In this article, the basic sociological approaches to theorizing human emotions are reviewed. In broad strokes, theorizing can be grouped into several schools of thought: evolutionary, symbolic interactionist, symbolic interactionist with psychoanalytic elements, interaction ritual, power and status, stratification, and exchange. All of these approaches to theorizing emotions have generated useful insights into the dynamics of emotions. There remain, however, unresolved issues in sociological approaches to emotions, including: the nature of emotions, the degree to which emotions are hard-wired neurological or (...) socially constructed, the relevance of analyzing the biology and evolution of emotions, the relationship between cognition and emotions, the number of distinctive emotional states produced by humans, and the relationship between emotions and rationality. (shrink)
Behavior, language, development, identity, and science—all of these phenomena are commonly characterized as 'social' in nature. But what does it mean to be 'social'? Is there any intrinsic 'mark' of the social shared by these phenomena? In the first book to shed light on this foundational question, twelve distinguished philosophers and social scientists from several disciplines debate the mark of the social. Their varied answers will be of interest to sociologists, anthropologists, philosophers, psychologists, and anyone interested in the theoretical foundations (...) of the social sciences. (shrink)
Durkheim's functional and structural sociology is examined with an eye to the two structuralist modes of inquiry that it inspired, French structuralism and British structuralism. French structuralism comes from Levi-Strauss's inverting the basic ideas of Durkheim and others in the French circle, including Marcell Mauss, Robert Hertz, and Ferdinand de Saussure. British structuralism comes from A.R. Radcliffe-Brown's adoption of Durkheimian ideas to ethnographic interpretation and theoretical speculation. French structuralism produced a broad intellectual movement, whereas British structuralism culminated in network analysis, (...) which is beginning only now to become a broad intellectual movement. In both cases, the intellectual children and grandchildren of functionalism may prove to be more influential in sociology and elsewhere than Durkheimian functionalism, the parent. (shrink)
Key ideas from expectation-states theory, symbolic interactionism, dramaturgical analysis, power-status theories, attribution theory, and psychoanalytic theories are combined in an effort to generate a more general theory of emotional arousal in face-to-face interaction. The level of emotional arousal in interaction is seen to reflect the degree of incongruity between expectations, including expectations for confirmation of self, and actual experiences. Such arousal involves the conversion of primary emotions into first and second-order combinations. The nature of emotional arousal is, however, further complicated (...) by the activation of defense mechanisms and attribution processes. The composite theory is formalized into a series of propositions which can serve as hypotheses for empirical tests. (shrink)
Written by leading theorists and empirical researchers, this book presents new ways of addressing the old question: Why did religion first emerge and then continue to evolve in all human societies? The authors of the book--each with a different background across the social sciences and humanities -- assimilate conceptual leads and empirical findings from anthropology, evolutionary biology, evolutionary sociology, neurology, primate behavioral studies, explanations of human interaction and group dynamics, and a wide range of religious scholarship to construct a deeper (...) and more powerful explanation of the origins and subsequent evolutionary development of religions than can be currently found in what is now vast literature. While explaining religion has been a central question in many disciplines for a long time, this book draws upon a much wider array of literatures to develop a robust and cross-disciplinary analysis of religion. The book remains true to its subtitle by emphasizing an array of both biological and sociocultural forms of selection dynamics that are fundamental to explaining religion as a universal institution in human societies. In addition to Darwinian selection, which can explain the biology and neurology of religion, the book outlines a set of four additional types of sociocultural natural selection that can explain fill out the explanation of why religion first emerged as an institutional system in human societies, and why it has continued to evolve over the last 200,000 years of societal evolution. These sociocultural forms of natural selection are labeled by the names of the early sociologists who first emphasized them; and these can be seen as a necessary supplement to the type of natural selection theorized by Charles Darwin. Explanations of religion that remain in the shadow cast by Darwin's great insights will, it is argued, remain narrow and incomplete when explaining a robust sociocultural phenomena like religion. (shrink)
Alexandra Maryanski's cladistic analysis of the last common ancestor to humans and apes reveals biological propensities in hominoids for autonomy, individualism, and weak-tie formation. The evolution of emotional capacities in humans, and the neuroanatomical bases for these capacities, are viewed as representing one of the many compensatory mechanisms for overcoming the low sociality contained in humans’ape ancestry. Speculation on the selection forces involved in hominids’growing capacity to use complex arrays of emotions for mobilizing energy, attuning, sanctioning, moral coding, exchanging and (...) decision-making is conducted with an eye towards redirecting micro-level theorizing in sociology. (shrink)
The nature of sociological theory -- Functional theorizing -- The rise of functional theorizing -- Talcott Parsons' analytical functionalism -- The systems functionalism of Niklas Luhmann -- Efforts to revitalize functionalism -- Evolutionary and ecological theories -- The rise of evolutionary and ecological theorizing -- Ecological theories -- Stage theories of societal evolution -- Darwinian-inspired evolutionary theories -- Conflict theorizing -- The rise of conflict theorizing -- Early analytical conflict theories -- Randall Collins' analytical conflict theory -- Marxian conflict theories (...) -- Conflict theories in historical-comparative sociology -- Interactionist theorizing -- The rise of interactionist and phenomenological theorizing -- Symbolic interactionist theories of identity -- Roles theories -- Status theories -- Dramaturgical theories -- Ethnomethological theories -- Exchange theorizing -- The rise of exchange theorizing -- Early exchange theorizing -- Rational choice theories -- Exchange-network theories -- Structuralist and cultural theorizing -- The rise of structuralist and cultural theorizing -- Early structural and cultural theories -- Cultural theories -- Structuration theory -- Network analysis -- The challenge of critical theorizing -- The rise of critical theorizing -- Critical theorizing in the Frankfurt school -- American-style critical theory -- Index. (shrink)
What can sociological theory tell us about the basic forces that shape our world? With clarity and authority, leading theorist Jonathan H. Turner seeks to answer this question through a brief, yet in-depth examination of twelve major sociological theories. Readers are given an opportunity to explore the foundational premise of each theory and key elements that make it distinctive. The book draws on biographical background, analysis of important works, historical influences, and other critical insights to help readers make the important (...) connections between these monumental sociological theories and the social world in which we live. This concise resource is a perfect complement to any course that seeks to examine both classic and contemporary sociological theory."--Publisher's website. (shrink)
We propose that sociological theory should comprise a series of elementary and abstract principles on the operation of distinctive and generic social processes. These processes intersect and interact in varying combinations to create diverse social forms, including stratification. Six elementary principles, stated as simple equations, are developed for the social processes implicated in societal stratification.
The neurological rewiring of the mammalian brain to activate a broader array of emotions was the critical breakthrough in the development of not only moral systems, but other features often considered unique to humans, such as the capacity to use language and to think abstractly and rationally. Data from African apes and from ethnographies of hunter‐gatherers provide the best clues as to the selection forces operating on the hominid line to produce an increasingly emotional and moral primate, Homo sapiens.