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Reflexivity and Social Science

Abstract

In social life rationality must be—and generally is—finely tuned to deal with differences in order to make the best of them so that we can achieve individual and collective goals. Some people prefer to speak French, some English; a few people are pianists, but there are many more who like to listen to piano music; some individuals are very good at fixing cars, and enjoy doing it for a living, whereas others have trouble finding the oil reservoir. We map our activities in terms of such differences. In economic realms, in contrast, we have identity of interests—the pursuit of our own particular well-being. The complementarity of social interests helps to limit exploitation and cheating (free-riding) in economic life. But not entirely. This is the analytical problem I pursue in this book.

Keywords

Social Contract Economic Life Social Rationality Collective Goal Economic Realm 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Notes

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    Some of these examples are from Albert O. Hirschman, The Rhetoric of Reaction. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1991.Google Scholar
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    Ernest Gellner, Plough, Sword, and Book. London: Collins Harvil, 1988, p. 175.Google Scholar
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    This is emphasizing a distinction that is generally not made in sociology. For example, Peter M. Blau posits that people seek to adjust conditions and means to achieve ends in social relations and in economic spheres. See his Exchange and Power in Social Life. New York: John Wiley, 1964.Google Scholar
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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1993

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