intro’d to Dave via this share by Michel:
integral theory of power and agency .. Entitled, The Causal Power of Social Structures
“The problem of structure and agency has been the subject of intense debate in the social sciences for over 100 years. This book offers a new solution. Using a critical realist version of the theory of emergence, Dave ElderVass argues that, instead of ascribing causal significance to an abstract notion of social structure or a monolithic concept of society, we must recognise that it is specific groups of people that have social structural power. Some of these groups are entities with emergent causal powers, distinct from those of human individuals. Yet these powers also depend on the contributions of human individuals, and this book examines the mechanisms through which interactions between human individuals generate the causal powers of some types of social structures. The Causal Power of Social Structures makes particularly important contributions to the theory of human agency and to our understanding of normative institutions.”
Causal Powers Panel (1/3) – Dave Elder Vass on “The Material and the Social” (IACR 2016)
7 min – people are material.. our agency is a consequence of our materiality
8 min – more challenging – 3rd class – things w powers that interact… social entities.. ie: orgs.. things composed of people… social entities then also material
9 min – however.. social things are material.. a diff kind.. relations that structure these things are not directly spacial…because of intentionality.. related to each other in ways that aren’t dependent on physical relation to each other.. ie: have minds… capacity to interact in systematic ways that depend on our intention states and not just our spacial relations to each other..
norms of queueing.. place in queue
12 min – person can be part of diff orgs at same time..
13 min – social things also have non-human material parts.. ie: people parts and material parts
14 min – world is populated very much by these complex entities.. and we as social scientists have often neglected that material aspect of social structure and something we need to pay much more attention to ..
15 min – social is not immaterial.. not separate from material.. social is very much part of material…
2014 – AID seminar: What is real and what is social in social construction? (part 2)
construction is compatible with socialism.. socialism requires constructionism
why even care about social construction.. impossible to understand many social phenom adequately w/o recognizing social construction plays an essential role….
2 min – a subjective ontology… depend on ways in which we collectively conspire to think about them…
conspire.. to destabilize any notion that this process depends on our conscious motivated agreement to it.. very often we may be unknowing..perhaps even unwilling conspirators in construction of our certain social class…
but our de facto acceptance… our de facto backing for certain socially sanctioned way s of thinking/talking/acting.. makes us conspirators none the less in our construction of the social world..
many socially constructed phenom .. important to us all.. ie: money, ..degrees..
4 min – we should care because once we recognize that these things are socially constructed.. it becomes clear they could be constructed differently… ie: more/less oppressive… more/less conducive to human flourishing
what does social … stand for…
5 min – property only exists because we collectively accept that it does.. and that acceptance leads to action/orientations.. that produce our decisions.. about how to act.. what to do.. not to do.. in relation to objects around us..
6 min – these orientations depend 1\ cognitive capacities.. that as far as we know.. currently only possessed by humans 2\ we coordinate those orientation/attitudes w other humans.. ie: not enough for one person to believe property exists.. has to be a group of people that accept this.. a group: a discursive non circle
7 min – this is what is social about social construction.. depends upon groups of human beings interacting in particular ways that depend upon a history of communication/interactions..
8 min – what kinds of things can be socially constructed..
9 min – some things there.. ie: table.. whether we believe it or not..
stuco convos.. alex, trevor, kevin ..
10 min – what is social constructed.. those things that depend on their existence by the way we think/talk about them.. very much a discursive process
11 min – force that lie behind social construction.. processes of interaction.. but also.. powerfully influenced by other major sources of social power.. ie: property today..radically developed… digital property.. with music files.. so notion of property has been discursively reconfigured.. such that.. someone could have a property right on the patents of bits and bites on this gadget… so in this case.. shaped by power of media/state.. et al..
13 min – everything i’ve said so far in support .. is thoroughly compatible with realist understanding of social world.. real causal process in a widely replicated form in which causal influence is exerted by a variety of interactive entities.. people/orgs/non-circles.. each of which has emergent causal powers as consequence of its composition/structure.. outcome of that process is a state of the world in which material entities come to have new properties.. that influence our subsequent actions..
I’m a sociologist who writes about social ontology and the digital economy. Personal capacity etc.
his blog – excerpts from book et al
emergence et al
notes/highlights from – The Causal Power of Social Structure:
ch 1 – intro
..core problem of structure and agency: is there something social that can be causally effective in its own right and not just as a side-effect of the behaviour of individual people?
many apparently structuralist thinkers have been unable or unwilling in practice to dispense with agency and apparently individualist thinkers have been unable or unwilling in practice to dispense with structure…
marx (both): men make their own history, but they do not make it just as they please; they do not make it under circumstances chosen by themselves, but under circumstances directly found, given and transmitted from the past…. w/in constraints do make own history… seems marx was for both structure and agency
durkheim (social): insisted on capacity of individual to resist collective pressures.. in so far as we are solidary with the group and share its life, we are exposed to the influence of collective tendencies.. but so far as we have a distinct personality of our won we rebel against and try to escape them
thinking gabor and a and a – if authenticity threatens attachment.. attachment trumps authenticity
weber (individual): yet most famous work theorises impact of social forces – the protestant ethic and the iron cage of capitalist market – on social behavior
we cannot successfully theorise the social world w/o recognising and reconciling the roles of both structure and agency……
broadly speaking… two alt ways of reconciling the two: structurationist (giddens/bourdieu.. see structure as something that resides at least in part w/in individuals) and post-structurationist (mouzelis/archer insist that two must be understood as analytically distinct.. structure exists outside individuals in some sense) theories..
debate between two schools then… turn primarily on questions of social ontology: the study of what sorts of things exist in the social world and how they relate to each other..
i’ll argue both have something useful.. though in ontological terms i shall come down firmly on side of post-structurationists
drawing on theory of emergence, ..instead of ascribing causal significance to an abstract notion of social structure or a monolithic concept of society , we must recognise that it is specific groups of people that have social structural powers.
as i understand it, the social world is composed of may overlapping and intersecting groups, each of which has the causal power to influence human individuals. but in each case these powers depend on interactions between individual members fo the the group, and this argument thus depends in turn on the claim that human individual themselves also possess causal powers – human agency. social events, then, are produced by the interaction of both structural and agential causal power.
the solution this book offers to problem of structure and agency is built using the concept of emergence… the idea that a thing – sometimes i will say ‘an entity’ or ‘a whole’ – can have properties or capabilities that are not possessed by its parts. .. emergent properties.
ie: like water.. water freezes at zero degrees cent, but hydrogen and oxygen would both be gases at this temp..
distinguishing defn of emergence..
1\ temporal emergence: when we talk about emergence of something in everyday life.. refers to the first appearance of a thing, or its development over a period of time. anything that exists (unless it has always existed) must have emerged at some time in this temporal sense; but this does not necessarily mean that it possesses emergent properties.
2\ emergence in this book:refers to what we might call synchronic emergence, .. a relationship between the properties of a whole and its parts at a particular moment in time
this book develops a relational version of the theory of synchronic emergence.. shows hot it is possible to reconcile two claims that some thinkers have thought to be in tension: claim that a whole possesses a causal power in its own right and claim that we can explain how this causal power works…. reductionist thinkers have argued that if we can explain how a causal power works in terms of lower-level forces, the original power itself becomes redundant to any explanation of its effects. by contrast, i argue in ch 3 that when we explain a causal power, we do not explain it away. emergent powers only exist when the parts concerned are organised in to the type of whole that has these powers and hence they are powers of the whole and not of the parts..
this book argues that there are social entities that possess causal powers, but that these entities are not whole societies…….they are groups of people: people are their parts. … focusing on two kinds of entities: orgs (govt, bank,..) and normative circles (social power that tends to encourage us to conform to any given social norm.. an emergent causal power of a specific social entity, a specific group of people: a normative circle)
… actual events are the outcome of interactions… between a variety of causal powers.
emancipation depends upon explanation…explanation depends upon emergence..
hmm.. not following how explanation is key to emancipation.. grokking perhaps.. but in my head.. explanation isn’t the key out.. isn’t the turtle shell back..
ch 2 – emergence
entity: a persistent whole formed from a set of parts that is structured by the relations between these parts.
emergent property: not possessed by any of the parts individually and that would not be possessed by the full set of parts in the absence of a structuring set of relations between them
the composition of entities by their parts is central to the conception of emergence advanced in this book….
the realisation of an entity’s causal powers may depend on interactions with other entities, but the possession of those powers does not.
what is already in us.. ness
the source of emergence is the organisation of the parts: the maintenance of a stable set of substantial relations between the parts that constitute them into a particular kind of whole.
roger sperry: the emergent properties of the entirety and the laws for its causal interactions are determined by the spacing and timing of the parts as well as by the properties of the parts themselves.
in linking sociology to complexity theory, smith has written: what define such an emergent phenom is that it cannot be understood merely as an aggregative product of the entities or parts of the system but arises through their organization. interaction often yields structures, forms that cannot bey understood through simple linear decomposition of a system into its interacting parts
relational approaches to emergence argue that nigher-level properties are co-occurrent w particular organisations of parts, but also that they can be explained by such organisation..
bertalanffy: the meaning of the somewhat mystical expression – whole is more than sum of parts – is simply that constitutive characteristics are not explainable from the characteristics of isolated parts.. so that they appear as ‘new’ or ’emergent’… if, however, we know total of parts and relations between them.. behaviour of system may be derived from behavior of parts...
how if you see what happens when thing pair up (hydro and oxy for water).. then can explain them.. rather than say whole is greater than sum of parts.. like nothing new came to be.. and diff now.. is that we can explain what happens w two things interact/relate
the claim that societies are composed of relations rather than individuals, however, seems to me to confuse the issue.. ie: natural science… molecules are composed of atoms, but not random unrelated collections of atoms; they exist only as a result of stable and systematically organised inter-relations between the atoms that compose them.
those relations constitute the structure of the molecule, while the parts of the molecule are the atoms themselves…
collier: ‘latticework of relations constitutes the structure of ‘society”….. but it is one thing for latticework of relations to constitute structure (mode of org) and quite another for those relations to be seen as the parts of higher-level wholes..
a related confusion… is claim that relations in themselves are causally efficacious.
of societies/wholes.. not just relations.. but also individuals
relations only have a causal impact when combined with the things that they relate.
relational argument for emergence, then, is that it is because of higher-level entity is composed of a particular stable organisation or configuration of lower-level entities that it may be able to exert causal influence in its own right..
and too.. doesn’t the causal influence depend on the thing being influenced..? or is that part of what you just said..? meaning.. if we are dead.. then yeah.. we’re just part of manufacturing consent ness.. but if we’re woke/awake.. then causal influence also includes whatever is being influenced.. (thinking you might be including this.. but .. huge so saying it via my idio jargon)
it is the way that a set of (1) parts is (2) related to each other at a given point of time that determines the joint effect they have on the world at that moment. emergence, then, is a synchronic relation amongst the parts of an entity that gives the entity as a whole the ability to have a particular (diachronic) causal impact. the relations between whole and its parts is thus a relation of composition, and not of causation.
this process of interaction between the parts may be called the mechanism or generative mechanism that produces the emergent property concerned.
harré/madden: ‘while the power or ability.. is understood by referring to its nature, such reference does not explain away the power’ … to see why, we need what i call the redescription principle: because we have explained the power in terms of a combo – the parts and relations – that exists only when an H (hole) exists, we have not eliminated H from our explanation. the entities that are H’s parts would not have this causal power if they were not organised into an H, hence it is a causal power of H and not of the parts. the lower-level account of H’s powers merely redescribes the whole, which remains implicit in the explanation…
hodgson: explanations in terms of individuals plus relations between them amounts to the intro of social structure alongside individuals in the explanantia
not sure what that is.. but pretty sure that our insistence/addiction/whatever to explanations .. is killing us. not only are they never accurate.. they create an ending.. of being..
e x p l a n a t i a
kim: microstructural property…. but not ontological distinction – only descriptive
causal power (cp) of a thing cannot be eliminatively reduced to a causal power of its ‘microstructural property’ (mp) because the mp just is the thing..
i suggest we can only distinguish this (cp of thing vs cp of whole)..
counterfactually: that its parts would have if they were not organized into such a type of whole, or by seeing similar, or by looking back how behaved before assembled…
any attempted eliminative reduction of an emergent property will suffer from a loss of relevant structure
cannot succeed w/o invoking a particular configuration of lower-level entities as the relevant causal factor, but also cannot do so w/o re-introducing higher-level entity into analysis
bhaskar: intrastructuration (most challenging aspect of theory of emergence developed here) : emergence ‘consists in the formation of one or other of two types of superstructure … super imposition or intra position..
in directly synchronic terms by bunge: P is an emergent property of a thing b is and only if b is a complex thing (system).. no component of which possesses P or, b is an individual that possesses P by virtue of being a component of a system.
bunge argues…. atoms change from when they become parts of aa molecule, rather than simply being held together while retaining previous form…
another ie: human becomes part of org.. and changes as result of adopting role in it
ie: is it finger or person that is pressing keyboard….
counterfactual question: would finger be able to press it not part of whole human
1\ no – because ability to press depends on larger configuration of bones, muscles, et al, that are not part of the finger
2\ both – finger directly and person through the finger (one of its parts)
cannot be empirically but only analytically disentangled… yet using counterfactual method can distinguish between two
goes to people and social structures..
structure acts through person and person implements structure’s causal power
this case more challenging – difficult to conceive of finger w/cp of own.. whereas human individuals, i will argue, both have cps of own and implement cps that belong properly to higher social entities..
origins and defns of emergence…. 20th cent – seeking to find middle of doctrines of vitalism and mechanism in explaining existence of life
[note: took these notes by hand in car first.. prefer the way i can do it by hand..giant hairball style.. rather than these lines of words.. just saying]
vitalism: bodies alive because physical elements combined w/non-physical vital spirit …entelechy… accounted for life..
mechanism: denied existence of any viral spirit.. rather life nothing more than consequence of set of physical parts… and believe.. that eventually will be able to explain this using lower-level laws..
vitalism – extreme ontological dualism
mechanism – species of what we now call reductionism – broad
broad: property of a whole is emergent if cannot be explained from properties of lower level parts and their substantial relations with each other..
in this sense…. property only emergent if no way of providing explanation of how it comes about as result of interaction of lower-level entities/properties..
as not explainable or reductively explainable…
horgan: unexplained explainers… so labeled: strong emergence…
ie: water – nothing we know of individual parts..ie: hydrogen, oxygen would give least reason to expect that it would combine.. at all..
properties of whole composed of two constituents could not have been predicted..
any supposed of this (strong emergence) – however alway s vulnerable to possiblity that (explained) in some future time
a *scientific explanation might be found (happpened for broad’s argument a few years after publication of passage quoted) emergent philosophy as a **whole lost credibility as a result, and despite occasional attempts at revival… remained marginal until 1980s – mclaughline
*and too then… vulnerable to that particular finding …being proven false or whatever…
leading figure in revival – jaegwon kim…. even where explanation don’t currently exist.. tends to be assumed w/in sci would view that ti si owing to gaps in our knowledge rather than inherent unexplainability and phenom conceived…. ie: suitable explanations will be found at some point
on strong emergence – cannot be explaining scientifically…. where relatoiional version – far more useful… one objective if this book – demo that useful ness by applying that concept to social world..
buckley: morphogenesis and morphostasis… for entity to have emergent properties, it first must exist…
morphostasis: each type of entity has its own characteristic set of compositional consistency requirements…
ie: dna to exist must be composed only of certain sorts of molecules w/in this characteristic pattern…. although – huge number of possible variations of arrangement of these molecules w/in their characteristic pattern – certain limits on the form that this pattern may take, which we may call structural range of dna
every diff type of entity has a diff set of such compositional consistency requirements and a corresponding structural range
but can’t take this for granted – must be able to give 1\ synchronic (one point in time) explanation – how parts produce properties 2\ diachronic (developed thru time) causal explanation – how each entity came to exist
since… no single causal explanation of any particular state of affairs, since this will inevitably be a consequence – not of single previous state, but of series of previous states at diff pts in past..
matter of judgment which previous states of affairs we consider most relevant.. although common to consider… most recent (morphogenetic explanation: processes which elab/change systems form/structure/state)…most relevant – buckley
then goes on to tell of importance of more historical parts of explanations and too that we tend to ignore what happens after most recent/relevant change…
hence.. for every entity that exists for more than an instant – must be some set of causal factors that maintain stability… these factors provide morphostatic causal explanation… preserve/maintain systems form/org/state – buckly.. ie: need for complex systems to draw energy from their environments..
on importance of both – but esp of morphostatic explanations (critical basis of emergence): any number of implausible combos of lower-level entities may be brought about by a vast range of morphogenetic causes over course of time but is only those combos that have continuity of structure that persist..
so need for deep/simple/open enough ness
furthermore only those that persist that are likely to have constantly repeated cps and hence provide empirical material that enables us to *hypothesise the existence of an underlying causal mech.
*do we need to do this?.. agree with it if it’s as simple/deep as a and a..
ie: it is difficult to conceive of a higher-level entity whose components do not themselves have a continuing existence of some sort..
persistent entities are not just accidentally sustained but often arise from combos of pars that have strong tendencies to *cling together in a stable configuration..
good on bonding/attachment ness.. bad .. because need to let go of the things you have to *cling to..
it cannot be take for granted… some *natural tendency to stability
again – unless precious – where *natural tendency to stability is a and a ness
on ability to change/renew parts as significant contribution to sustaining the existence of the higher -level entity as a whole
higher/lower level ness.. is unsettling to me..
on changes (w in entity) that are normal ones that are beyond range of normal ie: animal grows in size, alters in shape…
ongoing interplay-conflict between morphogenetic cases (tending to alter/destroy ..may be destructive and/or creative) and morphostatic causes (working to reserve current form)
dynamic structure – maintain selves no in stable internal relationship but by constantly striking balance between internal parts and relations that are in tension w each other..
this is how laszlo characterize social structures: ‘adjust/adapt, maintaining selves in a dynamic steady state rather than in one of inert equilibrium
such structure contain within selves potential for change… could lead to 1\ convergence on a variable but constrained pattern 2\ continuing adaptive steps over period of time 3\ collapse of structure
buckley: complex adaptive system as a continuing entity is not to be confuses with the structure which that system may manifest at an *time
a *moment… so a deadness… no?
fundamental principle of open adaptive systems: persistence of continuity of an adaptive system may require as a necessary condition, change in its structure – buckley 1998
buckley emphasises… in such a system.. variation or *deviation is not abnormal and disruptive but normal and indeed essential to the continuing survival of the system – buckley 1998
*deviation is not abnormal and disruptive.. but essential… thinking moxie marlinspike ness
so morphostasis/genesis capable of elab/combo in ways to enable us to start describing complex adaptive systems that are… social structures.. in particular.. to overcome on of problems .. focus on social stability to point of denying mechs for social change.. archer 1979/95/96/88
huge…. begging for mech’s for social change – that don’t just aid change/incrementalism.. but indeed change structure..
conclusion to ch 2
full understanding of any given case of emergence depend son being able to explain both: 1\ causal mech 2\ morphogenetic/static processes that create/sustain its existence
claims of emergence answered by 5 questions… 1\ what are its parts 2\ what are relations between…..
in other words, we must examine the relationship between emergence and causation in more detail, and thus the question of whether and how emergence enables us to negotiate a viable path between dualism and reductionism.. (subject of next chapter)
ch 3 – cause
second half of the chapter aims to show how the relational conception of emergence enables us to overcome two common challenges to emergentism: 1\ reductionist claim.. higher level can be explained purely in terms of impacts of parts 2\ argument that emergentist theories imply, but cannot explain, the phenom of downward causation – causal impact of wholes on their own parts, … ie: social structure may have upon individuals that compose them
without such consistent regularities, wt would be quite impossible for us to disentangle the causal influences that affect our world, and quite pointless for us to speculate about general causal laws or mechs
repeat from above: consistent regularities… with which to speculate
p 41on – all humes sees is constant conjunction of events (if causal)
p 43how groff puts it.. causal comes from natural..necessary nessp 44such laws, he argues depend upon the existence of ‘*natural mechs‘ and ‘it is only if we make the assumption of the real independence of such mechs from the events they generate that we are justified in assuming that they endure and go on acting in their normal way outside the **experimentally closed conditions that enable us to empirically identify them‘ – bhaskar 75
p 45chart… bhaskar’s three domains: populating entities
real.. actual.. empiricalmechseventsexperiences
bhaskar ids real cps w ‘relatively enduring structure and mechs’ that are ‘nothing other than the ways of acting of things’
mech for rev of everyday life deep enough
p 46but on other hand, there is something about cps that is independent of any particular actual entity that possesses them, and it is this that bhaskar is gesturing towards when he argues that cps as such are real but not actual.. ie: bird flies.. actual if bird parts are there doing it.. but still real that birds can fly w/o parts
this is a fact about reality that is true independently of what actually exists in the world, and it is just such facts that science uncovers. these are the mechs that are real but not actual; such mechs are implicit in the nature of the universe, whether (and before) we seek to actualise them, and..
..it is only if such mechs are real that science makes sense…
back to first line..on the one hand, as he says,..
‘the generative mechs of nature exist as the cps of things’;..and if the actual is the domain of what exists, this would seems to make things, their cps and their mechs part of the actual.. in this view of causality, cps can only operate when they are properties of actual things.. (then goes into above.. on the other hand)
h u g e
on the contrary, the idea that ..there are real but not actual cps implies that it was always true that if an entity of a given type appeared it would have the powers that follow from its characteristic parts and structure..
p 47actual events – are not by single causes… outside closed systems of lab – multiple cps constantly interact .. ie: path of leaf falling to ground….
actual events always products of an unruly mess of interacting powers that happen to rub up against one another at that particular moment and place..
rev of everyday life
retroduction – id ing cps of social entities..p 49level abstracted (zoom out)… laminated (zoom in)
p 50we do not have fully adequate understandings fo lower end… *must accept only partial descriptions.. and hence only partial explanations
on photosynthesis – just happens without worrying about how at cellular/molecular level..p 52we don’t have viable science at every level.. we can only produce incomplete subsets of ‘complete’ multi layered accounts which is why such a complete account can only be seen as ‘a limit concept’ – bhaskarso we’ll be happy .. ignoring low level in complete account
p 53all this suggests… abstract explanations we commonly employ are massive simplifications of the real multi level causal processes
causation never truly ‘independent’ of what is happening at other levels in individual instance; it is only analytically independent when generalised.
cause as we generally understand /apply it is therefore an attempt to simplify/extract from the impossible complexity of actual causation…
getting lost in all the words.. on what is .. what isn’t eliminative reduction…
defn of redescription principle from ch 2 (still don’t get)
problem.. comes from the neglect of the role of time, in particular from neglect of diff time status of cause and composition.. in downward causation.. a higher level entity causes a change in one of its parts over a period of time – cause is a diachronic (over time) relationship .. but composition relationship is a synchronic (moment in time) relationship
p 61on t+1 ness.. the outcome, logcally, may include changes in parts that are consistent with the continuing existence of whole, or .. that destroy structural integrity of whole, or … transform whole from one type .. to another…
thus the part played by a downward causal mech may even in some actual cases be the critical factor in destroying the entity possessing the mech -suicide, for example.
kim argues that this… causes lower level laws to be violated.. there is no such implication… rather.. supplement those arising from lower levels, they do not violate them..
our broken feedback loop that’s repeating over and over … if t then t... (rather than allowing for the uncertainty/antifragility/emergence of if t then t+1 ness) is killing us more/deeper/uglier… et al
while reading.. this tweet/reading.. fitting…
textbook social systems that are engraved in stone”can be changed in one single generation. There may be hope for the human race, it seems.
Recent research shows that evolution is on the side of those who cooperate.
“We found evolution will punish you if you’re selfish and mean. For a short time and against a specific set of opponents, some selfish organisms may come out ahead. But selfishness isn’t evolutionarily sustainable.”
Hierarchical control structures are symptomatic of collective behavior that is no more complex than one individual.
As Yaneer Bar-Yam explains in Complexity Rising, hierarchies have diminishing usefulness as complexity increases.
Better social relationships (non-hierarchical and not based on the dominance of others) can make for healthier populations. In addition, networks are the only way our collective intelligence can be used to address increasing complexity
back to cp for ss
ch 4 – social ontology and social structure
one of objectives of this book is to address what i take to be one of central problems of the social sciences: a radical absence of ontological rigour…. there is frequently a presumption that we can usefully analyse the social role of such concepts (discourse, the state, institutions, values, value, money, agents…) while utterly disregarding their ontological basis..
emergentist ontologies can resolve the problem of reductionism
relational emergence (discussing in this book) is a synchronic (moment in time) relationship that requires a counterfactual (couldn’t happen in parts) explanation.
the need for iteration arises from the combination of two factors: uncertainty and interdependence..
getting lost in all the words about validation ness
institutional structure was most characeristically advocated by parsons and the structural functionalists, and ie’s include both large-scale institutions like marriage, patriarchy, property, and contract, ad also ‘the micro-institutions of day-to-da existence, such as those concerned with queuing, turn taking in convos, dinner party entertaining and gift giving’
oh.. ugh… both big and small.. ugh..
supposed to’s.. killing us..
given the lack of coherence of the concept of society, it is hard to see how such a poorly defined entity could have real causal powers..
p 83mouzelis points out, for ie, that ‘parsons, following durkheim, operates within a society-individual scheme that systematically ignores the complex hierarchy of actors that provides the bridge between individual role players on the micro-level, and systematic incompatibilities on the macro-level…porpora.. emphasises not the compatibility of diff positions in the existing debate on social structure but on their incompatibilities.. .. he lists four parts… ie: 1\ patterns that are stable over time 2\ law like regularities that govern behaviour of social facts 3\ systems of human relationships among social positions 4] collective rules and resources that structure behaviour….
as collins argues, ‘strictly speaking, there is no such thing as a state/econ/culture/social class.. there are only collections of individual people acting in particular kinds of microsituations – collections which are characterised thus by a kind of shorthandp 84demographic distributions are resultant rather than emergent properties and therefore reducible – elder vass 2007
ch 5 – agency
what is it about human beings that gives us the power to act, and how does our sense that we are making decisions relate to how our actions are really determined..
this ch – argues that we do have cps and that those cps are emergent properties…
it is often suggested that human agency entails freedom of human action from external constraint of social structure.. this ch argues that agency is entirely consistent w social impacts on our behaviour. human action may be affected by social causes w/o being fully determind by them..
political (effective change in collective life by humans and other things) and individual agency
archer: reflexive deliberations and consequent choices of identity and projects individuals make
bourdieu: habitus – acting w/o such deliberations… central role to social conditioning in determining behaviour
emergence of mental – human individuals , i argue, have emergent cps. for purpose of explaining how societies work, the most important of thee powers is our generic power to act..
what parts of individual and what organisation of those parts, underpin emergence of power to make decisions….relationship between decision making and the causation of human behaviour.. less obvious and straightforward than is generally assumed…
roles to: mental phenom – agreement to what sort.. ie: sensations, beliefs, desires, intentions, concepts, reason, decisions, … criteria that circumscribe mental are more controversial.. and ‘hardware’ of our brains..
ie: searle: any type of which we can be conscious…. we must be able to think it.. not that we have to be thinking it all the time
how can mental phenom exist.. what connects them to our bodies.. this mind/body question that has preoccupied philosophers of mind since descartes… increasingly recog’d by new developments
mind – piano, body – walk.. ness
new answers.. seem to be showing.. though not complete. . that mental phenom.. both when conscious and not, are somehow produced by networks of neurons that make up large part of our brains
john searle – consciousness is a higher level or emergent property of the brain in the utterly harmless sense of ‘higher0level’ or ’emergent’ ….
reasons can be causes of our actions, but they are only ever partial and contingent causes. reasons are emergent mental properties…(and thus cps of the individual concerned) that co-determine our decisions and decisions are stored in our brains as neural configurations – disposition s- which in turn co-determine our actions. .. there are therefore good reasons why there is no exceptionless empirical regularity connecting reason and actions…despite our intuition that our actions are determine d immediately and directly by our conscious decisions, the process.. is at least partially non-conscious.
thus.. theory of action… directly/non-consciously determined by our current dispositions… themselves outcome of series of past events…. reflections…..bourdieu’s concept: habitus
the habitus, bourdieu tells us, provides ‘a spontaneity w/o consciousness or will’
then talks of people who see trouble with that thinking..
bourdieu perhaps overstates the case against conscious deliberation… while he does not deny that agents sometimes make decisions, his critique of rational action theory tends to be dismissive of conscious decision making in a way that may generate the impression that he sees such decision making as entirely marginal and unimportant…. b does however recognise that reflective choices may be made at times of crisis, or critical moments……. such mismatches, gaps between expectation and experience tend to generate not only need for conscious deliberation but also a need for modifications to the habitus itself..
confusion about b’s stress on the unconscious.. and his insistence .. that operates through active, creative, invention and improv
archer: places conscious reflexive deliberation at its heart..(although not her account of actions in the natural and practical order)
? sounds like saying same thing in diff ways/degrees..?
for archer.. reflexivity is a power tha human beings possess: the ability to monitor ourselves in relation to our circumstances… exercise through a process of conscious reflexive deliberations, during which we conduct internal convos with ourselves aobut ourselves…
self-talk as data ness
the inner convo ‘is a ceaseless discussion about the satisfaction of our ultimate concerns and monitoring of the self and its commitments’
story about people grokking what matters ness
such reflexivity.. she argues… is a precursor to the development of a personal id and a social id. these sense of our id – of who we are – depend upon us delineating what we care about (personal id) and then relating this to our social context to develop projects based up on our ultimate concerns: projects that we use to guide the conduct of our lives…(social id)
difficult to see how agents can be distinguished from structure and vice versa… i suggest b’s position can be made compatible..w some subtle changes..we need not alter claim that agents are constitutive of structures: it is perfectly compatible with an emergentist ontology to argue that structure are made up of agents..
art ist… ness
on internalisation of externalities….when we internalise some thing, our beliefs about the world are affected by our experience in such a way that we accept a belief about that thing as a fact.. ie: we may internalise a sense of inferiority as result of being persistently treated as inferior.. metaphorically, we may say we have internalised our inferiority, but literally, what we mean is that we have acquired the belief that we are inferior..
reading at same time:
Our intelligence, however lucid, cannot perceive the elements that compose it and remain unsuspected
On some elemental level, we intuit this to be true, and yet we somehow let ourselves forget it as we grow older and more reliant on the intellect as our supreme mode of knowing. We seem to remember it only in moments of suffering — of emotional intensity so acute and uncontrollable that it strips down our rationalizations and deposits us, naked and unguarded, into the cradle of our own being. The wisdom of the heart that we reap in that vulnerable state is of a wholly different order than the intellectual insight we synthesize through deliberate rational thought.
This, perhaps, is what Rilke meant when he extolled sorrow as a supreme tool of self-knowledge and what Simone Weil, ever the underappreciated genius, was touching on in contemplating how to make use of our suffering. Yet what makes emotional suffering most anguishing is precisely that we so stubbornly resist it for, on some level, we judge it as anti-intellectual.
how our intellect blinds us to the wisdom of the heart and how pain, above all, strips down our intellectual defenses and puts us in raw, direct contact with the emotional truth of our being:
p 109 ff
on it being bother.. archer and b ness – reflexivity and habitus
contribution of reflexivity to the causation of human actions varies by individual, by social class and by historical context…… out dispositions may sometimes be heavily and unconsciously affected by social factors, but none of us is ever completely at the mercy of our habitus… nor is our habitus the unmediated product of social structures.. but rather the result of a lifetime of critical reflection upon our experiences… including our experiences of those structures..
objective of book – showing how emergence applies to social structure and agency
view of human action as ‘a permanent dialectic between an organizing consciousness and automatic behaviours’ -b
it’s time… to turn to those social causes and how they can have a causal impact on our beliefs, dispositions and behaviour
ch 6 – normative institutions
this chapter arguing that: normative social institutions, are an emergent cp of norm circles.
most significant characteristics (of norm circle): their potential for intersectionality
empirical regularities .. are not causes but effects and so, if social institutions are to play a causal role, they must be something more than such regularities..
he (gidden) wants norms and values simultaneously to be more widely binding that their individual instantiations because of collective character…. but also nothing more than their individual instantiation in ontological terms..
last two paras sound like ni ness…
what is the collective that exerts this pressure..
society requires us to become its servants, forgetting our own interests.. thus we are constantly forced to submit to rules of thought and behaviour that we have neither devised nor desired… society speaks through the mouth of those who affirm them in our presence: when we hear them, we hear society speak, and the collective voice has a resonance that a single voice cannot have.. durkheimin modern societies, characterised by organic solidarity, this collective element declines with the growth of occupation-specific normative collectivities, each with tis won set of norms.. – durkheim..
p 120society to nation states.. to boundaries.. memberships…
latour… wants to replace the ‘sociology of the social’ with a a ‘sociology of associations’.. in which ‘there is no society, no social realm and no social ties, but there exist translations between mediators that may generate traceable associations’
p 122instead of tracing associations to substitute for structure… trace to explain structure…
using circle… for overlapping ness… to explain emergent cps… on society….?
footnotes p 122 acknowledges individuals may not be conscious.. in agreeance.. references.. habitus nessp 123…. expected to observe it and will face positive consequences when they do so, or negative ones when thee do not..
the example abstracts from a variety of possible complexities by assuming a rather simple sort of social institution: one in which every member of the norm circle both endorses the norm and is expected to observe it..
(very next sentence) this (so assuming all members endorse/expect) enables us to ignore, for the purpose of clarifying the mechanism, features that would be important in a fuller account of normative institutions, most particularly the question of difference of social power between members of the circle and therefore the possibility that they could be used to enforce social practices that advantaged some at the expense of others…
norm institutions do not determine behavior but only contribute causally to its determination..
although institutions depend on members of norm circle sharing similar understanding of norm… it is the ..
commitment that they have to endorse and enforce the practice..with each other that makes a norm circle more effective than sum of its members… members … are aware ..other members share commitment.. may feel an obligation.. to endorse/enforce.. and that others will support them when they do… in other words… members of norm circle share a collective intention to support the norm..
p 124praising/rewarding/criticising/punishing…. consequence of such endorsement and enforcement is that the members of the circle know that they face a systematic incentive to enact the practice… it is the commitment to endorse/enforce the norm that is the characteristic relation between members of a norm circle.
consequence of being members of norm circle, then, these individuals act differently than they would do otherwise..
these relations, then, when combined with these sorts of parts, …provide a generative mechanism that gives the norm circle an emergent property or causal power:
the tendency to increase conformity by its members to the norm…
this is not to deny any significance to normative beliefs of the individuals concerned.
at level of individual, social institutions work because the individual knows both what the expected behaviour is and the pattern of incentives their behaviour is likely to confront.
whoa. not for zombies.. not for sheep… and i’d boldly say.. not for any form of public consensus..
ok.. not p 125… huge.. ugh..
normative compliance is not physically forced compliance but voluntary compliance; and hence it is directly caused, not by the existence in the present of normative pressures from the community, but by the individual’s internalisation of past pressures in the form of beliefs or dispositions.
normative incentives not physically enforced… but come from w/in (zombie ized) member
(repeat) internalization of past pressures.. taking form of beliefs… dispositions
(repeat) normative compliance… not forced… but voluntary compliance..
temporal gap between experience of norm environment and execution of norm-compliant act is bridged by the retention of beliefs and dispositions shaped by this experience… and thus corresponds to the account of human agency given in ch 5
institutions work, in other words, by changing individuals – by changing their beliefs or dispositions so that the individuals will be inclined to behave in a different way..
causal effect is on our motivations, not directly on our actions, but by affecting our motivations at one point in time they are able to affect our actions later… echoing archer’s point – ‘that structure and agency operate over different time periods.. ‘
none of this implies, however, that normative institutions necessarily rest on evaluative consensus..
and why we volunteer… maté trump law: attachment trumps authenticity…
p 127durkheim: ‘society speaks through the mouth of those who affirm [its rules] in our presence: when we hear them, we hear society speak, and the collective voice has a resonance that a single voice cannot have.’[..]each person has a proximal norm circle for each of their normative beliefs/dispositions.. the set of people who influenced its formation.p 133and once we recognise that multiple such pressures may conflict w each other, then we must recognise the need for individuals in ambivalent normative positions to make decisions about which norms to observe in difficult situations.
hence the importance of an understanding of human action that leaves room both for social influence and individual decision making, or , to put it in other terms, that reconciles the roles of both habitus and reflexivity..
in contexts of complex normative intersectionality… consciousness of diversity… in which they are embedded..
whether or not they are able to articulate this consciousness discursively, members of such societies depend upon it whenever they act..
p 141there is an irreducible ontological distinction between a) the existence of an actual norm circle and b) any given individual’s beliefs about tit; a distinction that is lost in giddens’ account, making it impossible, as archer says, to investigate the relation between the two – archer[..]things that cause effects do not thereby become parts of the things that they have affected.. when i see a bicycle in the street, i do not end up with the bicycle in my brain, i end up with a memory of it in by brain.
p 142in this theory, rules (or their near equivalents, norms) play a crucial role in the mechanism by which norm circles cause individuals to teed to reproduce certain social practices…..primarily in form of knowledge/beliefs/dispositions…this knowledge is a consequence of social interactions that take the form they do because of the existence of social groups that are committed to interacting in support of those rules…
ch 7 – organisations
on the one hand, the structure of organisations depends on the roles that their members occupy and these roles are essentially *bundles of norms.
makes me think of the *bundles of norms we offer via public/higher ed… thinking we are offering freedom.. choice.. when really .. spinach or rock ness
in particular, the existence and properties of the interaction group depend upon a specific set of properties of the people concerned: their beliefs about relevant norms.
key .. which associations differ from interaction groups… commitment (in assoc).. persist beyond duration of a single interaction situation..
something of a grey area… we can illustrate .. with ie of dating..
p 150such interaction situation need not imply any commitment.. may decide… not suited
if agree to date again.. this is where grey area appears…
which bucholtz refers to as community of practice.. (nerd girls ie)
on.. learning how to try hard while appearing not to..
i argue that organisations are composed of people and not roles. people are their parts, and roles the relations between them.
more complex organisations are characterised by the attachment of authority to specific roles
organisations can use hierarchical control to generate the benefits of coordinated interaction
it is these powers to shape norms and norm circles that make it possible for managers to adapt and develop the role specialisation that is the source of the org’s coordinated-interaction based powers.
ch 8 – social events
p 174*does this leave her with no control over her own behaviour? not at all. the individual still has the opp to choose, for ie, whether to perform the role at all and to make decisions about how to do so.
p 175…as result of her experience of endorsing/enforcing behaviour and led to decision on her part to behave in particular ways, decision then become embedded in dispositions to conform (or not) with the norms concerned. …..all these influences,… operate upon her by shaping her mental properties and in particular her beliefs and dispositions..
back to p 125
normative compliance is not physically forced compliance but voluntary compliance; and hence it is directly caused, not by the existence in the present of normative pressures from the community, but by the individual’s..
internalisation of past pressures in the form of beliefs or dispositions.
back to 175
king suggested model of structure and agency commits us to ontological dualism… ‘cultural dopes’.. oscillate between voluntarism and determinsim.. but the ontolgoy outlined here does not commit us to this sort of dualism
on one had.. does not entail reducing individual to a ‘dope’ devoid of any influence… her actions are influenced by a great many cps, …but these influences are mediated in an action determination process in which she as an individual retain the capability of influencing the outcome through her decisions.
when you start training a person… forcefully at age 5.. age 3… that person is no longer practicing choice..
why we’re in desperate need of legit experimenting/living – ie: 1 yr to be 5 ness.. as far back to the root as we can go…. ie: where the intoxication all began for a person..
we cannot give a realistic account of the interactions of causal mechanisms that produce even quite a simple social event w/o reintroducing this complexity
i’m thinking much deeper.. and perhaps simpler.. than complexity you are suggesting..
argument in this book: we cannot give a full account of the workings of social structures unless and until we can explain how it is that these structures are produced by associations between actors..
or.. until we set all people free and see what we are capable of.. if all of us free
repeat of latour’s: there is not society, no social realm, and no social ties, but there exist translations between mediator that may generate traceable associations..
let’s give that a go
in the end, then, latour denies the cp of ss. but the central argument of this book is that we cannot understand what is occurring in even the simplest social events w/o recognising the vast range of causal contributions made by social structures – which also act through individual human actors..
however far we extend the analysis and however carefully we investigate the motivations of the participants there will always be some factors that we have missed and perhaps some significant ones..
p 178all explanations must therefore necessarily neglect many of the cps that contribute to the event being explained.
how can we tell which were the most significant causal factors for any give outcome?
p 183this control depended upon a complex set of relationships that had arisen in turn from a series of historical… processes – not only the military progress of the war itself, but also the historical legacy of british and russian imperialism..p 184as mouzelis puts it, it ‘profoundly affected the lives of millions of people’ ..we must, however, exercise some caution in making such claims.
according to model of causation advocated in this book, it is not events but the causal powers of things that cause subsequent events… events are changes in things.. events are never determiend cby single causes..
p 185the strength of conditioning required to lead people to risk their lives to conform with their role norms is no doubt greater than in the case of the salesperson’s role and in fact modern armies *devote a great deal of effort to this process…. their disposition to follow the order to charge arises from the power of a set of norm circles that have in turn been shaped by the power of the org to which they belong: the army
p 186many varied non0common factors that influence the decisions of various soldiers….. debt of loyalty to army for giving them a worth while life; .. desire to make family proud;… fear of consequences of desertion..
p 187goes into durkheim’s suicide researchdurkheim does not content himself with finding statistical correlations between suicide rates and other ‘social facts’; instead he seeks to id the mechs that are responsible for those correlations… then goes into.. comparing suicides amongst religions.. p… ie: protestants more likely to commit suicide than catholics.. searching for mech.. he finds it in the fact that protestantism does not bind its adherents to such a comprehensive body of beliefs and practices. the protestant is allowed and indeed encouraged to be ‘the author of his faith’, interp ing the bible himself – … because his religion has overthrown many of traditional beliefs that continue to be endorsed/enforced by catholic church.. durkheim 1952
hence, if religion protects man agains the desire for self-destruction, it is not that it preaches the respect for his own person.. but because it is a society… what constitutes a society is existence of a certain number of beliefs and practices common to all the faithful, traditional and thus obligatory. the more numerous and strong these collective states of mind are, the stronger the integration of the religious community, and also the greater its preservative value…durkheim 1952
hence, durkheim believes, the frequency of a certain group of suicides, those he calls egoistic, can be explained by the degree of integration w/in the social group whose suicide rate is being measured: the extent to which, and the strength with which, the group regulates the behaviour of its members. here we have a case of one social fact, the rate of suicide, being explained by another, the degree of social integration – precisely the form of explanation he advocates in his methodological works..
p 188durkheim’s account of this mech is rather loose, the core of his argument is that individuals w low degrees of social integration lack a sense of meaning, purpose, belonging and obligation to others, which he labels ‘excessive individualism’ – durkheim
while it seems plausible to argue that this removes some potential obstacles to suicidal impulses, ti is more difficult to see how excessive individualism constitutes a positive reason for committing suicide, as durkheim argues – seeking to keep sociology and psychology separate…….. i suggest that durkheim’s problem can be solve w/o relinquishing the causal significance of the social structures involved… key is once again the model of multiple determinationp 189durkheim on seeing single causes..: “if suicide depends on more than one cause, it is because, in reality, there are several kinds of suicides’…once we recognise multiple determination… see number of causes.. any of these factors might individually make na individual more likely to commit suicide, but none of them alone would causally determine such an outcome..each individual therefore possesses a set of dispositions/beliefs that have been influenced not only by the kinds of social factors id’d by durkheim, but also by other social/bio/psych/historical factors… and in the end suicide is an intentional act. individuals are not physically compelled to commit it by social or other forces but choose to do so in an act of individual agency, ….
given such a framework for explaining suicide, we can say that each individual decision to commit it is produced causally by a complex set of contributing factors that may vary significantly from case to case.p 191… we can never exhaustively id all of the causal factors contributing to even a relatively simple social event..w/o a realist ontology of causal powers, it might perhaps be tempting to believe that the resulting complexity is so great as to defeat any possibility of causal explanation in the social world. but the ontology of cps gives us a framework in which it becomes possible to combine retroduction and retrodiction to produce causal explanations, even in the face of this complexity.
the *best we can hope for in most cases is to id the key causal powers at work in a give case and the key interaction s between them. such id’s, like all knowledge, will always be fallible. this chapter has tried to show …. tools to tame these problems, though can’t eliminate them – they are built into the nature of our social world and indeed our universe..
ch 9 – conclusion
two major social structures in book: normative social institutions (people committed to endorsing/enforcing) and organisations (fosters more intersectionality in norm circles)….
the book argues that when individuals act, that action is the direct and immediate product of non-conscious brain processes and that conscious intentionality is itself a naturally caused phenom that acts as an input into this process, but only as one of many such inputs… this means that human individuals do sometimes make choices that affect their actions but it does not mean that they have free will in the controversial philosophical sense of making uncaused choices.. we are choosing beings, but choosing is itself a natural process and one that is governed causally like any other. if this is the case, the sense we have of free will arises from the fact that *we are the being doing the choosing, not because that choosing is uncased.
hmm. sounds spinach or rock ish.. i get how things influence things. and i heard bit on – hype of ant-naturalism.. but i think we’ve gotten so out of whack in both realms..
same time from singularity hub: your conscious brain directs your actions less than you think
Morsella acknowledges that his theory is unconventional and difficult to accept.
“The number one reason it’s taken so long to reach this conclusion is because people confuse what consciousness is for with what they think they use it for,”
Take breathing as an example — it’s completely automated, to the point that consciously trying to maintain a steady rhythm is surprisingly hard. In this case, conscious thought just bogs the process down.
another ie… when i mark an exam paper,.. and assign a mark, i do so as an arm of my uni, not as an individual..
p 200another ie (this time on spacial disarticulation): school children move around w/in the school and may go off site for sports/ed visits, all while they are still within the confines of the ‘pupil’ role.
it is this inherent flexibility of spatial relationships that makes possible the unlimited extension of social entities across space and thus the pheom of ‘globalisatoin’.
spatially disarticulated: can operate in absence of any specific set of spatial relations between their parts..
spatial disarticulation – w/o clear boundaries ..difficult to determine ontological boundaries of an entity… also makes possible intersectionality..
p 204most strikingly.. *there is a need to analyse the mechs of what habermas calls ‘systems’, notably the mechanisms behind money, markets and capital.
the price mech for ie, steers the behaviour of participants in market systems, contributing to systematic macro-effects, including production and investment decisions, profits, losses, bankruptcy, growth, unemployment, poverty, the degradation of the environment and the satisfaction of our material needs. no social theory could claim to make sense of the contemporary social world w/o some recognition of the central roles of such mechanisms… unlike habermas, i do not see these as governing an empirically distinct domain of social life. rather, i suggest systemic mechs interact with lifeworld mechs in almost all domains of social life. any event that involves an econ transaction , for ie, will be multiply determined by both systemic and lifeworld mechs… the ie of selling a tv…. illustrates the role of lifeworld mechs in such events, but there is much more to be said about the role of systemic mechs..
while both orthodox econ and heterodox political econ have cast useful light on these mechs, neither has yet placed them in the kind of emergentists ontological framework that is developed here.[..](book) seeks to nudge it (dialogue) in diff direction, by offering a coherent justification of the claim that social structure is best understood as the emergent cps of specific social entities. this, i argue, is a significant step towards the larger goal of putting the social sciences onto the firm ontological foundation that is sadly absent today.