Tuesday, April 05, 2005

I struggled, I'll admit it...

Reading this week's selections I was cruising along fine, loving Granovetter's discussion of the power of weak ties, and then I hit Emirbayer!

Although I understand his basic premise and the need for a merger of culture, social structure and agency, I'm still not sure I really grasp his underlying rationale. Although it appears network theorists need to constantly battles the gap between macro and micro sociological theory, i.e., Do we analyze the superstructure of society – the social groups and organizations – or examine the micro level of interconnectivity of individuals? Doesn't the answer to this debate depend on the research questions?

Maybe I'm simply missing the fact that Emirbayer suggests you can't look at one without consideration of the other, and I'm fine with that assertion. I guess my question is - Does Emirbayer propose that network theorists must frame all research questions to examine culture, structure, and agency or is it OK to examine one specifically with consideration of how the others might influence the phenomenon/social network you're examining?

I don't know if this makes any sense but I struggled with what he was proposing a bit.

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