Download PDF by W. G. Runciman: A Treatise on Social Theory, Volume 2

By W. G. Runciman

ISBN-10: 051158346X

ISBN-13: 9780511583469

ISBN-10: 0521249597

ISBN-13: 9780521249591

ISBN-10: 0521369835

ISBN-13: 9780521369831

This moment of 3 volumes units out a basic account of the constitution and evolution of human societies. the writer argues first that societies are to be outlined as units of roles whose incumbents are rivals for entry to, or regulate of, the technique of creation, persuasion and coercion; and moment, that the method during which societies evolve is one among aggressive number of the practices wherein roles are outlined analagous, yet now not reducible, to average choice. He illustrates and exams those theses with proof drawn from the entire variety of societies documented within the ancient and ethnographic checklist. the result's an unique, robust and far-reaching reformulation of evolutionary sociological concept in an effort to give the opportunity to do for the category and research of societies what Darwin and his successors have performed for the type and research of species.

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Example text

But even where the construction of matrices and the computation of inflow and outflow tables is not remotely feasible, social mobility is taking place, by definition, wherever and whenever the distribution of economic, ideological and/or coercive power is changed. Nor should it be assumed that a claim that social mobility is or is not increasing or diminishing in a given society over a given period is more contentious without quantitative evidence than with it. Just as elaborate calculations based on censuses of population may be misleading as evidence for changes in the distribution of power, so may increasing or decreasing mobility across significant social distances be safely inferred for societies where neither the population statistics nor the vernacular terminology of roles are nearly as precise as one might wish.

63) and that complaints about illiteracy in the Church in the fourteenth century increased in vehemence and frequency at just the time that the frequency of illiteracy was in fact declining (Murray 1978, pp. ). It was already expressed with a characteristically epigrammatic touch by Tocqueville when he argued that popular discontent in pre-Revolutionary France ran highest in the more fortunate parts of the country so that, as he put it, ' the French found their position insupportable just where it had improved'.

Firebrace in Sybil, who was modelled on * Both these are well illustrated in the social structure of 18th-century France, which was at the same time exceptionally hierarchical and exceptionally complex. Cf. Cobban (1964, p. 21): 'To appreciate a man's real position in French society it would have been necessary to know, as well as his legal status, also his actual economic functions, the sources and extent of his wealth, his mode of life, his profession or office, his family, and during the revolution even his political affiliations.

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A Treatise on Social Theory, Volume 2 by W. G. Runciman


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