The Oxford Handbook of Analytical Sociology

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Analytical sociology is a strategy for understanding the social world. It is concerned with explaining important social facts such as network structures, patterns of residential segregation, typical beliefs, cultural tastes, and common ways of acting. It explains such facts by detailing in clear and precise ways the mechanisms through which the social facts were brought about. Making sense of the relationship between micro and macro thus is one of the central concerns of analytical sociology. The approach is a contemporary incarnation of Robert K. Merton's notion of middle-range theory and presents a vision of sociological theory as a tool-box of semi-general theories each of which is adequate for explaining certain types of phenomena. The Handbook brings together some of the most prominent sociologists in the world. Some of the chapters focus on action and interaction as the cogs and wheels of social processes, while others consider the dynamic social processes that these actions and interactions bring about.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"A fundamental reformulation of sociology, with profound implications across the social sciences."—Joshua M. Epstein, Professor of Emergency Medicine, Johns Hopkins University, author of Generative Social Science

"This formidable volume puts on display an impressive array of leading scholars, each grappling with key substantive and methodological topics in contemporary sociology. The chapters provide both a masterful summary of existing research and a valuable roadmap for future investigation."—Donald Green, Professor of Political Science and Director of the Institution for Social and Policy Studies, Yale University

"The Oxford Handbook of Analytical Sociology is a reference work that belongs on every working theorist's desk and not just warehouse in university libraries." —Contemporary Sociology

"The Oxford Handbook of Analytical Sociology represents an important step forward in the development of the analytical sociological research programme because its contributions move beyond earlier meta-theoretical statements to address substantive theoretical and methodological issues central to the discipline.By doing so the volume establishes analytical sociology as one of the more promising alternatives for pursuing a scientific and explanatory sociology."—British Journal of Sociology

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780199215362
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press
  • Publication date: 9/28/2009
  • Series: Oxford Handbooks Series
  • Pages: 800
  • Product dimensions: 6.90 (w) x 9.80 (h) x 2.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Peter Hedström is a Professor of Sociology and Dean of the School of Social Sciences at Singapore Management University, and Official Fellow of Nuffield College, Oxford University. His area of specialization is analytical sociology. He has a special interest in the analysis of complex social networks, particularly analyses seeking to explain how the structure of the networks in which individuals are embedded influence the collective outcomes the individuals bring about.

Peter Bearman is Director of the Lazarsfeld Center for the Social Sciences, the Cole Professor of Social Science, and Co-Director of the Health & Society Scholars Program at Columbia University. A recipient of the NIH Director's Pioneer Award in 2007, Bearman is currently investigating the social determinants of the autism epidemic.

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Table of Contents

List of Figures ix

List of Tables xii

About the Contributors xiv

Part 1 Foundations

1 What is Analytical Sociology All About? An Introductory Essay Peter Hedstrom Peter Bearman 3

2 Analytical Sociology and Theories of the Middle Range Peter Hedstrom Lars Udehn 25

Part 2 Social Cogs and Wheels

3 Emotions Jon Elster 51

4 Beliefs Jens Rydgren 72

5 Preferences Jeremy Freese 94

6 Opportunities Trond Petersen 115

7 Heuristics Daniel G. Goldstein 140

8 Signaling Diego Gambetta 168

9 Norms Jon Elster 195

10 Trust Karen S.Cook Alexandra Gerbasi 218

Part 3 Social Dynamics

11 Social Dynamics from the Bottom Up: Agent-based Models of Social Interaction Michael Macy Andreas Flache 249

12 Segregation Dynamics Elizabeth Bruch Robert Mare 269

13 Self-Fulfilling Prophecies Michael Biggs 294

14 Social Influence: The Puzzling Nature of Success in Cultural Markets Matthew J. Salganik Duncan J. Watts 315

15 The Contagiousness of Divorce Yvonne ÅBerg 342

16 Matching Katherine Stovel Christine Fountain 365

17 Collective Action Delia Baldassarri 391

18 Conditional Choice Meredith Rolfe 419

19 Network Dynamics James Moody 447

20 Threshold Models of Social Influence Duncan J. Watts Peter Dodds 475

21 Time and Scheduling Christopher Winship 498

22 Homophily and the Focused Organization of Ties Scott Feld Bernard Grofman 521

23 Status Joel Podolny Freda Lynn 544

24 Dominance Hierarchies Ivan Chase W. Brent Lindquist 566

25 Conflict Stathis Kalyvas 592

Part 4 Perspectives from Other Fields and Approaches

26 Game Theory Richard Breen 619

27 Experiments Iris Bohnet 639

28 Surveys Hannah Brückner 666

29 Analytic Ethnography DianeVaughan 688

30 Historical Sociology Karen Barkey 712

Name Index 734

Subject Index 751

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