say, and what they carr safely expect from others by way of cooperation. This is the backdrop against which people pursue their idiosyncratic interests and objectives, success at which constitutes conversational agency. In principle, agency is made possible by the ``looseness'' of conversational constraints. This does not create a clear path for the advancement of personal ends, however, since options are always limited by the context, and success is always contingent upon the cooperation of others. Ultimately, the most agentic people are those who readily exploit imperfect options though this means abandoning the inflexible pursuit of pre-conceived objectives.

ADAMS, J. 1994. "The Familial State - Elite Family Practices and State-making in the Early-modern Netherlands." Theory and Society. 23:4 505-539. Link

Beckert, J. 1996. "What Is Sociological About Economic Sociology? Uncertainty and the Embeddedness of Economic Action." Theory and Society. 25:6 803-840. Link

McLean, PD & JF Padgett. 1997. "Was Florence a Perfectly Competitive Market? Transactional Evidence From the Renaissance." Theory and Society. 26:2-3 209-244. Link

Polletta, F. 1999. "``free Spaces'' in Collective Action." Theory and Society. 28:1 1-38. Link

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. Link
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.

Tarrow, S. 2004. "From Comparative Historical Analysis to ``local Theory'': the Italian City-state Route to the Modern State." Theory and Society. 33:3-4 443-471. Link
Many explanations have been offered for why the dominant city-states of Italy declined, giving way to the larger, national states of Western Europe. Some, like World Systems theorists, have seen the decline of the Italian city-states as the result of the shift of trade from the Mediterranean to the Atlantic, while others, like Richard Lachmann, have focused on institutional arrangements that rendered these systems less resilient when faced by external threats. This article focuses on the relations of local institutions with the interests of capital, and on the role of contentious politics within the city-state that developed as a result of this interaction. Taking as my starting point the comparative historical analysis of statebuilding in the work of Charles Tilly, in Coercion, Capital and European States, the article places contentious politics as a bridge between the Tillian categories of capital-domination and statebuilding, using the case of Florence in the late 14th and early 15th centuries to etch the skeleton of that bridge. With Tilly, I argue that the class interests of the urban elites that were built directly into the mechanisms of city-state politics worked at cross-purposes to the collective requirements of statebuilding. Next, I argue that Tilly pays too little attention to the specificities of the Italian case and gives short shrift to its internal political processes. Finally, I argue that class domination working through institutional conflicts led to periodic outbursts of conflict and built a lack of trust into the structure of governance. I conclude by suggesting why the Italian city-states, at least, were inhibited from taking the nation-state route to the modern world until quite late in their histories.

Sgourev, Stoyan. 2011. "``wall Street'' Meets Wagner: Harnessing Institutional Heterogeneity." Theory and Society. 40:4 385-416. Link
If institutional heterogeneity tends overall to reduce survival chances, it may also persist and be harnessed to good use. This article investigates this ambivalence by looking at how institutional heterogeneity emerges, develops, and survives. An inductive study of the ``Metropolitan Opera'' archives suggests that what enables heterogeneity to survive and to withstand the pressure for homogenization is its inherent potential for ``multivocality.'' The analysis shows how institutional discrepancies were bridged over through an opportunistic, ``multivocal'' action pattern, whereby the organization maneuvered between conflicting institutional demands, seeking to minimize dependence on any single constituency or evaluation principle. Maintaining discretionary options is essential in multi-dimensional space, where ambiguity makes optimization impractical. The trade-off in this action pattern includes remarkable adaptability and operational inefficiencies.

Schneiderhan, Erik. 2011. "Pragmatism and Empirical Sociology: the Case of Jane Addams and Hull-house, 1889-1895." Theory and Society. 40:6 589-617. Link
The theoretical tools bequeathed to us by classical and revival pragmatism offer the potential for informing robust empirical work in sociology. But this potential has yet to be adequately demonstrated. There are a number of strands of pragmatism; this article draws primarily upon Dewey's theory of action to examine Hull-House in its early years. Of particular interest are the practices of Jane Addams and other Hull-House residents. What were they doing to help people and why? An attempt to answer these questions in non-teleological terms forms the empirical basis of the article. This article should provide some support to those historical sociologists who might consider (or already are) taking a pragmatist turn in their work. And, it should strengthen the empirical foundations of pragmatism as an alternative (non-teleological) way to understand social action.

Collins, Randall & Mauro Guillen. 2012. "Mutual Halo Effects in Cultural Production: the Case of Modernist Architecture." Theory and Society. 41:6 527-556. Link
Previous research has suggested that in cultural production fields the concatenation of eminence explains success, defined as influence and innovation. We propose that individuals in fields as diverse as philosophy, literature, mathematics, painting, or architecture gain visibility by cumulating the eminence of others connected to them across and within generations. We draw on interaction ritual chain and social movement theories, and use evidence from the field of modernist architecture, to formulate a model of how networks of very strong ties generate motivations and emotional enthusiasm, change reputations, and form collective movements that over time transform the structure of cultural fields. Because major aesthetic innovations break sharply with older styles, they need very strong group solidarity over a long period of time to propagate a new standard of practice. We propose mutual halo effects, i.e., the reciprocal reinforcement of upstream and downstream prestige on a given individual node, as the key factor accounting for success in a cultural production field. We discuss the relevance of these results for building a model of influence and innovation in cultural production fields in which networks-reshaped by shifting technological, political, and economic conditions-trigger new styles.