Social Action Systems: Foundation and Synthesis in Sociological Theory

Social Action Systems: Foundation and Synthesis in Sociological Theory

Social Action Systems: Foundation and Synthesis in Sociological Theory

Social Action Systems: Foundation and Synthesis in Sociological Theory

Synopsis

Employing a process philosophical approach, Fararo studies general theoretical sociology as a time-extended tradition with three phases: classical, postclassical, and recent. The author especially focuses on the work of Talcott Parsons and George Homans, two contemporary theorists whose common aspiration was to forge a theoretical foundation for sociology that would serve to unify and integrate all theories growing out of sociological research. Ultimately, the book offers a unique perspective on sociological theory by carefully distinguishing other intellectual orientations from that of general theory.

Excerpt

My hope is that this book will help theoretical sociologists to better understand their own tradition in its classical, postclassical, and recent phases. The book is written in what I call the spirit of unification, emphasizing conceptual foundations and generalized theoretical synthesis. Throughout the book I employ a process orientation that I acquired partly through reading Alfred North Whitehead and other process philosophers, but also through my own efforts to specify the process orientation at the level of theoretical methods and models. Unlike many of my prior publications over the past four decades, this book is largely free of formal representation, even in the final part, in which two recent theoretical strategies are discussed that employ formal methods and models.

I am grateful to Charles Camic for reading and commenting on the first four chapters, and to Victor Meyer Lidz for a close reading and detailed commentary of the entire manuscript. In both cases, and especially the latter, the published version is stronger insofar as I was able to be responsive to their suggestions and concerns. Of course, any remaining deficiencies in this book are my responsibility.

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