Four Sociological Traditions

By Randall Collins | Go to book overview

automatic; Durkheim and some of his followers went too far in assuming that society is inevitably integrated in almost every situation. Emotional solidarity is a matter of degree, and it is produced by quite observable conditions of physical interaction that make up rituals.

Goffman never succeeded in integrating his earlier theories of interaction rituals in everyday life with his later analysis of frames and talk. But the outline of how they fit together is clear enough. The bedrock of social interaction, the outmost frame around all the laminations of social situation and self-reflexive conversation, is always the physical copresence of people warily attending to each other. This, too, is where the basic ingredients of Durkheimian rituals are found. The talk embedded within becomes in various degrees a sacred object loaded with some emotional significance, large or small, that makes it a symbol for membership in some particular group. Goffman's later analyses give us an enormous range of possible groups of which one can be a member, many of them situational groups of only the most fleeting duration. And this, I would say, is scientific progress. The complexity of social life is slowly being brought into the purview of a general theory of extremely wide application.


NOTES
1.
As a psychologist James does not greatly concern us here, although there are some elements of his psychology that foreshadowed Charles Horton Cooley and George Herbert Mead's theory of the self. James was typical of the early generation of experimental psychologists still working within philosophy departments who combined a description of the physiology of the brain with analyses of various mental functions. James's famous Principles of Psychology ( 1890) thus contains chapters on sight, hearing, attention, memory, habit, instinct, and so on. Among these topics he treats the stream' of consciousness and the self as a center within this stream. One aspect of the self is the Social Self, the "Me" as an image seen from the point of view of others. Here we already have Cooley's discovery, one might exclaim! The judgment would be a little hasty. James's Social Self is only one part of

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Four Sociological Traditions
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Preface v
  • Contents ix
  • Prologue- the Rise of the Social Sciences 3
  • 1- The Conflict Tradition 47
  • Notes 118
  • 2- The Rational/Utilitarian Tradition 121
  • Notes 179
  • 3- The Durkheimian Tradition 181
  • Notes 236
  • 4- The Microinteractionist Tradition 242
  • Notes 289
  • Epilogue 291
  • Bibliography 297
  • Index 311
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