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HOW CAN WE NAVIGATE SOCIOLOGICAL THEORY?. Society is pictured as an overarching system that works down on individuals and groups to shape the social order. Society is understood as a reality “sui generis” It operates according to its own logic distinct from the will of individuals.

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How can we navigate sociological theory
HOW CAN WE NAVIGATE SOCIOLOGICAL THEORY?

  • Society is pictured as an overarching system that works downon individuals and groups to shape the social order.

  • Society is understood as a reality “sui generis”

  • It operates according to its own logic distinct from the will of individuals.

  • This orientation has assumed different names:

  • Macro

  • Holistic

  • Objectivist

  • Structuralist

  • Collectivist

© 2010 Sage/PineForge All rights reserved


How can we navigate sociological theory1
HOW CAN WE NAVIGATE SOCIOLOGICAL THEORY?

  • Individuals and groups create, re-create, or alter the social order that produces society.

  • This position grants more autonomy to actors

  • As relatively free to reproduce the patterns and routines of social life (i.e., the social order) or transform them.

  • This orientation has several names:

  • Micro

  • Elementarism

  • Subjectivist,

  • Individualist (textbook).

© 2010 Sage/PineForge All rights reserved


Basic theoretical continuum as to the nature of social order
Basic Theoretical Continuum as to the Nature of Social Order

© 2010 Sage/PineForge All rights reserved


How can we navigate sociological theory2
HOW CAN WE NAVIGATE SOCIOLOGICAL THEORY?

  • Regarding the question of action, there are two answers--nonrationaland rational.

  • Action is primarily nonrational when guided by:

  • Values

  • Morals

  • Norms

  • Traditions

  • The quest for meaning

  • Unconscious desires

  • And/or emotional states

  • The rationalist --Individual and group actions are motivated primarily by attempt to maximize rewards while minimizing costs.

© 2010 Sage/PineForge All rights reserved


Basic theoretical continuum as to the nature of social action
Basic Theoretical Continuum as to the Nature of Social Action

© 2010 Sage/PineForge All rights reserved


Theorists basic orientation
Theorists’ Basic Orientation Action

© 2010 Sage/PineForge All rights reserved


How can we navigate sociological theory3
HOW CAN WE NAVIGATE SOCIOLOGICAL THEORY? Action

  • The four cells are identified as:

  • Individual-nonrational

  • Individual-rational

  • Collective-nonrational

  • Collective-rational

  • These four coordinates are “ideal types”

  • Theorists and theories are never “pure.”

© 2010 Sage/PineForge All rights reserved


How can we navigate sociological theory4
HOW CAN WE NAVIGATE SOCIOLOGICAL THEORY? Action

  • This map is something youapply to the theories in order to better analyze and understand them.

  • All of theorists address the questions of order (stability) and action (change).

  • However, they generally do not use these terms in their writing.

© 2010 Sage/PineForge All rights reserved


How can we navigate sociological theory5
HOW CAN WE NAVIGATE SOCIOLOGICAL THEORY? Action

  • These maps enable you to:

  • (1) Recognize general tendencies within each theorist’s work

  • (2) Compare and contrast (and argue about) the general theoretical orientations.

© 2010 Sage/PineForge All rights reserved


How can we navigate sociological theory6
HOW CAN WE NAVIGATE SOCIOLOGICAL THEORY? Action

  • It is essential to remember that this four-cell table is an analytical device

  • Helps us:

  • Understand

  • Compare

  • Contrast theorists

  • It does not mirror or reflect reality

© 2010 Sage/PineForge All rights reserved


Why do people stop at red traffic lights
Why Do People Stop at Red Traffic Lights? Action

© 2010 Sage/PineForge All rights reserved


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