The Study of Society: A Unified Approach


Although a groundswell desire for a truly integrated analysis of the social sciences has been gathering momentum for many years, no book thus far seems to have brought a clearly satisfactory analysis. Some success has been achieved in bringing a multidisciplinary approach to bear on particular problems. But in most broader-based approaches, political science, sociology, and economics have continued to appear mainly as separate disciplines in books which have little unity beyond the oneness of the binding that holds the pages together.

This book attempts to provide the tightly integrated approach so long overdue. Instead of attempting to "relate" these three core analytical disciplines in a new way, while leaving each more or less intact, it pulls all three disciplines apart, throws their components into a single pile, and then attempts to reconstruct them into a new, single discipline. (The book describes only the new structure, not the process of reaching it.) The change is evident as soon as it is noted that the key analytical concepts in the new structure are transactions and organizations, each with an extremely broad definition, along with the major supporting concepts of transformations, decisions, and communications.

The reconstruction requires many redefinitions. In the process, the definition of every term that has been borrowed from economics, sociology, and political science has been made or selected with awareness of, and (I hope) consistency with, every other term. In short, the main subject matter of the three disciplines is dealt with through a single set of interlocking and mutually consistent concepts, in what might be referred to as a "unitary nomological set." For example, the book contains no section on economics, as such. Instead, "Robinson Crusoe" economics and the theory of the firm appear as key items in analyzing decisions; the market process is seen as one of several techniques of achieving consensus...

Additional information

Publisher: Place of publication:
  • Homewood, IL
Publication year:
  • 1963


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