Socioeconomics and the New “Battle of Methods”: Toward a Paradigm Shift?

Originally published in Journal of Behavioral Economics 19 (2), 1990
  • Richard Swedberg


Swedberg traces the history of conflict between “economic man” analysis (largely neoclassical economics) and cultural analysis (largely in sociology) in the social sciences. He focuses particularly on two relatively recent developments: 1) the growing introduction of “economic man” analysis into other social sciences, particularly political science and sociology over the last three decades (a process he labels “economic imperialism”); and 2) Etzioni’s (1988) renewed call for socioeconomics, that is, an orientation toward social science analysis recognizing not only egoistic material motives, but as well motivation arising from recognition of duties toward and/or love of others. Etizoni’s objectives in this regard are similar to those we associated in the introduction of this section with Thompson, Ellis, and Wildavsky (1990) in that he sees rationality employed instrumentally to achieve a range of ends broader than those involving material self-interest.


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© Lane Crothers and Charles Lockhart 2000

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  • Richard Swedberg

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