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« My Paper for the FSSO Buchanan Conference | Main | Krugman's Way-Too-Simple Model »


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Are you familiar at all with Deirdre Royster's work? She's at NYU now. She was a sociology professor of mine at William and Mary (I double majored in soc and econ), and she first introduced me to many of these guys - Berger, Weber, Swedberg, Granovetter, etc.

She did a lot of work along the lines of Swedberg - looking at how social networks impacted black male employment.

We didn't have an economic sociology course at William and Mary, but Prof. Royster wanted to start one. She knew I was interested, so one semester I did an independent study with her reviewing all the literature and helping her organize her thoughts for a curriculum. That was my senior year - I don't know if she ever pulled a course together or if she's teaching it now at NYU.

Anyway - four others we read were Carruthers, Tilly, Evans, and Skocpol. I especially liked Tilly ("Durable Inequality") and Evans ("Embedded Autonomy").

*Sorry - she did a lot of work along the lines of Granovetter - although as you say, Swedberg seems to do a little of everything.

Pete has a paper on the Weber and the Austrians connection, putting a lot of blame on Talcott Parsons for unhooking economics and sociology. It is possible that Parsons was OK up to his first book in 1937, then he went off into general sytems theory. This is a reply which calls for a more nuanced reading of Parsons and also Durkheim.


It is a part of an argument that Pasons, von Mises and Popper were all converging to the same position during the 1930s. The methodological principles that they formulated were almost identical and they had the potential to hold the social sciences together in a progressive program, against the trends to mathematical formalism, the positivist/behaviourist approach and the separation of specialties. To achieve that result the three masters and their apprentices needed to ”synergise” their activities by discussion to explore their differences and to sharpen up the points of agreement. Working in cooperation after WW2 when academic work returned to normal they might have formed a critical mass in the professions and made a difference.

However there was no synergy because Parsons went in a different direction after 1937 and Popper never engaged with sociology or economics in a serious way after 1945.

The points of agreement were: (1) methodological individualism, (2) the search for true and realistic universal laws (but not historical laws), (3) rationality in the relationship of ends and means, (4) the normative and voluntarist orientation of human action, (5) subjectivism (but not psychologism), (6) action occurs in real time, (7) rejection of historicism (though Parsons did not use the term).

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