Social Theory




Author(s): Alan Shipman

Many of the discontents of 'globalisation' result from the sudden change it inflicts on social norms and economic values. Since these tend to be shaped by people's (and organisations') local environments, widened geographical exposure - through the lifting of regulatory or technological barriers, and cross-border division of labour - can seriously undermine them. These agents may find their relative social position, the financial worth of their activities, the conventions shaping their behaviour, and their interpretations and expectations of events changed or challenged by the new exchange relationships they enter. Globalisation achieves, across space, a similar re-evaluation of action (and revelation of unacknowledged conditions for action) to that produced across time by political and scientific 'revolutions'. Adaptability to shifting reference points has been much theorised at macroscopic level, in debates over 'flexibility' of national economies and 'modernity' of national polities. The micro- foundations, in individual or organisational capacity to adopt (or remain immune from) reference-point shifts, require more study. This paper revives a once influential characterisation of differences in adaptability to reference change - Riesman's tradition-, inner- and other- direction - to account for apparent group and national differences in enthusiasm for (and success in) the present globalisation. In so doing, it aims to clarify concepts of external referencing and norms, considering whether the narrowness of norms and strength of social ties, associated with highly localised communities, are really as incompatible with international political and economic integration as globalisation's critics suggest.




Author(s): Alfonso Pérez-Agote  

In this paper I try to identify some theoretical notions which could be relevant to think about the process of construction of the European Union. In the first part of the paper I stablish several thesis about the relationship between the globalization process and the crisis of the Nation-State: type of this crisis, its facets, globalization as the constitution of an inter-states relationship, conditions for a relative State power revival. The second part is constituted by a set of thesis about the European Union construction process: Europe as a unifying logic, as a new network of out-centered societies, as a new structure of social relationships.




Author(s): Andreas Balog

To define social phenomena one has to refer to practices and attitudes of actors. It is not clear how this can be attained with the concept "society". In fact this concept is used in an ambivalent way. Either "society" is understood as the entirety of all social phenomena (as a rule within a pre-defined territory) or it has to be identified as one specific field or a combination of fields. Because of the uncertainty of its concrete meaning its main function is to legitimize the generalizing interpretation of empirical findings (or sometimes of more diffuse impressions) beyond the range of their aquisition. So, in order to call an example, changes of attitudes concerning special issues are interpreted as changes of "the society" . In my paper I concentrate on two aspects. First, in the context of theory no consistent use of the concept has been established and it refers to heterogenious theoretical problems. Even more problematic is its role in "Zeitdiagnosen", where empirical analysis as well as explanations of social processes are superseded by reference to this fictitous entity.




Author(s): Ann Vogel

Three institutionalisms have been established successfully in the interdisciplinary literature of political sciences & international relations (specifically in empirical comparative policy studies) and sociology: historical, sociological and rational-choice institutionalism. These have been argued as theoretically fruitful but distinctly different and therefore hard to subject to theory synthesis (e.g. by Peter A Hall in 1996). In this paper the problem of (not) synthesizing strands of institutionalisms is discussed in the light of the development of 'yet another institutionalism', i.e. Vivien A Schmidt's 'discursive institutionalism' (developed in her recent book 'The Futures of European Capitalism', 2002). The discussion attempts to clarify three issues: (1) whether there is a methodological justification for this fourth institutionalist theory, (2) how it caters to the further analytic work in the specification of state-economy-society relations, and (3) how the institutionalisms help the comparative research on capitalist systems where framed as part of the globalization debate. It concludes that the fourth institutionalism (Schmidt) can be usefully integrated into the sociological New Institutionalism with the critical re-visiting of the latter's action theory.



The People of God and Their Holy War: Globalisation in Historical Context

Author(s): Arpad Szakolczai  

While most approaches consider globalisation as either being driven by purely economic interests, or as simply a modern version of empire building through warfare, this paper will argue that just as important a role is played by secularised religious concepts. Attention will be devoted to the idea of the 'chosen people', and the type of 'holy wars' which such people were waging, in order to conquer their own land, or to gain mastery over the world. The paper will shortly review five such main historical instances, preparing the scene for modernity: the case of the Hebrews, the rise of Arabic Islam, the Crusades, the Elizabethan Empire, and the case of the United States. In each of the five cases, emphasis will be on the manner in which a strongly anti-imperial ideology eventually creates, through the justification of a holy war, an empire building momentum on its own. The conclusion of the paper will reassess the extent to which the historical context presented helps to better understand the contemporary setting.




Author(s): Barbara Misztal

The main aim of this paper is to reconstruct and evaluate the most prevalent assumptions in the literature about links between collective memory and democracy. It will outline widespread assertions that memory is important for democratic community for three reasons: to achieve its potential, to avoid dangers of the past crimes, and to secure its continuation. These assume that collective memory is the condition of freedom, justice and the stability of democratic order. The paper will confront these assumptions with equally popular counter-propositions arguing that memory presents a threat to democratic community as it can undermine cohesion, increase the costs of cooperation and cause moral damage to civil society by conflating political and ethnic or cultural boundaries. The confusion revealed about and complexity of the relationship between memory and democracy will be firstly explained as stemming from difficulties in addressing such systematically ambiguous terms as democracy and collective memory. These difficulties are further magnified when we view democracy as being more than as a technique for changing the government without violence and when we define collective memory as being more than only passive recollection of the past. Secondly, the controversy is explained by the complexity of the intermediate notions of identity, trauma and ritual that link memory with freedom, justice and the stability of democratic order. In conclusion, it will be argued that what matters for democracy's health is not social remembering per se but the way in which the past is called up and made present.




Author(s): Boris Sivirinov

1. In sociological development of the concept of "social perspective" essential incitement was the perspectivism idea of the famous Spanish philosopher Jose-Ortega-i-Gasset , who considered perspective not only dependent from the subject, but also from that reality, which surrounds the subject. 2. The transcendental meta-reality of social perspective is formed and is organized also on meso- and -macro-social levels, and that " the organizing centre " can be not only individual man, but also any social formation, each of which has "a separate social prospect " (social integrity, organization, government, state). 3. The social perspective " acts, in the end, as social reality field and dynamic potential of social changes and formation of various structures of a society. And as potential " social perspective " acts in synchronic way, i.e. in the form of topological totality of a society (or a separate social phenomenon). 4. Thus, by crossing synchronous - spatial and diachronous temporary lines we have a specific net, or a volumetric field " of social perspective ", in which are connected in a single unit usually discretely considered, social past, present and future, and also subject and object of social reflexion. 5. In sociological concept " social perspective " we have an opportunity not only to see development of social processes in their temporary integrity, in continual connection of past, present and future, but forecast and determine the main ways of social changes.




Author(s): Caroline Gijselinckx  

Now that our society gets a more multi-ethnic character, it is an interesting question which social processes and mechanisms facilitate the reproduction of the old mono-ethnic culture and structure and which facilitate the emergence of a new multi-ethnic one. Or, to put it in Margaret Archer's (1995) terms, we have to look for mechanisms that facilitate social morphostasis (or social reproduction) and social morphogenesis (or social change), especially those mechanisms operating in schools as social institutions in which the seed for societal reproduction and transformation germinates. In order to do so, it is argued that we have to redefine the concept of socialisation. In stead of defining socialisation, in a traditional sociological way, as the process of transmision, in wich only reproduction of the existing mono-ethnic culture and structure(s) can be conceptualised, we should redefine it, in a Simmelian way, as the multiple processes of the development of social relationships and social groups. This way, we can take into account the possibilities of cultural and structural renewal in the daily actions and practices of the actors involved, as well as the structural and cultural conditions under which actors exercise their agency. So we can take a look at whether and how new forms of multi-ethnic social relationships and concommittant structural and cultural schemes are formed, which mechanisms facilitate these processes and which counteract them.




Author(s): Christos Nikolaou and Nikos Papadakis 

Context, values, politics and the stake of the new partnership between University and "Society at Large"

Late modernity is characterized, inter allia, by a significant shift of the relationship between the post-industrial Educational Policy and the employment and social policies. In Europe, the new economic trends (growth development, market economy, globalisation, sustainability, etc.), the domination of new technologies, as well as the construction of the so-called "Knowledge Society", along with the shrinking of the Welfare State in conjunction with the gradual loss of social meaning as to the role of the State, and the - not so rare - dissociation of public education from its social dynamic have redefined the role and the basic components of all the grades of traditional educational systems, including Higher Education. Already since the beginning of the 90s, the apperceptions about Higher Education appear to change and rekindle anew the issue about the economic and social role of Higher Education and its interaction with "Society at Large". In such an context, the limitation of vocational rights and the disengagement or exclusion from the process of carving the educational policy of most social (but not necessarily economic) partners seem to lead § to the fragmentation of interest groups participation and § to the limitation of redistribution, especially at the highest level of the educational system. Education is considered to be an inalienable social good only in its rudimentary form. "Moving" upwards, this is no longer a matter-of-course. Higher education, in much the same way as labour, often tends to become a stake The proposed study focuses on the stake of the new partnership between European Higher Education and "Society at Large". Main topics of the study are: § The contextual parameters of the (under construction) European Higher Education Area (EHEA) and the role of the Knowledge Society and Economy. § The interaction between New Economy- Growth Development and Higher Education Area (facts, trends and dilemmas concerning the influence of such an interaction to the social dimensions of Higher Education). § Conceptual and definitional issues regarding the conception of higher education as a public good. § The politics of the counter-arguments and the role of specific policy coalitions, economically- oriented ideologies, transnational and international agreements (such as GATS) to the construction of a political discourse against the conception of higher education as a public good. § A critical reconstuction of the Life-Long Education and the role of human resource development in the construction of the EHEA. In fact the whole study raises and attempts to answer questions such as: § What is the position and the role of an educational policy that wishes to contribute to the moulding of the EHEA, as understood already from the Declaration of the Sorbonne and as the focal point of the Declaration of Bologna and Prague? § How will any new rationality of the University policy handle its relationship with the operational and regulatory dimensions of the field of European Higher Education i. so as to remain relatively autonomous from the new macro-economic aims (in order to avoid "fatal" over-determination), ii. without however overlooking the new rationality of the changes at the core of macro-economic policy (shifting from Keynsianism to Monetarism) and the way in which these define the nature and quality of the changes in the relationship




Author(s): Craig Browne

Critical social theory has been defined as a philosophically informed approach providing empirical diagnoses of the present. The empirical-analytical dimension of such diagnoses is complemented by a normative orientation, which is directed at discerning immanent tendencies towards emancipatory or democratising forms of social change. However, the extent to which critical theory is able to incorporate aspects of other representative formulations of the contemporary period without weakening its distinctive normative orientation is an open question. This theoretical dilemma applies not only to postmodernist understandings of the present, but in a different vein to arguments which superficially appear more sympathetic to the critical theory's orientation, like the risk society thesis and the analysis of globalization. My paper examines the manner in which the logics of alternative perspectives on the present are at variance with that of an immanent critique. Likewise, it considers how the original critical theory methodology has been transformed, although it is found that immanent critique cannot be totally discarded without undermining the entire critical theory project. It will be argued on this basis that Habermas' later theory foregoes aspects of the standpoint of critique, yet still preserves the idea of an immanent potential for democratisation. Even so, my paper will suggest that some of critical theory's synthetic aspirations persist in contemporary attempts to reconcile conceptions of positive liberty and social justice.




Author(s): Daniel Chernilo 

In its effort to understand our current historical condition, sociology should reflect on the relationship between society and nation-states: sociology's theoretical tools have to be related to the historical formations upon which these tools are applied. This paper argues that a societal perspective in sociology encompasses three moments: the formation of a canon, the definition of an object (society) and the formulation of epochal diagnoses. The underlying claim is that the concept of society plays a regulative role in this societal perspective, as society links the formation of the canon to different epochal diagnoses. Within this framework, Talcott Parsons' threefold concept of society as social system, modern society and nation-state is critically discussed. Finally, contemporary approaches in which the relationship society - nation-state is not taken for granted are discussed as to show how they do not undermine the relevance of a concept of society for sociology's societal perspective.




Author(s): Dennis Smith

Europe has been remarkably successful in largely overcoming the humiliation cycles that bedevilled the continent for a century and a half after the French Revolution. These cycles of humiliation, revenge and counter-humiliation drew Germany and France into repeated bouts of violence against each other. Meanwhile, repression was met by resentment and resistance leading to still more repression in relations between imperial masters and unwilling servants such as, for example, between Austria and the Czechs or Britain and the Irish. Within the European Union these humiliation cycles have been overcome by a mixture of military pacification, careful diplomacy, cultural influence and institution-building. An important part has been played by the creation of a Europe-wide job market, especially in business and the professions. The 'European experiment' (post 1958) is different from the American experiment (post 1776) and the Soviet experiment (post 1917). The American version emphasised freedom at the expense of security. The Soviet version stressed security (in all senses) at the expense of freedom. The European experiment seeks a balance between freedom and security while at the same time trying to provide citizens with a guarantee of respect and decency (ie freedom from humiliation) that is absent from either the Soviet or the American versions. National traditions, born in a climate of mutual hostility and resentment, have moved towards mutual accommodation. We are beginning to find our common European identity precisely in this shared capacity for compromise and constructive negotiation.




Author(s): Elizabieta Halas  

Social theory contains contributions related to the processes of semiosis. Between the subjective experience of intentional meanings and objectivised structure of meanings there is a sphere of meaningful interactions and collective actions. Arguments are presented that it is possible to integrate symbolic inter-actionist orientation and Durkhemian tradition in the study of social symbolism in the perspective of collective action approach and pragmatism. That allows going beyond the cognitive limitations inherited from phenomenological view on symbolism as manifested in the concepts of P. Berger and T. Luckmann about the social construction of reality. A model for a multidimentional analysis of social symbolism and its functions is proposed.




Author(s): Else Kloppenborg  

The paper evolves around a puzzling feature of the origins and evolution of the European Community. Forerunners of the EU aimed at preventing war by means of intensified co-operation, however exclusively in economic and social affairs. Increasingly, the domains of both inner security and common defence and foreign policy are being framed as crucial domains for the EU to commit itself to. The question arises: what accounts for the silent (r)evolution during which an originally committed, yet minimally politically designed, European Community put high on the agenda, half a century later, the most delicate political questions in terms of their bearings on the national member states' sovereignty? In brief, what accounts for the increased politicisation of the EU? My suggestion is that investigating mechanisms in EU responses to wars, military crises, and terrorism, in brief politically motivated violence, might yield central insights allowing us to comprehend the self-transformational development of the EU. The emergence and evolution of the EU's security agenda could appear as a typical political science topic; the sociological interest stems from the proposed mechanism approach. A mechanism approach implies analysis of the regularities in social processes. Thus the paper examines the EU responses to politically motivated violence, however discrete these responses may seem, with a view to identifying recurrent patterns. More generally, the ambition is to consider whether the social mechanisms, if clearly identifiable in these situations, are isomorphic and thus can be generalised or whether they remain specific to the type of explanandum, that is the politicised security agenda in the EU.




Author(s): Eva Buchinger

Following the theory of social system of N. Luhmann, innovation processes are occurring within and between systems - technical, psychic, interactional, organizational, societal systems. Whereas technical systems are allopoietic (controlled from outside), the others are autopoietic (self-organizing control of reproduction). Based on the autopoiese paradigm anew the question is raised to which extend policy makers can "control", "steer", "regulate" or all together "govern"? Luhmann itself preferred a second-order cybernetic type of answer: "The managing of a system by a part of the same system (...) requires recursive solutions and it implies, above all, the capacity of self-observation on at least two levels: on a level of the total (managed) system, and on the level of the managing part-system." (1990:172) In the case of technological progress the managed unit is the innovation system (i.e. the plurality of innovation networks) and the managing part-system is the political system (i.e. research and technology policy makers). Beyond that it seems that another analytical tool out of this bundle of "evolutionary system" approaches can provide fruitful insights for political innovation governance: coupling! Structural coupling (co-evolution), strict coupling (causal relation, if A than B) and loose coupling are concepts, which explain interactions between autopoietic systems and contribute to the clarification of the concept of resonance. Structural couplings between societal systems relevant for technological innovation are for example research & development (science-economy) or certificates (education-economy). Strict or loose couplings between organizational systems are for example co-operative R&D contracts between firms (economy-economy) or between firms and universities (economy-science) or information & communication technologies (couples potentially all types of systems). The presentation will deal with the possibilities of politics to manage complexity without external intervention and control but on basis of structural, causal and loose coupling.




Author(s): Fernando Aguiar and Andrés de Francisco

Identity is, without doubt, one of the more elusive sociological concepts. There are at lest two ways to tackle the complexities it presents: either to understand identity as mere identification with interests, desires or preferences (e.g. Russel Hardin´s One for All), or to consider it as a primitive concept that cannot always be reduced to preferences or desires. In two different papers (one published in European Journal of Sociology, a critique of Alessandro Pizzorno, and the other unpublished) we have tried to show that when identity is taken as a primitive concept it is difficult to link it directly with social action. Sentences as "I am X [because of that] I do Y" or "Person (group) X does (do) M because he is (they are) Y", very common in sociological analysis of identity, are meaningless if we do not provide microfoundations. Now we would like to take a step further. Even accepting that identity and action are connected through individual preferences and desires, we do not defend a radical individualist-cum-agreggative approach. It is possible to attribute intentions to groups, or we-intentions (Tuomela, Searle), that lead to action and generate collective preferences. Social identity could be understood, in many cases, as an instance of collective, team or group preferences, that are not a simple aggregate of individual preferences. We think that to analyse social identity in terms of group intentions and pereferences is a promising way to face some of the puzzles that identity poses.





Author(s): Francisco Linares Martínez  

This paper sketches an analysis of unintended consequence of social action. The paradigm used for this analysis is game theory because, despite the non-credible assumptions about the rational abilities of social actors, it meets a key requirement to the analysis of unintended consequences: it clearly states which one the actor intended. a division is drawn between consequences which, although unintended, were predictable in game theoretic terms and consequences which were not. the first type (best exemplified by the well known "prisoner's dilemma") arise in social structures which are called "simple", since actors, even if they not personally know each other, are easily able to predict the unintended outcome. I call these consequences "weak unintended consequences". The second type (best exemplified by international relations two level games) arises in social structures which are called "complex", since actors cannot predict the ultimate consequences of a large chain of interconnected actions. I call this second type of consequences "strong unintended consequences". Some examples of both types of consequences are privided.




Author(s): Françoise Reumaux

La réalité donnée, nous a rappelé Max Weber, est ordonnée selon des catégories subjectives, et cet ordre présuppose notre savoir et une valeur de vérité qui lui correspond. Ce rappel wébérien peut introduire l'objet sur lequel j'ai réalisé des recherches interdisciplinaires, la rumeur, à seule fin de m'assurer d'un retour à la sociologie- de façon sans doute paradoxale sur le plan épistémique- par détournement de notions empruntés à d'autres disciplines, ou d'enseignements tirés de leurs travaux sur la rumeur. Ces disciplines qui ont produit, avant la sociologie, des recherches sur la rumeur, sont pour l'essentiel, l'histoire, la psychologie sociale (expérimentaliste), la psychanalyse et l'anthropologie. L'examen de leurs hypothèses puis de leurs thèses m'ont permis, à rebours pourrions-nous dire, de proposer un modèle paradigmatique de la rumeur et des outils opératoires pour son analyse empirique, considéré dans un triple rapport, rapports à l'espace, rapports aux temporalités sociales et rapports aux discours. Ce travail présente donc des modalités de conversion de notions non sociologiques en notions sociologiques et il a permis de mettre en évidence la nature particulière des points de vue qui entrent en ligne de compte dans les singularités des rumeurs, et de tenter une typologie du phénomène que nous considérons , dans l'acception maussienne, de phénomène social total ou de degré zéro de l'instituant. Si l'on admet que la rumeur est une tentative de retour à une démocratie roussseauiste, excluant les corps intermédiaires, ce que le réseau peut ou non confirmer, ce travail théorique peut aider à en examiner les effets et les figures variables, par des ressources sociologiques issues pour une part d'une épistémologie interdisciplinaire.




Author(s): Gilles Verpraet  

To examine the place of temporality inside the contemporary european sociology, a first taxinomic approach tend to classify the differences between the national traditions, between the intellectual traditions (Luhman/Habermas, Giddens / Bourdieu). Beside the leading thematics of interdependance and coordination (Landes, Gurvitch), the analyzis of the 1980/90’s sociological theories of time and socialisation explicite the differentiation and the conjugation of temporalities by the autonomous experience (Luhman, Habermas), by the actors and its processes of constitution (Bourdieu; Beck, Lahire). This review of the cultural and social times inside the social theory induces to question the social shaping of the actor’s constitution, the differentiation and the desorientation inside the biographic institution. Besides the long term history of structure, of institution (Durkeim), of the necessity of coordination, we have to complement the singular history as a disjunctive times such as the disjunctive socialization, such as the biographic institution. Cases studies will be developped in the social worlds, in the social policies.




Author(s): Irene Rafanell  

My research uses Bourdieu's concept of Habitus to explore issues regarding the constitution of social identity. I examine the possibility of discussing a 'sex/gender habitus' and highlight some of the processes by which society constructs and naturalises sex/gender identities. While Bourdieu's concept provides some useful insights into the 'social' nature of our identities, it also presents some analytical shortcomings. These are resolved by the Perfomative Model of Social Institutions, principally developed by Barry Barnes, David Bloor and Martin Kusch. With this presentation I will attempt to show that the Perfomative Model of Social Institutions, with its core notion of the social as a 'collective accomplishment', offers new understanding for the comprehension of social phenomena. My paper will aim to contrast these two Social Constructionist views of the constitution of the self and, by revealing their weaknesses and accomplishments, to suggest new paths of analysis for social theory debates.




Author(s): Janusz Mucha  

Sociology has been often defined as a science of "social relations". At the same time, in the social science encyclopedias there are no entries "social relations" or "relations". Such important fields of social research as sociology of ethnicity, economic sociology, and political sciences are interested (respectively)in "ethnic relations", "industrial relations", and "international relations". There is a very large number of books on these topics, which proves that the concept of social relations is very vital in social science production. However, what is too often missing in the fields mentioned above is the analysis of the very concept of social relations. Therefore, we actually are not sure what the authors mean by ethnic, industrial, international relations. The aim of this presentation is to contribute to the clarification of the concept of "social relations". When dealing with the problematic of social "human") relations, we should face the problem of the ways of conceptualization of similar phenomena. The phenomenon which is the subject of this presentation if often conceptualized in terms of "social interaction". Even if we decide to ignore social psychology, we should take into account at least two interactionist tradictionswithin contemporary sociology: exchange theories broadly understood, and symbolic interactionism. In this text, however, I am interested in stable and relatively durable phenomena and these cannot be reduced to "social exchange". Moreover, the sociology of ethnicity, economic sociology, political sciences and other fields of macrosociology conceptualize their problematic rather interms of "social relations" than in terms of "interaction". In this presentation, I take into account only two classic ideas (out of necessity ignoring many important traditions): those developed by Max Weber and by Florian Znaniecki. I present similarities and differences between them. For me, these two ideas are examples of analytical sociology because of the way the authors constructed the discipline: they looked for concepts referring to elementary units of the social realm and later built out of them, in a systematic way, concepts referring to larger social systems. Weber strongly influenced the tradition of what then became symbolic interactionism, and the ideas of Znaniecki can be treated as a variety of this interactionism. Therefore, both ideas belong to a kind of interpretative sociology which has been looking not only for a subjective sense of social phenomena, but also for the causal explanations. Both were developed more or less at the same time. Both were influenced by Georg Simmel, particularly his "Soziologie". My intention in this presenation is first and foremost the reconstruction of Weber's and Znaniecki's conceptualizations of social relations, and secondly the stressing of ideas which could help analyze relations between social groups on the macro scale.




Author(s): Jochen Dreher

Phenomenological investigations into the theory of the symbol as a life-world phenomenon are rare and rather exceptional. This essay views the concept of the life-world from a subjectivist perspective to understand the interconnection of individual and society, which is established - as I will show - by means of the mechanisms of signs and symbols. The individual experiences the transcendences of the life-world - of space, time, sociality and different spheres of reality - and is able to overcome these transcendences by means of signs and symbols. Signs and symbols are described as appresentational modes which stand for experiences originating in the different spheres of the life-world within the world of everyday life, within which they can be communicated, thereby establishing intersubjectivity. From a phenomenological perspective, a theory of the symbol explains how social entities or collectivities - such as nations, states or religious groups - are symbolically integrated to become components of the individual's life-world. With reference to reflections of Alfred Schutz, Edmund Husserl, Karl Jaspers, Eric Voegelin and Thomas Luckmann, the following systematic analysis develops a theoretical position to describe the symbol as crucial mechanism for establishing the cohesion of the life-world and as central component of constituting the life-world as entity of multiple reality spheres. Communions and social collectivities are constituted of ideas and experiences of realities transcendent to the reality of the everyday life-world. As far as society as such is concerned, the "self-illumination" of society through symbols enables the individual to experience and perceive this society as part of his or her human existence.




Author(s): Juha Klemelä

In this essay a theoretical model of co-operation between actors in different organizational sub-departments is being developed. The model is based on a pluralist and conflict functionalist account of interaction. It can be used to study which factors are crucial for turning a situation with a motivational leaning for conflict into a situation with a motivational basis for co-operation. Actors in different organizational departments are differentiated. They have different roles and belong to various groups (both intra- and extra-organizational) and have different personalities. Some of the actors' actions are rule-guided: they are given by organizational norms and roles. Actors are also seen as having partly diverse interests due to their extra-organizational roles, groups and personalities. Intra-organizational roles can be used as a vehicle to further personal interests. Intra-organizational rules and extra-organizational interests mesh and function as the premises of action. According to pluralism actors solve their conflicts of interest by using power. Power can be seen as a function of dependence. Orientations of dependence are rational, emotional and - unlike in standard rational choice or exchange theory - normative. Norms are partly a vehicle for rationality but also mechanisms of choice sui generis. Dependence is only one of the three components that are being used to differentiate between cases of conflict, co-operation and individualism. The other two components are contact and interests. An example from Finnish local government is used in the essay. The model is yet to be operationalized for empirical research.




Author(s): June Edmunds

By focusing on 'spatial' exclusion, Max Weber's original treatment of social closure neglected 'temporal' exclusion by groups that come after and before other groups. In this paper, we suggest that the concept of social closure can be used to understand relations between cultural generations, in previously unexplored ways. As social closure operates to limit access to influential positions, younger generations must compete with the generations that have consolidated their positions in the social system. Inter-generational relations can therefore be understood in terms of competition over scarce resources. Strategic generations that have successfully established themselves by usurping their predecessors may go on to adopt exclusionary practices towards the next generation, by closing off opportunities. Drawing on Bourdieu's conceptualisation of capital fractions, we suggest that social closure has come to operate along generational rather than class lines. The possession of cultural capital has become more important than the possession of economic capital as a result of the shift from a production-based to a consumption-based economy. These themes are illustrated through a discussion of the 1960s generation, a classic example of a strategic generation. Having gained a monopoly over scarce, prestigious positions, this generation has achieved social closure by acting as 'gatekeepers' to the younger generation. Its successors, generation X, are an emasculated generation, having been denied the resources of its predecessors. A key question now is whether the 1960s generation's hold over cultural and other resources is coming to an end.




Author(s): Justin Cruickshank

Critical realists argue that developing a social ontology to resolve the structure-agency problem is vital to social science research, because all research is held to be informed by ontological assumptions. One of the most important criticisms levelled against critical realism is the claim that its ontology cannot act as an underlabourer because it is too general to be of use for informing empirical research. Attempts to apply this ontology will therefore entail circular arguments as empirical phenomena are simply redescribed to fit the realist terms of reference. This criticism does not furnish the sufficient condition to abandon the critical realist problem situation though. Rather than reject the underlabouring project, it is argued in this paper that social scientists need to develop a domain-specific meta-theory (DSMT), informed by both a general critical realist ontology (as developed by Archer) and an immanent critique of existing research literature on given topics. Whilst many critical realists hold that the general ontology mirrors the essential but hidden features of social reality, the approach argued for here swings the emphasis from such metaphysical commitment to the method of immanent critique. This means that the general meta-theory, as well as DSMTs, are open to conceptual revision in the light of on- going dialogue with alternative perspectives. This enables meta-theories to be deployed in an underlabouring fashion, by avoiding an essentialist appeal to a master-ontology that redescribes the world to fit some general precepts that are held to mirror the key (hidden) features of being.




Author(s): Kalle Haatanen

My initial interest in the issue of liberal democracy and liberal political theory stems from my doctoral dissertation The Paradoxes of Communitarianism in which I studied theoretically and conceptionally the problematics of civic virtues, solidarity, new social movements, neo-Aristotelian approaches to 'solve' modern problems of individualism, and the possibility, or, indeed, impossibility to construct conceptual apparatuses which could give us an accurate view of contingent, non-oppressive communities. The somewhat utopian idea of an 'inoperative community' (e.g. Jean-Luc Nancy) is very challenging indeed - but definitely not a futile one. Is there a possibility to conceptualize modern and liberal communities in such a way that the rigid boundaries and fates of race, gender, social structure, socio-economic background, and nationality could be obsoleted? It is not my intension, however, to claim that these givens play no role at all in the molding of (political) indentities in modern and liberal communities and individuals. On the contrary, their role remains very powerful, and the significance of 'utopian' and 'contingent' (e.g. Richard Rorty) liberal thought lies elsewhere, i.e. in its radical and challenging ability to pose new questions, possibilities and horizons. However, if we take these contingent, relativistic or 'post-modern' arguments for granted, we are bound to face several dilemmas. When agonistic models of democracy are emphasized, we have to deal with the problem of 'ordinary people', i.e. some form of mass culture where citizens do not reach the area of 'politics of recognition' (e.g. Charles Taylor) but remain mere voters or opinion-poll-answerers. This position of 'ordinary people' is something that should be defended, in my point of view, and we should better acknowledge the utopian elements of liberal political communities without any kind of friend - foe -differentiation.




Author(s): Lars Benjaminsen  

In this paper, I take a point of departure in two different theoretical positions, theory of habitus and theory of rational action. I scrutinise the social ontological frameworks of the two approaches with the intention of combining a relational structural approach, as Pierre Bourdieu employs, with a model of the actor based on a cognitivist rationalist position, as Raymond Boudon is exponent of. Thus, I argue in favour of rapprochement and synthesis of these two positions aiming at a continued development of the social ontological frameworks in sociology. The example set is within the field of social mobility and social stratification, where the theory of habitus and the theory of rational action constitute two major approaches. Having this as a platform, I discuss how to develop adequate causal social models to explain patterns of absolute and relative social mobility rates, taken into account the complex interplay of structural changes in the distribution of social positions, changes in inequality and resource distribution and individual choices regarding education in competition for scarce social positions.




Author(s): Lars Kaspersen   

A fundamental problem within social sciences concerns the neglect of violence and warfare as important social forces. Political violence organized by states is rarely discussed. This neglect can among other things be seen as a specific conception of state and society which claims that state and society are constituted by its internal elements. Consequently, the relations and conflicts between states/societies are omitted. A number of thinkers, however, who wrote from the late 19th century (e.g. Oppenheimer, Gumplowitz, Ratzenhofer, Spencer, Mackinder, Hintze or Weber) actually stressed the importance of war and violence as driving forces of societal change. During the last two or three decades these thinkers have inspired more recent historical sociology. the more recent historical 'state sociologists' such as Tilly, Mann, Giddens, downing contribute with many important dimensions of the development of state and the importance of warfare for social change. a number of problems still seem to be present in the works of the new historical sociologists in terms of the key concepts of state and war and some form of social darwinism. This paper argues that a further and more fruitful development of a theory of war, state, and social change can be done by taking a point of departure in the theories of Hegel, Clausewitz and Carl Schmitt.




Author(s): Laurence Ellena

The question of the relationship between social sciences and literature was the subject of many researchs last years : Wolf Lepenies, Clifford Geertz, Jacques Dubois, Catherine Bidou-Zachariasen, Pierre Lassave... This prospect tends to take an important place in the field of the interrogation of social sciences. Our communication will have the aim of examining the logic of the genesis of this reflexion and its theoretical tendencies. Our assumption is that the emergence of these researchs represents a change in the epistemological attitudes of social sciences. We will examin the researchs existing on this point, and study the evolution of their reception. La question des rapports entre sciences sociales et littérature - et plus particulièrement celle des rapports entre représentation fictionnelle, interprétation du monde social et discours sociologique et ethnologique - a fait l'objet de nombreux travaux ces dernières années. On peut se reporter aux travaux de Wolf Lepenies, Clifford Geertz, Jacques Dubois, Catherine Bidou-Zachariasen, Pierre Lassave....) Qu'il s'agisse d'interroger l'écriture de la science, ses modèles d'énonciation, les qualités heuristiques de certaines productions littéraires romanesques - comme celles de Proust en particulier -, cette perspective tend à prendre une place de plus en plus importante dans le champ de l'interrogation réflexive des sciences sociales. Notre communication aura pour objet d'examiner la logique de la genèse de cette réflexion et ses tendances théoriques, en émettant l'hypothèse que l'émergence de ces travaux traduit un changement dans les attitudes épistémologiques des sciences sociales. Nous nous appuierons pour cela d'une part sur l'examen des travaux de recherche existant sur ce point, d'autre part sur l'étude de l'évolution de la réception des ces travaux, à partir des notes critiques publiées à leur propos.

Belloï (L.), La scène proustienne, Proust, Goffman et le théâtre du monde, Paris, Nathan, 1993. Bidou-Zachariasen (C.), " Le jet d'eau d'Hubert Robert, ou Proust analyste de la mobilité sociale ", " Cultures bourgeoises ", Ethnologie française, 1990, n°1, pp. 34-41. - " De la "Maison" au salon. Du rapport entre l'aristocratie et la bourgeoisie dans le roman proustien ", Actes de la Recherche en Sciences Sociales, n° 105, Déc. 1994, pp. 60-70. - Proust sociologue, Paris, Descartes et Cie, pp. 60-70. Coser (L.), Sociology through literature, Englewood Cliffs, Prentice Hall, 1963. Dubois (J.), Pour Albertine, Proust et le sens du social, Paris, Seuil, Liber, 1997. - Les romanciers du réel, Seuil, Essais, Paris, 2000. Grao (F.), " Les discours de fiction. Pour une pertinence heuristique de la littérature ", Revue Méditerranéenne d'Etudes Politiques, IEP d'Aix en Provence et Observatoire du religieux, n°6, " Famille et société ". Lassave (P.), Sciences sociales et littérature, Concurrence, complémentarité, interférences, Paris, PUF, " Sociologie d'aujourd'hui ", 2002. Lepenies (W.), " Hommes de science et écrivains ", Information sur les sciences sociales, vol. 18, n°1, 1979, pp. 45- 58. - Les trois cultures. Entre science et littérature, l'avènement de la sociologie, Paris, éd. de la Maison des Sciences de l'Homme, 1990.




Author(s): Margareta Bertilsson 

The aim of this paper is an attempt to understand a recurrent interest in Peirce´s philosophy from very different strands of modern European thought. Abduction (informed guesses, hypotheses) is at the heart of Peirce´s pragmatism. As a scientific inference, it has a problematic status; it stands in between the logical and the empirical. Peirce´s version of pragmatism has as its sole mission to rescue the philosophical status of abductive inference. Also Umberto Eco has turned to "abduction" as a point of affinity between the detective novel and scientific inquiry. Abduction also figures in contemporary "critical realism". In my paper I seek to compare and contrast different formulations of abduction in order to understand its recurrent force both as regards literary and scientific texts.




Author(s): Maria Gornostaeva 

Contemporaneity makes a man face the problem of finding the sense in situations when nothing is defined. A certain value-meaning co-ordinate system serves as the main condition of social integration, while the majority of social deviations and pathologies owe to the meaning vacuum. Sociological view on the life sense admits its connection with the social behaviour of a man and the influence of social factors on the forming of life sense orientations. The structural psychoanalysis moves forward to answer the question: what is the sense as such? It discloses the deep-laid meaning structures of social interactions, which shape the human society. This includes a specific outlook on the nature of power relationship. What is the basic social relation of domination and subordination founded on? Which is the meaning of the power phenomena and what is the main problem tied up with occupying the power position? The Lacanian theory propounds an approach to these questions that reveals the tight bond of the very concepts of power and meaning. This theory tends to trace their genesis from some zero - pre-historical, pre-social - point and, as well, to discover the general rules of the "power game". The latter is the favourite one in society as every social individual aims at gaining as much power as possible on each social level, either economic and political, family, erotic or any other. However, there are the rules that tie up every player, making the full power inaccessible for a man.




Author(s): Milan Jaros  

The mastery of nature brought about by technological advances weakened the legitimacy of traditional narratives whether religious or political-ideological. Ideology, instead of being a "transcendental" concept (e.g. Marx's "false consciousness"), reduces to "mechanisms" and practices. What is it that - in the absence of traditions - provides models and drivers for current social and cultural practices? This is a question shared among thinkers as different as Jurgen Habermas, Michel Foucault and Niklas Luhmann! It will be argued that the mathematisation of nature has been extended to that of the mind be it in the form of "inscriptions" in the human unconscious. The algorithmic analogies familiar (consciously and unconsciously) from constant exposure to technoscientific procedures gradually fill the vacuum created by the departure of traditional sources of models and drivers of social and cultural dynamics. Repetitions of the attempts to invoke mathematical analogy detach the "model" in which the algorithmic mechanism was grounded from its original form and purpose. The mechanism then acquires a new life of its own, in what Habermas called the "third level of autonomous functional contexts". The question of interest here is not whether the runaway versions of pseudo-mathematical analogy (e.g. mechanical, entropic, self-organisational) are "true" or whether their use in models of social systems is "correct" but what new ways of ordering and specificity of thought and material exchanges they impose.




Author(s): Pablo Navarro

Sociology has always recognized some sort of duplicity in the constitution of the human social being. The notion of homo duplex represents that basic duplicity, which has been approached in different way by authors as diverse as Marx, Durkheim and Mead. The fact that the duplicity in question has been able to originate such dissimilar interpretations, suggests that it hides several layers of complexity. Human societies are complex ecosystems produced and reproduced by means of conscious (inter-)action. On the one hand, they are material realities (which would include natural surroundings and cultural artifacts, as well as human organisms). On the other, they are activated and vivified by means of conscious exchanges. I propose to view that dual constitution in terms of a double duplicity that would relate, redraw and unfold those classical distinctions. This double duplicity would be a result of the fact that social subjectivity nests in social objectivity (by way of material culture); and vice versa, the latter emerges within the former (by way of social norms). Now, our hypercomplex modern societies have developed a third level of ontological duplicity, built on the unintended consequences of human action. To be more precise: on the entanglement between that action and its unintended agential and material consequences. This entanglement would produce a new distinction between "the socialized natural environment" and "the naturalized social environment".



Author(s): Patrick Baert 

This paper introduces and critically analyses Richard Rorty’s neo-pragmatism as a contribution to the philosophy of social sciences. Although Rorty has written little about philosophy of social sciences as such, it is argued that his overall philosophical position has significant ramifications for this subject area. The first part of the paper sets out the implications of Rorty’s neo-pragmatism for various issues in the philosophy of social sciences, for instance, the doctrine of naturalism, the nineteenth century Methodenstreit, the philosophical tenets of Marxism, and the relatively recent wave of post-structuralism. The second part of the paper presents a constructive critique of Rorty’s neo-pragmatist philosophy of social sciences. Although critical of some aspects of Rorty’s argument, it is argued that his stance could provide a base for a fruitful view of social sciences, aiming at enlarging human potentialities rather than representation. 
Keywords: pragmatism, Richard Rorty, Thomas Kuhn, naturalism, hermeneutics, philosophy of social sciences, epistemology, history of the present




Author(s): Psarrou Magdalini

For a long period of time national, racial and social characteristics of small groups of people determined the criteria of the comparison and the classification as well as the formation of the social theories aiming at the understanding of the wider social formations. Of course, the smaller a social community, the easier we can make a diagnosis on the homogeneity in it. This way homogeneity is possible rather in smaller groups of people, while the lack of it appears to be stronger the more the extent of the social formation widens, especially when it tends towards an international level. The importance of the international and the local element in social relations is set off by the expansion of the national borders and the reduction of nationalism. For a long time the national state has been the social area of the development of multiple cultural functions. We suppose that equivalent civilizations and civil behaviors do not really exist in the same society. The central idea for this assumption also starts from the acceptance of another one, which refers to the size level that is required for the identical existence of a civilization and of a social behavior model. On the basis of the above proposals we will attempt to present some modern sociological approaches, which we consider to be important. The analysis focuses on the following categories and the relations between the: culture and civilization, multinational social formation, nationalism and minorities, globalization, cultural behavior and social change.




Author(s): Raf Vanderstraeten

This paper discusses the relevance of the notions of social differentiation and social integration in a theory of social evolution. It devotes particular attention to the relation of modern society to its natural environment ? as it has developed since the second half of the eighteenth century. To describe the basic characteristics of modern society, two levels are distinguished, viz. the structural and the cultural level. According to the late Talcott Parsons, the dominant cultural pattern of modern society is the value pattern of instrumental activism. What is valued in modern society is not passive adjustment to the exigencies of the environment, but increasing the freedom of action within the environment, and ultimately control over the environment. It is no longer adaptation to the environment, but adaptation of the environment to social needs. On the structural level, new patterns of societal differentiation have emerged. According to Niklas Luhmann, the pattern which dominates modern society is one of func-tional differentiation. Function systems impose their particular perspective on the world. The environment is perceived through different lenses (e.g. through a political, legal, economic, educational, or scientific lens), and these different perceptions are often incommensurable. As a consequence, society cannot control its overall impact on the environment. Its structural and cultural characteristics limit its sensitivity vis-à-vis the environment.




Author(s): Ragnvald Kalleberg

In an article on sociology of science Harriet Zuckerman noted that the "seemingly innocent" question at the head of this paper has "been controversial for decades." At the center of the controversy during more than half a century, has been a short article by Robert Merton, "A Note on Science and Democracy." In the paper some of the main criticism is presented, evaluated and (to a large degree) rejected. An alternative discussion of Merton is introduced, based on habermasian theory of coummunication. Merton´s main arguments are "saved" by being reconstructed and defended whithin the context of a "kantian pragmatism" (a la Habermas and Putnam).




Author(s): Ralph Fevre 

The paper presents an innovative framework for the analysis of knowledge and belief systems (for a more detailed explanation see Fevre, 2000). Polysemous social theory uses this framework to identify the category errors (Ryle, 1954) which occur when the right kind of sense is made in the wrong place. A range of secondary concepts are needed to put the ideas of polysemous theory, including 'category error', to use. For example, the distinction between an ersatz morality and an echt morality is the key to identifying a particular kind of category error. The usefulness of such secondary concepts is illustrated by an explanation of the application of the theory to the phenomenon of demoralization. Additional analysis suggests that the creation of an economic morality is a category mistake analogous to seventeenth-century witchcraft. This paper shows how we can recognize when economic rationality is being applied in the wrong place: we need to identify the occasions on which economic rationality takes on a moral tone that it cannot possibly support. Moreover, economic morality exhibits the characteristically shrill and defensive stance of an ersatz morality that betrays a fear of genuine debate. Establishing the distinction between ersatz and echt morality is one of the key tasks facing social theory. The paper concludes that polysemous theory not only helps us to revive social theory in the classic form but also helps to diagnose the current, irresolute condition of social theory.




Author(s): Robert van Krieken  

A number of recent theoretical accounts of law have highlighted the paradoxical nature of the relationship between law and society by suggesting that the legal "system" or "field" is both autonomous from and interdependent with other social sub-systems, institutions, fields and practices. This paper pursues an improved critical understanding of this paradox and the particular position of legal rationality within relations of tension and "agonism" in relation to other, competing, modes of thinking about human behaviour and social institutions. It proceeds against the background of the existing literature on the role of scientific knowledge in legal proceedings, but deals with a different set of concerns, to do with the authority appealed to in the development of judicial reasoning in relation to "hard" cases where the relation between normative and strictly legal arguments is more complex. I will focus on the "social" sciences - in particular, history and anthropology - rather than medicine, information technology, or engineering. The conceptual starting points are, first, Niklas Luhmann's work on the combined normative or operational "closure" and "cognitive openness" of the legal system and, second, Pierre Bourdieu's 1987 essay "The force of law: towards a sociology of the juridical field". The paper will both critically reconstruct the theoretical insights of Luhmann and Bourdieu regarding the internal functioning of the legal system/juridical field, and extend those insights with reference to a variety of particular empirical examples of the role of extra-legal forms of knowledge within the legal system arising from a current research project. The project is beginning with a focus on Australian law, and subsequent stages will develop a comparative analysis incorporating German and Dutch law.




Author(s): Seppo Poutanen

Critical social realism is a holistic research programme that has gathered notable support amongst social scientists over the last fifteen years or so. This variant of realism stresses the centricity of ontology, that is, for critical social realists the first thing to do is to achieve a philosophically correct understanding of the ontological nature of social reality. Upon this understanding, substantial social theory and empirical social research can then be built. Basically, critical social realists divide social reality into three ontological layers or strata, called usually 'real', 'actual' and 'empirical'. The layer named 'real' includes social structures, causal mechanisms and causal powers, and this layer produces all social phenomena ultimately. My point of departure in this paper is the fact that, for critical social realists, social structures, etc, are essentially non-observable in nature. In their efforts to demonstrate that such structures, mechanisms and powers truly exist, critical social realists have, in my opinion, made good use of an argument usually called 'inference to best explanation'. According to this argument, to put it very simply, if we cannot explain some observable phenomenon well without postulating a non-observable entity E, then we have good grounds to believe that E really exists. So-called scientific realists have used the argument quite successfully to prove non-observable natural entities real. However, my aim is to analyse in a detailed way how profound differences between natural and social reality cause serious problems for critical social realists in their use of the argument.




Author(s): Svetlana Babenko

Transformation of the Ukrainian society is influenced by two great waves of transformation. The first one is the wave of global changes that are been making our world global by flows of capital and trade, information and risks, etc. The other one is the wave of the unique process of cardinal shifts from monistic to plural pattern of institutional, structural, value and behavioral systems of post-soviet society. The analysis of the changing nature of community, social networks and the degree of social inequalities are central to understand new patterns of participation in both the established and the more recently created societies in contemporary Europe. These phenomena become very important issue in terms of the European integration and possibilities of post-soviet states entering Europe. Social capital accumulated in social networks is one of the main resource for people in post-soviet societies to survive and to build up their life-course strategies. Informal economy as a basic of contemporary post-soviet society survival is a spread theme for recent study by our native economists and sociologists. But usually social processes which contains the base, framework and consequence of such economic system stays beyond the focus. Therefore, my research is focused on the field of evolving social context and its influence to social capital and then various types of social activity. The main hypothesis is about informal social structures functioning as a base of social order in post-soviet societies and post-communist institutionalization. The research results show that there is a big shift towards informal ties improving and community functions re-interpretation is continuing.




Author(s): Tamara Adamiants

Ecoanthropocentric paradigm of social knowledge elaborated by Russian scientist Tamara Dridze studies the mechanisms and socially significant consequences of interactive exchange between an individual actor and his/her natural, social and cultural environment. This paradigm places primary emphasis not on groups but on individual human actors. The triad " individual actor - environment - interaction between them (it must be noted that communication serves as a basis for this process of interaction)" instead of the triad "group (class) - society - social relations" is in the focus of attention of the scholars sharing this paradigm. Not only results of public practices but also intentions are of theoretical significance. Semio-socio-psychology elaborated within the framework of ecoanthropocentric paradigm offers the possibility of a more comprehensive understanding of the process of social communication. It brings insight to how "key logic elements" of text-messages are processed (interpreted) by human consciousness. Specifically, semio-socio-psychology uses the notion of communicative intention understood as resultant force of motives and goals of communication. Within the framework of the approach under discussion intentions-oriented analysis of text-messages was worked out. This method makes it possible to view any communication act as a structure of communicative-cognitive programs which are unites by the author's intention. By employing this method one can study the structure of any text and the perception of this text by the audience and then can compare the results of these two procedures.

The work in new paradigms offers the possibility of a more comprehensive understanding of the interactive process which are going between individual actor and his/her natural, social and cultural environment and finding the effective proposals for socially oriented management in different spheres of social practice.





Author(s): Tamás Meleghy and Heinz-Jürgen Niedenzu

The heuristic value of the theory of evolution for solving socioscientific problems is widely disputed among sociologists. According to different perspectives the process of evolution is interpreted in different ways: In Spencer's tradition evolution is a natural - dynamic process that was adapted from ontogenetic (primarily embryonic) developments. In Darwin's theory, evolution takes place with logical necessity modelled on variation and selection, but contrary to Spencer, it does not imply a higher stage of development. In contrast the systemic theory of evolution (Riedl) can explain processes which appear to be teleological. In view of a modified or newly emerged quality this theory raises the question: Does the amended or new quality fit into the given structure of unit? In the Darwinian evolution, selection is understood as something external, whereas in the systemic or Riedelian concept of evolution, it is an internal process. In sociology, Norbert Elias interpreted the process of concentration of power in The Process of Civilization as an evolutionary process. However, the driving force behind it is not a law of nature, but a mechanism or algorithm. The paper aims to clarify Elias' understanding of the theory of evolution. It will be shown that (in contrast to the Darwinian model) Spencer's theory of evolution cannot be applied to social analysis. It is only when Elias explains the origin of feudal structures that the external selection becomes relevant, while in the European process of civilization it is the internal process of selection that is used. Our analysis enables deeper insights into the meaning of systemic evolutionary processes for theories of societies.



Author(s): Teresa González de la Fe

The economic, cultural and social changes originated by the information and communication technologies (ITC) are seen as the beginning of a new societal type characterised by intensive apliccation of knowledge and by networks generating new forms of social relations. This new societal type is sometimes called network society, knowledge society, cibersociety or information society. But not only its name is in question, also is questioned its main features, the scope, dimensions and consequences of nowadays social changes. New problems arise for the macrosocial theories as well as the micro ones. The macrosociological approaches -classical sociologists, Talcott Parsons or Manuel Castells- all in the modernization paradigm, need to define the social systems and the causal factors operating in social changes, specially the rol of technological changes. The microsociological approaches explorating the relationships between individual and society need to attend to social determinations of individual behaviour and the new types of selves required in the new social relationships mediated by the ITC, as well as the conflicts and tenssions emerging as a consequence of new demands and attitudes emerged from social changes.




Author(s): Tomc Gregot 

Sociology emerged in the 19. century as a by-product of the metaphoric development of language. When abstract concepts such as 'society' and 'state' evolved, it was only a question of time when someone would conceive of a new science which dealt with these concepts as a legitimate topic of research. Society gained sui generis status in the modern mind and became juxtaposed to the individual as a cognizing being. This is the context which led to the study of social phenomena as separate from biological body (the embodiment of all human action) and from psychology of the individual (internal mental states). The division of the science of man in Western convention has had negative effects on the study of social phenomena and should be transcended. Cognitive science will be the theoretical approach used in an attempt to address biological, mental and collective aspects interacting in the establishment and maintainance of social relations. Possible links with the study of brains, computer models and AI will be reviewed to illustrate how perception of similarity in the environment (physical and biological) leads to cognitive rules (which discern social relations). This relations are then interpreted as community by the individual. Social science of the future will divide into two disciplines: social science as expression of opinion and of formal social science as laboratory research of rules of social interaction.




Author(s): Tony Fitzpatrick 

Having been placed under a variety of economic and social pressures for a number of years the fortunes of social democracy in Europe began to revive in the mid-1990s beneath the heading of the 'New Social Democracy' (NSD), with the American Democratic Party under Bill Clinton being a major influence. The NSD has gone some way to reintroducing social justice onto the political agenda but, by working with the grain of free market capitalism, without being seen as a threat to international investors or middle-income taxpayers. However, by 2001-02 the NSD was encountering an electoral reversal and its prospects looked less bright. This paper argues that the NSD has failed to properly radicalize the tradition of social democracy by being too productivist in orientation, i.e. by being too concerned with growth and employment for their own sake. It proposes that a post-productivist turn in social democracy is therefore warranted in order that a 'life-first' approach to social reform can be more effectively initiated. This would mean incorporating into the heart of social democracy various ideas drawn from debates around feminism, environmentalism and discursive democracy. Elements of these can already be sighted within several European countries. The paper offers arguments and evidence to this effect.




Author(s): Ute Gerhard 

Individualisation is one of the key concepts in sociology, already considered by classical sociologists to analyse various dimensions in the process of modernisation (along with differentiation, rationalisation, democratisation, etc.). Individualisation here describes the historical-social process in the course of which attitudes, values and behaviours increasingly become based on autonomous decision-making. From the beginning sociologists marked these processes accompanying modernity - typified by F. Tönnies as a transformation from 'community' to 'society' - as problematic and risky. The question was raised how social integration could be guaranteed, or how individual interests, egoism or selfishness could be balanced by social norms and values of solidarity (E. Durkheim). In particular, the individualisation and emancipation of women were continually interpreted as a danger to social cohesion and a threat to the very basis of civil society, the family, whereas others have seen women's emancipation and individualisation only as part of an ongoing process, one of the last steps of latecomers into modernity. Against the background of this genuine sociological and classical debate in my contribution I will discuss the individualisation theories of the second or reflexive modernity from a gender perspective. With reference to Ulrich Beck, Anthony Giddens and Norbert Elias I will explore the contradictions, inconsistencies of these theories as well as the potentials of a gendered approach. Especially in Beck's theory women's individualisation as a motor of social transformation is market driven, remains captive to criteria derived from male model of labour market participation, and therefore misunderstands the "double socialisation" of women, their involvement in the doubled context of family and market as impediment. Norbert Elias' approach, in contrast, in his concept of a "society of individuals" underscoring the sociability and mutual dependency of the individual seems to be more open for alternative forms of individualisation that include care and responsibility for others.




Author(s): V.G. Nemirovskiy and S.V. Grishaev

Last decade contemporary theoretical sociology has been developing actively in Russia. New schools and trends are forming, together with the classical concepts, non-classical sociology has also been developing increasingly. In the development of theoretical sociology can be distinguished the following stages: protoclassical, classical and neoclassical, modern, postmodern and universum stage. In fact all the last three stages can be classified as non-classical. Non-classical approaches exactly determine the peculiarities of the present stage in the development of theoretical sociology in Russia. At the present universum stage in the development of sociology the disintegration and the loss of the subject of sociological science, characteristic of postmodern science, are overcome. It should be noted also that from the point of view of universum paradigm the definition of the object and subject of sociology requires a slightly different approach. Beyond any doubt in the very near future Russian sociology will remain multiparadigmatic science: with remaining traditional theoretical approaches, new theoretical schools and trends will continue developing intensively.







Author(s): Veronique Quienne





Author(s): Victor Franchuk   

This paper is an attempt to briefly describe the results of development of the modern theory of the societies (MTS), based on A.Comte's positivism, organismical H.Spencer's ideas, E.Durkheim's doctrine about " the social facts", structural-functionalism by T.Parson's school, A.Bogdanov's principle of "selection of social complexes". The society is seen as the stable social integrity manifesting reasonable behaviour is similar to an alive organism. Thus stability of society is shown in its ability to save the vital values despite of challenges which can be treated as social needs or social problems. Examples of societies in this sense are families, settlements, cities, nations, firms, parties. The reasonable behaviour of society is manifested in its ability to reveal and solve social problems by means of creation and introductions of the appropriate social institutes, social norms and values, innovations, organizational systems and structures, technologies, practices, ideas, knowledge and other samples of public culture (SPC). Object of research of MTS is various types of societies, since primitive and ending modern societies. The main purpose of MTS consists in improving existing societies and designing new ones. The research includes revealing general features of societies, development the adequate conceptual model of functioning society and the pattern of social evolution, and also development of methods of perfecting existing societies and designing new types of societies, including global society. The research argues that: - the societies derive natural, artificial or mixed ways in result of the organizational construction out of the "building material" for creation of societies that is people and SPC; - the society has the unique social mechanism that carry out revealing and solving the social problems, the letter are seen as deviations from social norms. This mechanism does not coincide with a state mechanism, the latter is only evident part of social mechanism; -the social mechanism of society answers each a new challenge, a new social problem with the help of appropriate SPC. Introduction new SPC is accompanied by replacement old ones and process of social development assumes reproduction of public culture and human potential; -the social mechanism of society resulted from long process of social evolution and capable to carry out complex administration-managerial and executive functions; - complication of societies in process of social evolution occurs spasmodicly (not gradually) that caused by the irregular processes assembling, natural selection and disintegration, as well as accumulation and transmission of knowledge.









Author(s): Vladimir Kultygin 

Trying to outline configuration and major parameters of "New Sociology" as it is put in the title of the 6th Conference of the ESA we ought to use prehistory and history of European sociology as the only reliable primary information for such analysis. In order to formulate some future regularities, above all one need to put in order everything that has already taken place. Born in Europe sociology has signified the new quality of social cognition based on empirical verification and statistical rows of data. Hence prehistory of sociology includes not only qualitative but also quantitative characteristics of social knowledge development and must be examined in close connection with the rise of social statistics in various European societies both on national and international levels. Within subdivision of sociology itself on basic classical and contemporary periods there may be singled out particular sub-periods according to particular criteria and concrete events of Europe social and intellectual history. The paper discusses these key criteria and cornerstone events crucial for the development of sociological thought in and outside Europe.




Author(s): Ya-Hsuan Wang   

People in society have a desire to belong to a "community" based on difference from others or similarity to all human. Some people feel "safe" while belonging to similar human things, whereas the other feel "self" while belonging to a particular community distinguished from others. Does the former desire to 'belong' underpin the apparent rhetoric of freedom, and might this leave some people and groups isolated? And does the later desire to 'belong' underpin the invisible boundaries of ethnicity, and might this leave the society split? Both are related to the essence of ethnic recognition--self-consciousness exists only by being recognised (Hegel, 19190, Taylor, 1992). In my paper, I will process the discussion of human demands of ethnic recognition through three perspectives along with some empirical data. Firstly, I will process a philosophical reflection on the limits of ethnic recognition and its near relations such as the concepts of tolerance, respect, sympathy, liking, appreciation and love. The philosophical dialectics may help to understand what sort of space separates a group from other groups and makes it different, derogatorily or appreciatively. Secondly, I will give sociological account by taking some rites of passage as examples of measuring ethnic belonging and critically re-examine its social inclusion or exclusion. The purpose is to know what sort of mechanisms of belonging connects an individual to an ethnic group and what sort of mechanisms of the invisible boundaries we set up between each other. Thirdly, I will account the desire of ethnic recognition to its demand of emotional acceptance and investigate the possibility/impossibility of explaining man outside the limits of his capacity for accepting or denying a given