Social Mechanisms: An Analytical Approach to Social Theory

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Peter Hedström, Richard Swedberg, Gudmund Hernes
Cambridge University Press, Jan 13, 1998 - Political Science - 340 pages
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The advancement of social theory requires an analytical approach that systematically seeks to explicate the social mechanisms that generate and explain observed associations between events. These essays, written by prominent social scientists, advance criticisms of current trends in social theory and suggest alternative approaches. The mechanism approach calls attention to an intermediary level of analysis in between pure description and story-telling, on the one hand, and grand theorizing and universal social laws, on the other. For social theory to be of use for the working social scientist, it must attain a high level of precision and provide a toolbox from which middle range theories can be constructed.
 

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Contents

Social mechanisms An introductory essay
1
Social mechanisms and social dynamics
32
A plea for mechanisms
45
Real virtuality
74
Concatenations of mechanisms
102
Do economists use social mechanisms to explain?
125
Social mechanisms of dissonance reduction
147
8 Social mechanisms without black boxes
172
9 Is sociological theory too grand for social mechanisms?
204
10 Theoretical mechanisms and the empirical study of social processes
238
Corporations universities and nation states in competitive fields
267
12 Rational imitation
306
AUTHOR INDEX
329
SUBJECT INDEX
334
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