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  1. The Causal Power of Social Structures: Emergence, Structure and Agency.Dave Elder-Vass - 2010 - Cambridge University Press.
    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 solution. Using a critical realist version of the theory of emergence, Dave Elder-Vass 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 (...)
     
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  2.  9
    Realism, Values and Critique.Dave Elder-Vass - 2019 - Journal of Critical Realism 18 (3):314-318.
    ABSTRACTThis is a lightly edited transcript of a plenary talk given at the Beyond Positivism conference, Montreal, August 8–10 2017. The talk followed others by Christopher Winship and Frédéric Van...
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  3.  80
    Reconciling Archer and Bourdieu in an Emergentist Theory of Action.Dave Elder-Vass - 2007 - Sociological Theory 25 (4):325 - 346.
    Margaret Archer and Pierre Bourdieu have advanced what seem at first sight to be incompatible theories of human agency. While Archer places heavy stress on conscious reflexive deliberation and the consequent choices of identity and projects that individuals make, Bourdieu's concept of habitus places equally heavy stress on the role of social conditioning in determining our behavior, and downplays the contribution of conscious deliberation. Despite this, I argue that these two approaches, with some modification, can be reconciled in a single (...)
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  4.  71
    For Emergence: Refining Archer's Account of Social Structure.Dave Elder-Vass - 2007 - Journal for the Theory of Social Behaviour 37 (1):25–44.
    The question of social structure and its relationship to human agency remains one of the central problems of social theory. One of the most promising attempts to provide a solution has been Margaret Archer's morphogenetic approach, which invokes emergence to justify treating social structure as causally effective. Archer's argument, however, has been criticised by a number of authors who suggest that the examples she cites can be explained in reductionist terms and thus that they fail to sustain her claim for (...)
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  5. The Reality of Social Construction.Dave Elder-Vass - 2012 - Cambridge University Press.
    'Social construction' is a central metaphor in contemporary social science, yet it is used and understood in widely divergent and indeed conflicting ways by different thinkers. Most commonly, it is seen as radically opposed to realist social theory. Dave Elder-Vass argues that social scientists should be both realists and social constructionists and that coherent versions of these ways of thinking are entirely compatible with each other. This book seeks to transform prevailing understandings of the relationship between realism and constructionism. It (...)
     
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  6. Emergence and the Realist Account of Cause.Dave Elder-Vass - 2005 - Journal of Critical Realism 4 (2):315-338.
    This paper aims to improve critical realism's understanding of emergence by discussing, first, what emergence is and how it works; second, the need for a compositional account of emergence; and third, the implications of emergence for causation. It goes on to argue that the theory of emergence leads to the recognition of certain hitherto neglected similarities between real causal powers and actual causation. (edited).
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  7.  20
    Disassembling Actor-Network Theory.Dave Elder-Vass - 2015 - Philosophy of the Social Sciences 45 (1):100-121.
    One of the strikingly iconoclastic features of actor-network theory is its juxtaposition of the claim to be a realist perspective with denials that supposedly natural phenomena existed before scientists “made them up.” This paper explains and criticizes such arguments in the work of Bruno Latour. By combining referent and reference in the concept of assemblages, Latour provides a superficially viable way to reconcile these apparently incompatible claims. This paper will argue, however, that this conflation of referent and reference leads Latour’s (...)
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  8.  70
    Social Structure and Social Relations.Dave Elder-vass - 2007 - Journal for the Theory of Social Behaviour 37 (4):463–477.
    This paper replies to Porpora, King, and Varela's responses to my earlier paper “For Emergence”, focussing on the relationship between the concepts of social structure and social relations. It recognises the importance of identifying the mechanisms responsible whenever we make claims for the emergence of causal powers, and discusses the mechanism underlying one case of social structure: normative institutions. It also shows how critical realism reconciles the claims that both social structures and human individuals have emergent causal powers that combine (...)
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  9.  27
    Redescription, Reduction, and Emergence.Dave Elder-Vass - 2014 - Philosophy of the Social Sciences 44 (6):792-797.
    In response to Hansson Wahlberg, this paper argues, first, that he misunderstands the redescription principle developed in my book The Causal Power of Social Structures, and second, that his criticisms rest on an ontological individualism that is taken for granted but in fact lacks an adequate ontological justification of its own.
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  10.  92
    A Method for Social Ontology: Iterating Ontology and Social Research.Dave Elder-Vass - 2007 - Journal of Critical Realism 6 (2):226-249.
    How should critical realism affect the practice of social science? This paper responds to this and related questions by suggesting some methodological implications of the realist theory of emergence. Given that critical realism understands causation as the interaction of emergent causal powers, and that the theory of emergence describes the type of structural relations that underpins such powers, we can practise social ontology by seeking to identify these structural relations in the social domain. Such methods, however, cannot stand or fall (...)
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  11.  52
    Realist Critique Without Ethical Naturalism and Moral Realism.Dave Elder-Vass - 2010 - Journal of Critical Realism 9 (1):33-58.
    The grounds for critique offered by Roy Bhaskar have developed over the course of his work, but two claims have remained central: ethical naturalism and moral realism. I argue that neither of these is compatible with a scientific realist understanding of values: a scientific realist approach commits one to treating values as socially produced and historically contingent. This does not, however, prevent us from reasoning about values, nor from developing critiques by combining ethical reasoning with a theoretical understanding of the (...)
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  12.  85
    Luhmann and Emergentism: Competing Paradigms for Social Systems Theory?Dave Elder-Vass - 2007 - Philosophy of the Social Sciences 37 (4):408-432.
    Social systems theory has been dominated in recent years by the work of Niklas Luhmann, but there is another strand of systems thinking, which is receiving increasing attention in sociology: emergentism. For emergentism, the core problems of systems thinking are concerned with causation and reductionism; for Luhmann, they are questions of meaning and self-reference. Arguing from an emergentist perspective, the article finds that emergentism addresses its own core problem successfully, while Luhmann's approach is incapable of resolving questions of causation and (...)
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  13.  9
    Developing Social Theory Using Critical Realism.Dave Elder-Vass - 2015 - Journal of Critical Realism 14 (1):80-92.
    How should critical realists do social theory? This paper considers several issues raised by this question, in response to Jamie Morgan’s recent article in this journal, and comments on his discussion of norm circles.
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  14.  68
    The Causal Power of Discourse.Dave Elder-Vass - 2011 - Journal for the Theory of Social Behaviour 41 (2):143-160.
    This paper outlines a realist approach to the social ontology of discourse. It seeks to synthesise some elements of the approach to discourse found in the early work of Michel Foucault with a critical realist understanding of the causal power of social structures. It will argue that discursive structures can be causally significant when they are normatively endorsed and enforced by specific groups of people; that it is not discourse as such but these groups—discursive circles—that are causally effective; and that (...)
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  15.  40
    Re-Examining Bhaskar's Three Ontological Domains : The Lessons From Emergence.Dave Elder-Vass - 2007 - In Clive Lawson, John Latsis & Nuno Martins (eds.), Contributions to Social Ontology. Routledge. pp. 15--160.
  16.  3
    On Assemblages and Things: Fluidity, Stability, Causation Stories, and Formation Stories.Timothy Rutzou & Dave Elder-Vass - 2019 - Sociological Theory 37 (4):401-424.
    This article conducts a dialogue and creates a new synthesis between two of the most influential ontological discourses in the field of sociology: assemblage theory and critical realism. The former proposes a focus on difference, fluidity, and process, the latter a focus on stability and structure. Drawing on and assessing the work of Deleuze, DeLanda, and Bhaskar, we argue that social ontology must overcome the tendency to bifurcate between these two poles and instead develop an ontology more suited to explaining (...)
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  17. The Moral Economy of Digital Gifts.Dave Elder-Vass - 2015 - International Journal of Social Quality 5 (1):35-50.
     
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  18.  21
    The Editor Wishes to Thank the Following for Acting as Readers Over the Past Year. Antonio, R. Archer, M. Averill, J.J. Barbalet, Michael Billig, C. Bourg, P. Callero, A. Cicourel, B. Cohen, R. Collins, P. Collett, Gerard Duveen & Dave Elder-Vass - 2008 - Journal for the Theory of Social Behaviour 38 (4):0021-8308.
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  19.  18
    Giving and Social Transformation.Dave Elder-Vass - 2014 - Journal of Critical Realism 13 (3):261-285.
    Giving plays an important role in the contemporary economy, but this has been obscured by the perspectives of both mainstream economics and Marxist political economy. This paper draws on the work of J. K. Gibson-Graham to argue that this stunts our imagination about alternative futures, and on the work of Erik Olin Wright to suggest that gift-oriented economic practices could play a significant part in such futures. The most promising alternative economic futures involve not the replacement of a monolithic capitalism (...)
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  20. Profit and Gift in the Digital Economy.Dave Elder-Vass - 2016 - Cambridge University Press.
    Our economy is neither overwhelmingly capitalist, as Marxist political economists argue, nor overwhelmingly a market economy, as mainstream economists assume. Both approaches ignore vast swathes of the economy, including the gift, collaborative and hybrid forms that coexist with more conventional capitalism in the new digital economy. Drawing on economic sociology, anthropology of the gift and heterodox economics, this book proposes a groundbreaking framework for analysing diverse economic systems: a political economy of practices. The framework is used to analyse Apple, Wikipedia, (...)
     
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