Cover: Foundations of Social Theory, from Harvard University PressCover: Foundations of Social Theory in PAPERBACK

Foundations of Social Theory

Product Details


$50.00 • £43.95 • €45.95

ISBN 9780674312265

Publication Date: 08/19/1998


1014 pages

6-3/8 x 9-1/4 inches

91 line illustrations, 76 tables

Belknap Press


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  • Preface
    • 1. Metatheory: Explanation in Social Science
      • Explanation of the Behavior of Social Systems
      • Components of the Theory
      • Conceptions of the Relations between Micro and Macro Levels
  • I. Elementary Actions and Relations
    • 2. Actors and Resources, Interest and Control
      • The Elements
      • Structures of Action
      • Social Exchange
      • Simple and Complex Relations
    • 3. Rights to Act
      • What Are Rights?
      • How the Free-Rider Problem Is Reduced for Rights
      • How Does New Information Bring About a Change in the Allocation of Rights?
      • How Does a Right Change Hands?
      • Who Are the Relevant Others?
      • How Are Rights Partitioned, and How Might They Be?
    • 4. Authority Relations
      • The Right to Control One’s Own Actions
      • Vesting of Authority
      • Conjoint and Disjoint Authority Relations
      • Transfer of One Right or Two: Simple and Complex Authority Relations
      • Limitations on Authority
      • Slavery
      • Authority without Intentional Exercise
    • 5. Relations of Trust
      • The Placement of Trust
      • Actions of the Trustee
      • Multiple Trustors and Public-Goods Problems
  • II. Structures of Action
    • 6. Systems of Social Exchange
      • What Is Money?
      • Media of Exchange in Social and Political Systems
      • Exchanges within Systems
    • 7. From Authority Relations to Authority Systems
      • The Law of Agency
      • Sympathy and Identification: Affine Agents
      • Simple and Complex Authority Structures
      • The Internal Morality of an Authority System
    • 8. Systems of Trust and Their Dynamic Properties
      • Mutual Trust
      • Intermediaries in Trust
      • Third-Party Trust
      • Large Systems Involving Trust
    • 9. Collective Behavior
      • General Properties of Collective Behavior
      • Escape Panics
      • Bank and Stock Market Panics
      • Acquisitive Crazes
      • Contagious Beliefs
      • Hostile and Expressive Crowds
      • Fads and Fashions
      • Influence Processes in Purchasing Decisions, Voting, and Public Opinion
      • Specific Predictions about Collective Behavior
    • 10. The Demand for Effective Norms
      • Examples of Norms and Sanctions
      • Distinctions among Norms
      • The First Condition: Externalities of Actions and the Demand for a Norm
      • What Constitutes Social Efficiency?
      • Systems of Norms
    • 11. The Realization of Effective Norms
      • An Action-Rights Bank
      • Social Relationships in Support of Sanctions
      • Free Riding and Zeal
      • Heroic versus Incremental Sanctioning
      • How Are Sanctions Applied in Society?
      • Emergence of Norms about Voting
      • Internalization of Norms
    • 12. Social Capital
      • Human Capital and Social Capital
      • Forms of Social Capital
      • Relative Quantities of Social Capital
      • The Public-Good Aspect of Social Capital
      • The Creation, Maintenance, and Destruction of Social Capital
  • III. Corporate Action
    • 13. Constitutions and the Construction of Corporate Actors
      • Norms and Constitutions
      • Positive Social Theory
      • Change in a Disjoint Constitution: American High Schools An Optimal Constitution
      • Who Are the Elementary Actors?
    • 14. The Problem of Social Choice
      • Partitioning of Rights to Indivisible Goods
      • Constitutional Issues in Partitioning Rights to Control Corporate Actions
      • Intellectual Puzzles concerning Social Choice
      • Emergent Processes and Institutions for Social Choice
      • Ethical Theory: How to Determine the Right Action
      • Executive Decision Making
      • Community Decision Making and Conflict
      • Characteristics of Noninstitutionalized Social Choice
    • 15. From Individual Choice to Social Choice
      • The Problem of Independence from Irrelevant Alternatives
      • Tournaments as Institutions for Social Choice
      • Multi-Stage versus Single-Stage Processes for Social Choice
      • The Nature of Rights in Social Choice
    • 16. The Corporate Actor as a System of Action
      • Weberian Bureaucracy in Theory and Practice
      • The Format Organization as a Specification of Transactions
      • Modes of Maintaining Viability in Formal Organizations
      • Explicit and Implicit Constitutions
      • Structures That Link Interest and Control
      • General Principles for Optimizing the Corporate Actor’s Internal Structure
      • The Changing Conception of the Corporation
    • 17. Rights and Corporate Actors
      • Allocation of Corporate Rights and the Public-Goods
      • Problem 451 Exercise and Exchange of Rights
      • The Drift of Power toward Actors Having Usage Rights
      • Withdrawal of Usage Rights through Voice and Exit
    • 18. Revoking Authority
      • Theories of Revolution
      • Comparative Macrosocial Research: Inequality, Economic Development, and Repressiveness
      • Ideology in Revolutions
      • A Theoretical Framework of Revolution
    • 19. The Self
      • Problems Inherent in a Unitary Actor
      • Functional Components of the Self
      • The Dual Role of Interests
      • Processes of Change inside the Actor
      • Corporate Actors’ Changes in Self
  • IV. Modern Society
    • 20. Natural Persons and the New Corporate Actors
      • Individual Sovereignty
      • Changing Conceptions of Sovereignty
      • Emergence of Corporate Actors in Social Organization and Law
      • Examples of Interactions of Natural Persons and Corporate Actors
      • Types of Interactions Involving Corporate Actors and Persons
      • Displacement of Nature by Human Constructions
    • 21. Responsibility of Corporate Actors
      • Responsible Actions of Natural Persons
      • Social Origins of Corporate Responsibility
      • Internal Changes and Corporate Responsibility
      • Tax Laws and Social Norms
      • Free-Rider Problems for Corporate Responsibility
      • Corporate Responsibility in Sum
      • What Conception of the Corporation Is Best for Natural Persons?
    • 22. New Generations in the New Social Structure
      • The Conflict between the Family and the Corporation
      • Distribution of Income to Children in the New Social Structure
      • Consequences of the New Social Structure for Social Capital
      • The Direct Impact of the Two Social Structures on the Next Generation
    • 23. The Relation of Sociology to Social Action in the New Social Structure
      • The Social Role of Social Theory
      • The World of Action and the World of the Discipline
      • The Structure of Society and the Nature of Applied Social Research
      • Applied Social Research and the Theory of Action
      • What Should Applied Social Research Be Like?
      • What Research Is Missing?
    • 24. The New Social Structure and the New Social Science
      • The Replacement of Primordial Social Capital
      • Independent Viability, Global Viability, and Distribution in the New Social Structure
      • Modes of Organizing Action
      • Nation-States versus Multinational Corporations, or Voice versus Exit
      • The New Social Science
  • V. The Mathematics of Social Action
    • 25. The Linear System of Action
      • Two-Person Exchange System with Divisible Goods
      • Restrictions on the Utility Function
      • Beyond a Two-Person System of Action
      • The Competitive Equilibrium and the Linear System of Action
      • Further Derivations and Use of the Model
      • Economic and Psychological Properties of the Utility Function
      • Open Systems
      • Appendix: An Iterative Method tar Solving for r or v Given X and C
    • 26. Empirical Applications
      • Estimation of Value with Perfect-Market Assumptions
      • Estimation of Value When There Are Two Resources and More Than Two Actors
      • Estimation of Value When There Are More Than Two Resources
      • Arbitrary Zero Points for Resources
      • Sampling and the Importance of the Population and Resource Distributions
      • Estimation of Interests
    • 27. Extensions of the Theory
      • A Perfect Social System
      • Psychic Investment
      • Dependence of Events
      • Partitioned Systems of Action
      • Losses in Exchange between Actors and between Resources
    • 28. Trust in a Linear System of Action
      • Introducing Mistrust into a System
      • Lack of Complete Trust in Larger Systems
    • 29. Power, the Micro-to-Macro Transition, and Interpersonal Comparison of Utility
      • Interpersonal Comparison
      • Cardinal Utility
      • Power, through a Market and Otherwise
    • 30. Externalities and Norms in a Linear System of Action
      • When Will Actions Having Externalities Be Taken? The Coase Theorem Revisited
      • Externalities and Level of Affluence
      • What Is Meant by Efficiency?
      • The Rationality of Norms
    • 31. Indivisible Events, Corporate Actors, and Collective Decisions
      • When Will Control of Events Be Collectivized?
      • The Constitutional Stage
      • The Postconstitutional Stage
      • Social Choice by Various Decision Rules
      • Conflict
    • 32. Dynamics of the Linear System of Action
      • Exchange with Two Actors and Two Resources
      • Change in Resources Held by One Actor
      • Movement of a Resource among Actors
      • Logical Constraints on Transition Rates in Pairwise Exchange Systems
      • A Description of the Path of Values: Walrasian Adjustment
      • Dynamics of Systems with Social-Structural Barriers
      • How Do Power of Actors and Values of Events Change?
    • 33. Unstable and Transient Systems of Action
      • Single-Contingency and Double-Contingency Collective Behavior
      • Transfer of Control in Single-Contingency Panics
      • Double-Contingency Panics
      • Evolution of Strategies
    • 34. The Internal Structure of Actors
      • Event Outcomes as Actions of a Corporate Actor
      • Corporate Outcomes and Public-Good Problems
      • The Value of Resources and the Interests of a Corporate Actor
      • Subjective and Objective Interests of a Corporate Actor
      • The Internal Structure of Persons as Actors
  • References
  • Name Index
  • Subject Index

Awards & Accolades

  • 1992 Distinguished Scholarly Book Award, American Sociological Association

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