- Tapa blanda: 1014 páginas
- Editor: Harvard University Press; Edición: New Ed (2 de noviembre de 1994)
- Idioma: Inglés
- ISBN-10: 0674312260
- ISBN-13: 978-0674312265
- Valoración media de los clientes: Sé el primero en opinar sobre este producto
- Clasificación en los más vendidos de Amazon: nº566.695 en Libros en idiomas extranjeros (Ver el Top 100 en Libros en idiomas extranjeros)
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Foundations of Social Theory (Inglés) Tapa blanda – 2 nov 1994
Descripción del producto
A masterwork. Epic in scope, it is clear, engaging, and forcefully argued. Traditional sociologists will be unable to ignore its bold new agenda for their discipline. And the book will have a lasting impact on economics, political science, psychology, and other disciplines concerned with human behavior...[It] is indeed a fitting capstone to the career of one of this century's most distinguished and creative sociologists. -- Robert H. Frank Journal of Economic Literature A landmark in the history of social theory, combining comprehensive scope with depth and precision of analysis...This is a work which builds upon and deepens virtually all of Coleman's extensive earlier sociological research...This lifetime corpus, culminating now in a theoretical synthesis, assures Coleman a place in the history of sociology on at least an equal level with Weber, Durkheim, and a few others: he is a master of sociological thought...This is a book for our time. Every social scientist will want to read and learn from it. -- Thomas J. Fararo Social Science Quarterly The most important book in social theory in a long time. Coleman demonstrates formally and with numerous examples that a rational choice model of behavior has enormous power in explaining social phenomena. This book will give sociology a strong push in a new direction. -- Gary S. Becker Nobel Laureate, University of Chicago Coleman's study...exhibits some magnificent achievements. The foremost of these is a sophisticated elaboration and extension of the research program of rational choice theory as it applies to corporate actors, both public and private...This is an ambitious, highly intelligent, intellectually honest, and morally uplifting book. If it is true that radical conservatives make the best sociologists, then Coleman certainly fits the bill. -- Robert J. Holton Critical Review
Reseña del editor
This text, one of the most important contributions to social theory in 50 years, puts forth a unified conceptual structure that is capable of describing and quantifying both stability and change in social systems. Well reasoned, this theory also provides a foundation for linking individual, organizational and societal behaviour.Ver Descripción del producto
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Coleman was not known for his theoretical contributions before the appearance of The Foundations of Social Theory in 1990. He apparently worked on this book for two decades, on and off, and it weighs in at more than three pounds and one thousand pages. It was taken quite seriously, and was reviewed in several sociology journals by leading sociologists of the age. Nearly all reviews praised Coleman's ambitious and encyclopedic effort, but most review were bitterly critical of the result. I am not sure Coleman expected otherwise, or cared. Sociology has been in a sad state for decades because of its rejection of the rational actor model, which is the centerpiece of Coleman's book. The critiques are almost wholly centered on Coleman's championing this model, and Coleman surely expected this. I conjecture that he expected his book to inspire a generation of young sociologists to throw off the yoke of traditional sociological anti-rationality prejudice. This did not happen before his death, and I am quite certain that it will not, ever.
Coleman's advocacy of the rational actor model, the centerpiece of economic theory, was courageous and far-sighted, but he imported from economics only one aspect of the model, and the part he imported is wrong. Economists, until the past decade or so, in practice identified rationality with selfishness and the capacity to calculate gains and losses without regard to the well-being of others, moral virtues, or the needs of the larger society. It is precisely this sociopathic conception of rationality that Coleman makes the centerpiece of this book. A reviewer in Theory and Society correctly characterized Coleman's position as "a more viable social theory...would begin from rational choice rather than norms." The idea that social norms and rational choice are alternative hypotheses is about as reasonable as "running on wheels" vs. "running on gasoline" in understanding an automobile. The same reviewer later notes, completely correctly, and completely at odds with Coleman's treatment, that "we cannot evaluate the rationality of an action...apart from the circle of value that has shaped the persons and their relationsips to one another in a given society."
The critique of Coleman by the sociology profession was well-deserved. This book is almost completely wrong-headed. Curiously, Nobel prize-winning economist Gary Becker made his name by applying economic theory to traditional sociological problems, and Becker also assumed rationality included pure selfishness. But unlike Coleman, Becker chose his subject matter very carefully, and his analysis is always both brilliant and cogent. Coleman, by contrast, applies the model willy-nilly to every possible social situation, and the result is at best awkward, and often simply bizarre, such as when Coleman wonders how workers can be talked into doing and believing things that are not in their material self-interest, or why mothers appear to love their children.
For an instance, unlike Becker, Coleman is forced by the nature of his discipline to deal with the natural of socialization, through which individuals are led to internalize important social values, so that they conform to these values purely volitionally, even when there is no chance of being subject to external sanctions. For exampe, many people are generally honest even when no one is looking, so they could easily cheat with impunity. Coleman never does explain why a rational individual would submit to internalization and would not just shrug it off having attained adulthood. Moreover his idea of internalization is that internalized values are psychic constraints on action. That is, people behave prosocially because they would feel guilty if they did not. In fact, the evidence indicates that internalized norms are integrated into the individual's preference function, so people often feel good when they act morally. Indeed, as stressed by virtue philosophers from the time of Aristotle to the present, virtuous people are not crippled by their overactive superegos, but rather are happier and more complete that the sociopaths that populate Coleman's world.
Coleman is clearly inspired by economic theory, but it is not clear he has a serious grasp of the rational actor model. He never references the basic works in this area, those of Savage and di Finetti, and he never bothers to mention that economic rationality is defined as preference consistency and Bayesian updating. Nowhere in the basic theory is it said that people are selfish, are indifferent to social concerns, or that they attempt to maximize anything. There is nothing irrational about voting, loving your alma mater's lacrosse team, or giving to charity. The degree to which sociologists understand the rational actor model that they love to criticize is abysmal, and Coleman merely reinforces the standard sociological prejudices. Coleman's description of the rational actor model is absolutely ripe for caricaturing. "Actors have a single principle of action," he says, "that of acting so as to maximize their realization of interests.'' (p. 37) This sure sounds sociopathic, but in fact the rational actor theory does not say that people act to maximize anything, any more than light rays act to minimize transit time, and an individual's interests can include not only self-regarding goods and services, but altruistic goals and the well-being of others.
Coleman's critics rarely fail to mention that he has no place for culture or symbolic communication in his approach, and they blame this on his reliance on rational action. The critique is certainly correct, but the reason is incorrect. In fact, the rational actor model only makes sense when closely allied with game theory, and Coleman does not use game theory, except for a few examples. Social interactions for Coleman are either dyadic interactions that mimic market exchange, and large-scale behavior based on corporations that control their employees. When we recognize that most social interactions involve strategic interaction based on social norms, and social norms are legitimated and interpreted properly only in the context of a group's cultural traditions and nexus of symbolic meanings, the interaction between rationality, morality, and culture can be properly modeled (see papers and references on my web site, [...] Coleman knows none of this.