Structures and Disciplines
As the subtitle of White’s major theoretical work Identity and Control unmistakably suggests, his approach is meant to be a structural theory of social action. On the one hand, there are early signs in the body of his production, indicating clearly the persistence of his preference for structural explanations and his rejection of the kind of analysis that allots individual attributes like sex, age, and so on too much explanatory value and strength. For instance, White (1968: 3–4) explicitly criticizes much of the social sciences — particularly as practiced in the United States – for what he calls “voluntaristic individualism,” that is, for neglecting the constraints of social structures and for building on the assumption that “basic reality is in individuals’ values and choices.” He regards this kind of “individualistic sociology” as a scientific reformulation of common sense or “simply a restatement of [the] folk sociology” that reflects the kind of common notions that permeate the dominant culture.
KeywordsCollective Identity Structural Position Equivalent Actor Multiple Network Strategic Maneuvering
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