Recombining micro/macro: The grammar of theoretical innovation

Krause, Monika. 2013. Recombining micro/macro: The grammar of theoretical innovation. European Journal of Social Theory, 16(2), pp. 139-152. ISSN 1368-4310 [Article]

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Abstract or Description

This article analyses the patterns underlying debates in sociological theory, using the debate surrounding the distinction between ‘micro’ and ‘macro’ as its case. Although – and indeed because – few authors have attempted explicit definition of the distinction, a number of different distinctions have been subsumed under these labels and research has been shaped by packages of assumptions that have gone largely unexamined in their contradictory nature. The article disaggregates the different distinctions that have been associated with the terms ‘micro’ and ‘macro’ and situates theoretical strategies of the past decades in the grammar of oppositions that makes them possible and innovative. Gap-bridging has been the attempt to bring together aspects of the distinction that have been construed as direct opposites; recombination has been the attempt to release certain aspects of the distinction from their association with one side of the divide. Disaggregating the distinction can help us isolate specific theoretical problems for further work, including work that asks how aspects emphasized by different theoretical approaches vary empirically.

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history of sociology, interaction, macro-sociology, micro-sociology, social structure

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1 May 2013Published

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Date Deposited:

24 Jan 2013 10:43

Last Modified:

29 Apr 2020 15:47

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Yes, this version has been peer-reviewed.


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