Guide The Metaphorical Society: An Invitation to Social Theory

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Online Available online. Full view. SAL3 off-campus storage. R54 Available. More options. Find it at other libraries via WorldCat Limited preview. Bibliography Includes bibliographical references p. Summary Over decades and centuries, Rigney here argues, social theorists have variously likened societies to organisms and living systems, to machines, battlefields, legal systems, marketplaces, games, theatrical productions, and discourses.

Most interestingly, Rigney deftly shows how nearly all Western social theories fit with one or more of the metaphors.

He emphasizes a humanistic understanding of society with an emphasis on the creative agency of social actors and communities. The book offers students a rich understanding of social theory, yet it is simultaneously concise and broad ranging, allowing instructors to further pursue detailed exploration of any perspectives they choose. The book aims to demonstrate, how each one is rooted in a broader tradition of thought. The author argues that over decades and centuries, social theorists have variously likened societies to organisms and living systems, to machines, battlefields, legal systems, marketplaces, games, theoretical productions, and discourses.

A chapter on each of these metaphorical traditions explores its historical context and identifies its strengths, limitations, and opportunities for further development. Bibliographic information. Publication date ISBN alk. Browse related items Start at call number: H It is therefore a macro level analysis of society that sees society as an arena of inequality that generates conflict and social change.

Du Bois. This sociological approach doesn't look at how social structures help society to operate, but instead looks at how "social patterns" can cause some people in society to be dominant, and others to be oppressed. Symbolic interaction , often associated with interactionism , phenomenological sociology , dramaturgy , and interpretivism , is a sociological tradition that places emphasis on subjective meanings and the empirical unfolding of social processes, generally accessed through analysis.

Society is nothing more than the shared reality that people construct as they interact with one another.

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This approach sees people interacting in countless settings using symbolic communications to accomplish the tasks at hand. Therefore, society is a complex, ever-changing mosaic of subjective meanings. It is also in this tradition that the radical-empirical approach of Ethnomethodology emerges from the work of Harold Garfinkel. Utilitarianism is often referred to as exchange theory or rational choice theory in the context of sociology. This tradition tends to privilege the agency of individual rational actors and assumes that within interactions individuals always seek to maximize their own self-interest.

As argued by Josh Whitford , rational actors are assumed to have four basic elements, the individual has 1 "a knowledge of alternatives," 2 "a knowledge of, or beliefs about the consequences of the various alternatives," 3 "an ordering of preferences over outcomes," 4 "A decision rule, to select amongst the possible alternatives".

Homans , Peter Blau and Richard Emerson. March and Herbert A. Simon noted that an individual's rationality is bounded by the context or organizational setting. The utilitarian perspective in sociology was, most notably, revitalized in the late 20th century by the work of former ASA president James Coleman. Anomie theory seeks to understand normlessness , where society provides little moral guidance to individuals.

In The Division of Labor in Society , Durkheim described anomie as one result of an inequitable division of labour within the society. Mawson, University of Keele, UK, notes. Critical theory is a lineage of sociological theory, with reference to such groups as the Frankfurt School, that aims to critique and change society and culture, not simply to document and understand it.

Dramaturgy or dramaturgical perspective is a specialized symbolic interactionism paradigm developed by Erving Goffman , seeing life as a performance. As "actors," we have a status, which is the part that we play, where we are given various roles. For instance, a doctor the role , uses instruments like a heart monitor the prop , all the while using medical terms the script , while in his doctor's office the setting. Engaged theory is an approach that seeks to understand the complexity of social life through synthesizing empirical research with more abstract layers of analysis, including analysis of modes of practice, and analysis of basic categories of existence such a time, space, embodiment, and knowledge.

Feminism is a collection of movements aimed at defining, establishing, and defending equal political, economic, and social rights for women. Feminism, from a social conflict perspective, focuses on gender inequality and links sexuality to the domination of women by men. Field theory examines social fields, which are social environments in which competition takes place e.

It is concerned with how individuals construct such fields, with how the fields are structured, and with the effects the field has on people occupying different positions in it. Grounded theory is a systematic methodology in the social sciences involving the generation of theory from data.

Daniel Rigney, The Metaphorical Society an Invitation to Social Theory - PhilPapers

Interpretive sociology is a theoretical perspective based on the work of Max Weber, proposes that social, economic and historical research can never be fully empirical or descriptive as one must always approach it with a conceptual apparatus. Middle range theory is an approach to sociological theorizing aimed at integrating theory and empirical research. It is currently the de facto dominant approach to sociological theory construction, especially in the United States.

Middle range theory starts with an empirical phenomenon as opposed to a broad abstract entity like the social system and abstracts from it to create general statements that can be verified by data. Mathematical theory , also known as formal theory, is the use of mathematics to construct social theories.

Mathematical sociology aims to take sociological theory, which is strong in intuitive content but weak from a formal point of view, and to express it in formal terms. The benefits of this approach include increased clarity and the ability to use mathematics to derive implications of a theory that cannot be arrived at intuitively.

The models typically used in mathematical sociology allow sociologists to understand how predictable local interactions are often able to elicit global patterns of social structure. Positivism is a philosophy developed by Auguste Comte in the middle of the 19th century that stated that the only authentic knowledge is scientific knowledge , and that such knowledge can only come from positive affirmation of theories through strict scientific method. Introspective and intuitional attempts to gain knowledge are rejected. The positivist approach has been a recurrent theme in the history of western thought , from ancient times to the present day.

Network theory is a structural approach to sociology that is most closely associated with the work of Harrison White , who views norms and behaviors as embedded in chains of social relations. Phenomenological sociology is an approach within the field of sociology that aims to reveal what role human awareness plays in the production of social action, social situations and social worlds. In essence, phenomenology is the belief that society is a human construction.

It was originally developed by Edmund Husserl. Post-colonial theory is a post-modern approach that consists of the reactions to and the analysis of colonialism. Postmodernism is a theoretical perspective approach that criticises modernism , instead adhering to anti-theory and anti-method, and has a great mistrust of grand theories and ideologies.

Due to human subjectivity, theorists believe that discovering the objective truth is impossible or unachievable. A post-modern theorist's purpose is to achieve understanding through observation, rather than data collection. This approach uses both micro and macro level analysis. Pure sociology is a theoretical paradigm developed by Donald Black that explains variation in social life with social geometry , that is, locations in social space. A recent extension of this idea is that fluctuations in social space — called social time — are the cause of social conflict.

Rational choice theory models social behavior as the interaction of utility maximizing individuals. Costs are extrinsic, meaning intrinsic values such as feelings of guilt will not be accounted for in the cost to commit a crime. Social constructionism is a sociological theory of knowledge that considers how social phenomena develop in particular social contexts. Socialization theory is an approach to understanding the means by which human infants begin to acquire the skills necessary to perform as a functional member of their society [47] Sociologists use the term socialization to refer to the lifelong social experience by which people develop their human potential and learn culture.

Unlike other living species, humans need socialization within their cultures for survival. Social exchange theory says that the interaction that occurs between people can be partly based on what someone may "gain and lose" by being with others. For example, when people think about who they may date, they'll look to see if the other person will offer just as much or perhaps more than they do.

This can include judging an individual's looks and appearance, or their social status. Thomas theorem refers to situations that are defined as real are real in their consequences. For example, a teacher who believes a certain student to be intellectually gifted may well encourage exceptional academic performance. Physical traits do not distinguish criminals from non criminals, but genetic factors together with environmental factors are strong predictors of adult crime and violence. Sociologists have developed various theories about social movements [Kendall, ]. Chronologically by approximate date of origin they include:.

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Further information: History of sociology. Main articles: Objectivity science , Objectivity philosophy , and Subjectivity. Main article: Structure and agency. Main article: Structural functionalism. Main article: Conflict theories. Main articles: Symbolic interactionism , Dramaturgy sociology , Interpretive sociology , and Phenomenological sociology. Main articles: Utilitarianism , Rational choice theory , and Exchange theory. Main article: Criminology. Main article: Sociology of scientific knowledge. Main article: Social movement. Sociology portal.

Sociology, 7th Canadian Edition. Robert Keel. Retrieved 29 February Calhoun Classical sociological theory.

The Metaphorical Society: An Invitation to Social Theory

Retrieved 2 March Contemporary social and sociological theory: visualizing social worlds. Pine Forge Press. Archived from the original on 18 June Perspectives , 28 2 , p.

Major Sociological Paradigms: Crash Course Sociology #2

The Constitution of Society. California: University of California Press. Oxford University Press.

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