Microfoundations of Social Theory: A Response to Jepperson and Meyer
10 Pages Posted: 5 Aug 2011 Last revised: 9 Jan 2015
Date Written: August 3, 2011
In this essay we respond to Jepperson and Meyer’s (2011) critique of “action theories” and methodological individualism in sociology. We highlight fundamental problems with their argument, notably their misconception of methodological individualism(s) and the belief that this explanatory principle ignores — and is somehow invalidated by — the complex, “emergent” and multi-level nature of social phenomena. We focus on the need to specify and understand 1) component actors and social complexity, 2) theory of action, aggregation, and emergence, 3) self-selection and matching, and 4) process and the context of action. We concurrently critique Jepperson and Meyer’s own (implicit but highly problematic and under-specified) theory of action.
Keywords: micro-macro, multi-level theory, social theory, social aggregation
JEL Classification: A14, B25, E1, J24
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation