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The Myth of Social Action

The Myth of Social Action


  • Date Published: July 1998
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9780521646369

£ 24.99

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About the Authors
  • The Myth of Social Action, first published in 1996, is a powerful critique of the sociology of the time and a call to reject the prevailing orthodoxy. Arguing that sociological theory had lost its way, Colin Campbell mounts a case for a new 'dynamic interpretivism' a perspective on human conduct which is more inkeeping with the spirit of traditional Weberian action theory. Discussing and dismissing one by one the main arguments of those who reject individualistic action theory, he demonstrates that this has been wrongly rejected in favour of the interactional, social situationalist approach now dominating sociological thought.

    • Tightly argued and clearly written critique of prevailing orthodoxy
    • Makes case for radical reinterpretation of Weber which sheds new light on sociological theory
    • Hardback well reviewed in journals for its contribution to contemporary sociology
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    Reviews & endorsements

    '… a beautifully sustained, clearly written, and multifaceted critique … Campbell has issued a challenging text and, indeed, an open call for immanent disciplinary reformation. Such a text would be of considerable interest, I should think, to sociologists of any stripe, but especially to those who fancy themselves as reflexive and historically minded social theorists.' Steven P. Dandaneau, Sociological Inquiry

    '… a tightly argued volume marked by that rare level of analytical rigor and thoroughness to which Campbell has already accustomed us … We may view The Myth of Social Action as a contribution not only to the re-assertion of a Weberian perspective on action, but also to the grand, but seldom followed, tradition of general sociological theorizing'. Ilan Friedrich Silber, Contemporary Sociology

    'Campbell's argument that contemporary sociology is hobbled by 'situationalism' represents an extraordinarily original rethinking of the field as it has vome to be commonly accepted and understood. His theoretical broom sweeps the way clear for a new, fundamentally cultural understanding of even the most highly rationalized and individualized societies. The Myth of Social Action is a must read.' Jeffrey C. Alexander, University of California, Los Angeles

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    Product details

    • Date Published: July 1998
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9780521646369
    • length: 208 pages
    • dimensions: 229 x 152 x 12 mm
    • weight: 0.31kg
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    1. Introduction
    2. Action reported missing in action theory
    3. Action and social action
    4. Action versus social action
    5. The rise of social situationalism
    6. The argument by denial
    7. Accounts and actions
    8. The argument by exclusion
    9. The argument by incorporation
    10. The 'learning everything from others' thesis
    11. The communicative act paradigm
    12. The linguistic turn for the worse
    13. The myth of social action
    14. The obstacle which is social situationalism
    15. Bringing action back in.

  • Author

    Colin Campbell, University of York

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