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Review

Author(s): David Zaret


Review by: David Zaret
Source: Contemporary Sociology, Vol. 23, No. 4 (Jul., 1994), pp. 618-619
Published by: American Sociological Association
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2076450
Accessed: 18-03-2015 19:26 UTC

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618 REVIEWS
convened deris nottheresultofa sharedvalueconsensus
ferenceof the1991 ASA meetings,
oflocalordersproduced
a by-product
and presidedover by thenchair-electCole- butrather
unusually by smallerdeviantgroupsfortheirown purandsomewhat
man.It conveniently
I foundit
effort,
papersby some of themajor poses. Whilean entertaining
bringstogether
willyintheend,as theargument
on both sides of the ongoing unpersuasive
contributors
an awfullotliketheold
nillyendsup sounding
debate.
staple about the latentorderThe seasonedRAT readerwill not finda functionalist
of certain,mostlyfairly
arguments enhancingfunctions
greatdealthatis newinthestandard
formsof deviance.
thatdulyappearin the harmless,
and counterarguments
stream,
thecurrent
against
refreshingly
Rather
courseof thebook, althoughsomeof thepato
forthegenre.Whatstruck MichaelHannancounselsagainstattempting
persarea bitoffbeat
memostin themwas thegeneraltoneofmod- forgetootighta linkbetweenthemicroandthe
dis- macrolevels,sincethiscouldonlyjeopardize
erationon bothsides.Noneoftheauthors
giventhedisof macrotheory,
wrong,andnonemake therobustness
missRAT as altogether
abouthow to conceivethemicro
any strongclaimsa la BeckerforRAT as a agreements
about
accountofall humanbehavior.Thus, level to beginwithand theuncertainty
complete
microeventsintomacrophethewayin whichbothadvocates(Marini)and howto aggregate
to
critics(Bohman,Willer)rehearsethe well- nomena.Butwhiletheremaybe something
aboutRAT's limitedappli- thisargument-inthesamewaythatit makes
knownarguments
for- senseto geton withsociologybeforeall quesofpreference
cabilityandlackof a theory
chembiology,
physiology,
indistinguishabletionsofpsychology,
mationmake themvirtually
andphysicshavebeensettled-andwhile
istry,
eye.
to theuntrained
Conversely,the strongestcase made for Colemanhas been one of thoseadvocatinga
ofthemicro-macro
fit,thisis not,
RAT hereis thatit shouldbe employedas a strengthening
to see howmuchof human of course,an issuepeculiarto RAT.
pointof departure
So whatis theupshotof all this?Well, it
behaviorit can usefullyexplain.This is the
peoplewouldagree
advocating seemsthatmostreasonable
contribution
pointofLindenberg's
for
canbe accounted
as well thatsomehumanbehavior
a "methodofdecreasingabstraction,"
as Abell's crispand undogmaticdefenseof byRAT and somecannot,possiblynecessitatthe
emphasizing
RAT as "at themomentourleastworst[sic] ing some sortof explanation
ofnorms.It is worthnotingthat
internalization
(p. 203).
choiceof framework"
ofsomeofthe DennisWrong,in his famousattackon Parthecontributions
By contrast,
criticsof RAT are decidedlyun- sons's "oversocializedman" some threedewell-known
Elias" cades ago, came to exactlythesame concluIn an "Homageto Norbert
impressive.
the sions.Andso didmanysensiblepeoplebefore
ThomasScheffberatesRAT forignoring
to be
roleof emotionsin humanbehavior,butas he him,no doubt.In short,is it notgetting
aboutsometheory
makesclearattheoutset,thisis no less abouttimeto startthinking
himself
bothofthese-thatis,
theoretical
all othercurrent
ap- thatmightaccommodate
trueofvirtually
to specifyunder
proaches.RichardMunch'scritiqueof Cole- a theorythatwouldattempt
we aremorelikelyto encounit whatconditions
man'sversionofRAT mostlydemonstrates,
commitment
choicethannormative
seemsto me, his limitedgraspof it. MUnch terrational
ofpower,con- andvice versa?
declaresmatters
quitearbitrarily
flict,norms,andtrustto be outof boundsfor
Coleman's theoryof calculated exchange,
Coleman Historyand Social Theory,by Peter Burke.
everything
blithelyignoring
thereby
Press, 1992. 198
DavidSciulli Ithaca: CornellUniversity
saysonjusttheseissues.Similarly,
RAT forbeingunableto provide pp. $37.50 cloth. ISBN: 0-8014-2861-0.
reprimands
otherthanbywayofthe $14.95 paper.ISBN: 0-8014-8100-7.
themoralfoundation,
for"benign
preferences,
actors'ownsubjective
socialchange."Mostrationalchoicetheorists DAVID ZARET
Bloomington
to lie awakeoverthisone, I sus- Indiana University,
are unlikely
pect.
Fried- This is thesecondeditionof a book thatwas
Hechter,
In themoreoffbeat
category,
whenit firstappearedin
man,andKanazawatryto makethecase that, verywell-received
societies,socialor- 1980 as Sociology and History(London:
inculturally
heterogeneous
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REVIEWS 619
remarks("a dialogueof
Allen& Unwin,1980). Botheditionsprovide Burke'swell-known
historiansand
a valuable account of one of sociology's the deaf") on misperceptions
of each other,and his
venerablethemes.Ever since sociologyap- sociologistsentertain
of
pearedas an academicdiscipline,thetopicof solidaccountofhowtheclassicalsynthesis
historyand sociologyhas been of perennial historyand theory in nineteenth-century
to sociologists.FromDurkheimand sociologywas undoneby academicdevelopinterest
Weberto Bendixand Tilly,sociologistshave mentsin the next century,which assigned
reflection
to the emergentsocial
speculatedon the costs and benefitsarising theoretical
in thepastas a narrative
froma divisionof labor betweensociology sciencesand interest
endeavor of the humanities.The current
and history.
to thisliterature edition continuesthe emphasis on earlyPeterBurke'scontribution
exemplifiesa principaltrendthatmarksits modem examples that marked the first
social histoemphasisis book-Burke is a distinguished
Overtime,growing
development.
divisionsbetween rian who has writtenextensivelyon earlyon thecostsof disciplinary
the two fields. Before the resurgenceof modemEuropeanculture.
Like its predecessor,thiseditionprovides
on
in historicalsociology,reflections
interest
to theneedfor an invaluableoverviewofpriordevelopments
and sociologyreferred
history
more contact between disciplines whose and currenttrendsin historicalwork by
and sociologists.
historians,
boundarieswere more or less taken for anthropologists,
new
granted.Thus in the 1950s and 1960s, the It will be of greatestuse in introducing
of graduatestudentsto a distingenerations
issue was framedas one of interdisciplinary
contactand cooperation.Since then,how- guishedintellectualtraditionthathas flourever, the issue has come to be seen by ishedat theboundariesof severalestablished
as a problemwhosesolutionis disciplines.Omissionsare thebook's princicommentators
Attention
given to Marc
variouslytaken to imply rapprochement,pal shortcomings.
synthesis,or merger.Burke speaks of the Bloch and Malinowskievidentlyleft little
proliferaas an roomfordiscussingtheremarkable
andsocialtheory
ofhistory
convergence
workin historicalsociolintellectualmovementthataffectsnot only tionof substantive
Overthelastdecade,this
historyand sociologybut otherdisciplines, ogyin thiscountry.
and literary workhas also ignitedlivelydebatesoverthe
geography,
suchas anthropology,
in historical
sociology,implicaroleoftheory
criticism.
This last point explains the extensive tions of taking temporalityseriouslyfor
revisions and new title for a book that causal analysis,and methodsforcomparative
omissionin a
as Sociologyand History. analysis.This is an unfortunate
appearedoriginally
and social theory.
For example,due emphasisis now givenin book on history
implications
therevisedversionto theoretical
forsocial historyarisingfromthe linguistic
turn in several academic specialties. The TheoryofCulture,editedbyRichardMunch
in and Neil J. Smelser.Berkeley:University
of
place accordedto developments
prominent
in that book, CaliforniaPress, 1992. 410 pp. NPL cloth.
Britishsocial anthropology
thoughnotnegligiblein thesecondedition,is ISBN: 0-520-07599-4.NPL paper. ISBN:
by discussionsof work 0-520-07598-6.
now complemented
by,forexample,Derrida,Bourdieu,Chartier,
and Giddens. Centralconceptsselectedby FRANCO CRESPI
Burke for special attentionin this edition PoliticalScience
ofPerugia
and reception"and University
include"communication
"oralityand textuality."Thus, the revised
editionenhancesa centralvirtueoftheearlier This volumecollectsthepaperspresentedat
on thetheoryof culture,held
work:a verywide scope thatnow incorpo- theconference
ratessubjectssuchas "habitus"and "decon- in Bremenin July1988 and sponsoredby the
struction"
withina generalaccountof chang- theorysectionsof theASA and the German
ing relationsbetween historyand social SociologicalAssociation.The commonstartingpointof all theauthorsis theirconsensus
theoryoverthelasttwo centuries.
of thesociolrevitalization
of aboutthestriking
The samepointappliesto otherfeatures
thebook. Readerswill continueto encounter ogy of cultureover the past fifteenyears.
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All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions