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HOW CAN WE NAVIGATE SOCIOLOGICAL THEORY?

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- 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

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- 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

© 2010 Sage/PineForge All rights reserved

- 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

© 2010 Sage/PineForge All rights reserved

© 2010 Sage/PineForge All rights reserved

- 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.”

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- 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.

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- 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

- 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

© 2010 Sage/PineForge All rights reserved