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Analytical sociology and social stratification research

Abstract : This chapter argues that analytical sociology (AS) and social stratification research (SSR) are progressively converging towards a shared understanding of the core tasks of sociology: investing major efforts in rigorously establishing interrelated empirical findings; moving beyond empirical data to identify the generative mechanisms via micro-level theories inspired to the principles of methodological individualism; formalizing and testing the proposed explanations. Moreover, I discuss the persisting differences between these two research communities. First, SSR differs from AS because it displays a marked prominence of survey-based quantitative research. I discuss Goldthorpe’s (2016) argument elevating this prominence to a normative status and suggest that SSR is opening to a variety of research strategies, including the use of administrative or experimental data, and for good reasons. Second, in both research communities several scholars mobilize rational choice models for explanatory purposes. I argue that: i) their behavioral assumptions are too narrow to endogenize systematic variations in preferences and beliefs; ii) SSR and AS use different but equally problematic strategies to circumvent this problem; iii) dual-process theories are a promising avenue to deal with some of these difficulties. Third, the formalization of sociological explanations is increasingly common in SSR and AS, but while the former uses mathematical models at the cost of introducing quite unrealistic assumptions, the latter privileges agent-based models, which offer important advantages, particularly for the purpose of analysing the influence of social networks, but are confronted with the problems of empirical calibration.
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Submitted on : Monday, October 31, 2022 - 8:43:36 PM
Last modification on : Tuesday, November 1, 2022 - 3:12:46 AM

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Carlo Barone. Analytical sociology and social stratification research. Gianluca Manzo. Research Handbook on Analytical Sociology, Edward Elgar Publishing, 2021, 9781789906844. ⟨10.4337/9781789906851.00012⟩. ⟨hal-03835576⟩

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