Combining principles of individual rational choice with a sociological conception of collective action, James Coleman recasts social theory in a bold new way. The result is a landmark in sociological theory, capable of describing both stability and change in social systems.
This book provides for the first time a sound theoretical foundation for linking the behavior of individuals to organizational behavior and then to society as a whole. The power of the theory is especially apparent when Coleman analyzes corporate actors, such as large corporations and trade unions. He examines the creation of these institutions, collective decision making, and the processes through which authority is revoked in revolts and revolutions.
Coleman discusses the problems of holding institutions responsible for their actions as well as their incompatibility with the family. He also provides a simple mathematical analysis corresponding to and carrying further the verbal formulations of the theory. Finally, he generates research techniques that will permit quantitative testing of the theory.
From a simple, unified conceptual structure Coleman derives, through elegant chains of reasoning, an encompassing theory of society. It promises to be the most important contribution to social theory since the publication of Talcott Parsons' Structure of Social Action in 1936.
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.
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.
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.
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.
- 1014 pages
- 6-3/8 x 9-1/4 inches
- Belknap Press
Sorry, there was an error adding the item to your shopping bag.
Sorry, your session has expired. Please refresh your browser's tab.