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Lecture 9

Lecture 9 March 14.docx

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Matthias Koenig

SOC377H1S- March 14, 2010 Methodological Relationalism – Historical Sociology - Attempt to move beyond distinction of individual and society, which in the beginning was background of forming of sociology as a discipline Readings - Tilly, Charles. 2001. "Mechanisms and political processes." Annual Review of Political Science 4:21-41. - Gould, Roger. 1991. "Multiple Networks and Mobilization in the Paris Commune, 1871." American Sociological Review 56:716-729. » Granovetter- recurrent focus on interactions, atomized view of the individual, characteristic of rational choice actors. The focus on the social environment is overlooked. » Parsons moves beyond atomized view, sees individual as container of internalized norms who drives social action Today- beyond networks, to address macro-sociological outcomes from relational point of view (Rise of capitalism, formation of states, structures of social inequality, democracy) Core argument of today’s class: once we use relational perspective in historical work, goal is to explain relations through relations 1. Continue previous points of network analysis 2. Focus on historical sociology using relational perspective 3. 2 presentations (focus on 2 readings of today) 4. More general explanations of theory and styles of explanation Section 1: Further remarks on Network Analysis » The problem of network dynamics o Network analysis as a method is rather static o Obviously networks change though, how do we explain change of relations? o = Make recourse to individual strategies (trying to understand through individual strategies how social networks change and have dynamic dimension) – problem with this account is that if we take it seriously, we are back to position of methodological individualism because we take macro-sociological outcome which has implications for individuals action by providing constraints and opportunities in the situation (what Hedstrom would call situational mechanisms and part of Granovetter’s weak ties). o Explaining change in network structures: one option would be to focus on how network structure constrains individuals in a moment which pursue strategies and end up in revised network structures but brings us back to position of methodological individualism o Relationalism- can we revise by not going down to individual level? o Social balance argument- argues that you have the forbidden triad and if you have it, the triad in itself has the propensity to change into different forms or variables (one would be having a strong tie network emerging out of triad) – the relational pattern has the propensity to change! o Why is the triad forbidden? o Form of Pattern Rule- action based model o Other forms of network change- Order Rules- examples of vacancy chains, or government hierarchies  Vacancy chains- Harrison White formulated, mobility on labour market explained by vacancies in chains of labour market, so mobility only possible when chain vacancy exists o Hierarchical structures explained through relational processes themselves o Both Order rules and Pattern rules are action-based models (network dynamics explained by focusing on relations and what happens there) distinguished from node based models in which the explanation moves through nodes and not relations which sticks to more individualistic sides.  Examples- theory of homophily, actors have tendency to like similar people or in similar position which has effects on social relations observed  Exogenous explaining relations  Endogenous explaining entire network structure  Edge based model Edge based model vs. Node-based model » Reconsider Granovetter’s argument of “weak ties” – role of “weak ties” for collective action - We have focused on egocentric networks, weak ties at individual level = weak ties can be conceptualized as a resource for individuals, weak ties gives access to valuable indormation - 2 argument in Granovetter’s text which focuses on collective level where weak ties used to explain community organization or collective action = “the existence of weak ties or local bridges allows for better collective mobilization because flow in collective is facilitated and chances of mobilizing common interests is higher” = contribution to not only explaining characteristics of individuals but also contribution to the study of collective action and moves to more “macro” level of analysis, so Granovetter already proposes a line of theorizing later adopted by historical sociologists. 2. Focus on historical sociology using relational perspective » Reminder on field of historical sociology: Historical sociology is a field of research emerging in 70s in North America against linear models of transitional theory (feudal to capitalist societies). The idea here was that there is a master trend we could observe in history, modernization, to which each society would follow, and be multi-dimensional… historical sociologists argue against this theory of modernization and argued variability for transitions of outcomes of regime transitions and thereby focus more on historical contingency and models of explanation that focus more on middle-range theories in which politics and economics explained » Classical contribution to historical sociology has been work on Revolutions (theda scotprose) to compare different historical cases to understand the underlying macro structures that facilitate revolutions to occur, highlighting necessary and sufficient conditions of revolution through Mills comparison of disagreement and agreement. Criticism these accounts lack causal mechanisms and so micro foundations are necessary, rational choice theory were one version of moving to move micro-causal processes that goes beyond macro comparative. Not only rational choice proposed as alternative but also there was a focus on social relations… » Address literature on collective mobilization, role of networks? » Collective Moblization o Can be explained by social networks, evident through Granovetter » What is collective mobilization? = the emergence of protest movements in which suppressed groups of a population articulate protest against oppressors » In theory of collective mobilization, modernization raises expectations, which are not met immediately and therefore experience of relative deprivation and explain people articular protest. Within theories of collective mobilization and social movement, relative deprivation arguments were the starting point developed in 50s and 60s related to modernization theory. » It was quickly found that this was not sufficient and people do not mobilize quickly… so the second argument developed was one called “Resource Mobilization Theory” which in addition to experience of social change, one would assume that groups that end up in forming social
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