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Roger Just

Having for nearly a century lived a shadowy existence on the margins of mainstream ethnography, summoned forth only to play bit parts in some exemplary anecdote or illustrative vignette, over the last two decades the individual has emerged to take anthropological center stage. And not just the particular individual (the individual individual, so to speak)—the Nisa or the Tuhami (Crapanzano 1980; Shostak 1981)—but also the generic individual. Of course, the ethnographic foregrounding of individual individuals cannot be decoupled from a theoretical reconsideration of the generic individual, but it is the prominence granted the latter that marks a fairly decisive shift in current explanatory and interpretative paradigms (or at least rhetoric), so that nowadays it is commonplace to remind readers that the individual members of any society discussed are all “agents” actively engaged in “contesting,” “disputing,” “negotiating,” if not “creating” the social or cultural rules and norms to which they remain subject only in so far as those rules and norms may be incorporated into their own strategic pursuits.

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Robert Leroux

everywhere in Boudon's work from the 1970s where he discussed rationality and action. He has not yet started to speak of the principle of methodological individualism. From that moment, which can be dated around the beginning of the 1980s, he made Durkheim

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Arpad Szakolczai

Since its birth, but especially since its academic institutionalization, sociology has been plagued by a series of dualisms and dichotomies that seriously diminish the relevance of much of sociological work. To start with, there is the opposition of theoretical and empirical soci- ology; an opposition that should have been stillborn, as it is com- monplace that theoretical work without empirical evidence is arid, while empirical research without theory is spiritless and boring, but continues to survive and even thrive. There is also the division between substantive and methodological issues, creating the impres- sion of two separate realms and the illusion of a ‘free choice’ of method. One can continue with the contrast between methodological individualism and collectivism that in our days culminates in the var- ious debates around rational choice theory, but which is just the old debate between (neo-classical) economics and classical (Durk- heimian) social theory, in new clothes. Still further, there is the dilemma of dynamic versus static approaches, which could be for- mulated in the language of historical versus structural, or of genetic versus genetic. There is furthermore the dichotomy dominating so much of contemporary sociology, between agency and structure, which is just another way of posing the contrast between action and system, dominating the structural-functionalism of the 1950s and 1960s, or the even older opposition between object and subject and their dialectic, central for German idealist philosophy. At an even more general level, there is the question of the link between reality and thought, the extent to which thought and discourses can properly reproduce reality, or, on the contrary, the claims about the autonomy of discourse, or the independence of the text, a theme particular cher- ished by various postmodern approaches.

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Laurent J.G. van der Maesen

suicide.” The SQA may deliver an answer to the application of the methodological individualism, which denies societal causes of harm, suffering, and isolation of people. It also denies capabilities for individual people and their immediate environment and

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Concerning Durkheim's 1899 Lecture ‘On Penal Sanctions’

Introduction, Translation Notes, and Comments

Ronjon Paul Datta and François Pizarro Noël

antihumanism’ have gone out of fashion, and notwithstanding Susan Stedman Jones's (2001) well-made case about Durkheim's humanism with which we concur, Durkheim's lecture troubles any simple endorsement of humanism in its guises as methodological

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The Environment as an Umbrella Concept; From Word to Historical Concept

Risto-Matti Matero and Juan Alejandro Pautasso

an “accident” made possible by the scientific, political, and cultural elements of global interaction in the twentieth century (24). Despite this attempt to overcome methodological individualism, Warde et al. do not dismiss the notion of

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Peter Herrmann

social law, namely, a genuine social dimension (i.e. overcoming any isolationism of methodological individualism or methodological collectivism)—here the issue at stake is developing an understanding of spaces for societal praxis; is accepting conflict

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From Act to Fact

The Transformation of Suicide in Western Thought

Daniel Gordon

.” 39 Durkheim regarded suicide as an ideal topic for demonstrating the priority of society over the individual. Although suicide seems to be the most private of behaviors, and thus fertile ground for methodological individualism, the varying

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’Tis but a Habit in an Unconsolidated Democracy

Habitual Voting, Political Alienation and Spectatorship

Anthony Lawrence A. Borja

1981 ; Feddersen 2004 ; Geys 2006 ; Goldstein and Ridout 2002 ; Niven 2004 ) but what I note is that this thrust directs our attention to the importance of social context that the methodological individualism of classic RCT marginalised. Second is

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Vertical Love

Forms of Submission and Top-Down Power in Orthodox Ethiopia

Diego Maria Malara and Tom Boylston

strong idioms of protection and care that cannot be reduced to power or wholly separated from it. Hierarchy and Love We begin by suggesting that the best perspective from which to understand hierarchy and love is neither holism nor methodological