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RATIONALITY AND IDENTITY: A CRITIQUE OF ALESSANDRO PIZZORNO

  • FERNANDO AGUIAR (a1) and ANDRÉS DE FRANCISCO (a2)
Abstract

In a series of articles, A. Pizzorno has critically reviewed rational choice theory and developed an alternative to it. In certain academic environments, his work has become a clear referent of the sociological reaction against that paradigm. In this paper, we review and offer a critique of Pizzorno's contribution. Firstly, we reconstruct what we think to be the theoretical core of his position, as based on three main concepts: multiple identity, individuals as ‘strings of selves’ and ‘circles of recognition’ as mechanisms reducing identitary uncertainty. Secondly, we criticise this core as lacking philosophical rigour and as being underdeveloped. Thirdly, we analyse Pizzorno's theory as an alternative to the rational choice paradigm. Here we argue that social scientists – and Pizzorno is no exception – often make a double mistake when they oppose methodological individualism and rational choice models.

In a series of articles, A. Pizzorno has critically reviewed rational choice theory and developed an alternative to it. In certain academic environments, his work has become a clear referent of the sociological reaction against that paradigm. In this paper, we review and offer a critique of Pizzorno's contribution. Firstly, we reconstruct what we think to be the theoretical core of his position, as based on three main concepts: multiple identity, individuals as ‘strings of selves’ and ‘circles of recognition’ as mechanisms reducing identitary uncertainty. Secondly, we criticise this core as lacking philosophical rigour and as being underdeveloped. Thirdly, we analyse Pizzorno's theory as an alternative to the rational choice paradigm. Here we argue that social scientists – and Pizzorno is no exception – often make a double mistake when they oppose methodological individualism and rational choice models.

Dans une série d'articles, A. Pizzorno a développé une critique de la théorie du choix rationnel et a élaboré une théorie alternative. Dans certains milieux universitaires, son oeuvre est devenue un emblème de la réaction des sociologues contre ce paradigme. Dans cet article, nous revenons sur la position de Pizzorno pour la critiquer. Nous rappelons les éléments théoriques essentiels de cette thèse, à savoir les trois concepts: identité multiple, les individus comme “chaînes de moi”,et les “cercles de reconnaissance” conçus comme des mécanismes susceptibles de réduire les incertitudes identitaires. Nous proposons ensuite une critique de ce corps théorique qui manque à la fois d'ampleur et de rigueur. Nous examinons ensuite les théories de Pizzorno comme alternatives au paradigme du choix rationnel. Nous soutenons que tous les théoriciens de sciences sociales, Pizzorno y compris, commettent une double erreur en renvoyant dos à dos l'individualisme méthodologique et les théories du choix rationnel.

In einer Reihe von Aufsätzen hat A. Pizzorno eine Kritik der Theorie der rationellen Wahl entwickelt und eine alternative Theorie erarbeitet. In manchen Universitätskreisen ist sein Werk zum Zeichen des Aufstandes der Soziologen gegen dieses Paradigma geworden. Im Rahmen dieses Artikels nehmen wir die Position Pizzornos auf, um sie zu kritisieren. Drei Konzepte liegen seiner These zugrunde: die mehrfache Idendität, die Individuen als ”Kette meines Ich“ und die ”Kreise der Anerkennung“, die als Mechanismen fungieren, um die Zugehörigkeitsschwankungen zu reduzieren. Unsere Kritik zeigt gleichzeitig die mangelnde Reichweite und Konzequenz dieser Theorie. Anschließend untersuchen wir Pizzornos Theorien, als Alternative zum Paradigma der rationellen Wahl. In unseren Augen begehen die Theoretiker der Sozialwissenschaften, Pizzorno inbegriffen, einen doppelten Fehler, in dem sie methodologischen Individualismus und Theorien der rationellen Wahl gegenüberstellen.

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European Journal of Sociology / Archives Européennes de Sociologie
  • ISSN: 0003-9756
  • EISSN: 1474-0583
  • URL: /core/journals/european-journal-of-sociology-archives-europeennes-de-sociologie
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