Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Theoretical Handle: Analytical Dualism

Archer (1995) explains that if we filter the emergence-interplay-outcome sequences through their inextricable temporal backdrop, and sever, if only analytically, the parts (structure and culture) and the people from their otherwise seamless, perpetual interaction, then the distinctness and thus the attribution of reasons is facilitated.

Archer stresses how analytical dualism is the incumbent methodology of social realism which the morphogenetic/static approach complements:

Quite simply, if the different strata possess different properties and powers and structure and agency inter alia are deemed to be distinctive strata for this very reason, then examining their interplay becomes crucial.  When applied to structure and agency, the realist social ontology entails the exploration of those features of both which are prior or posterior to one another and of which causal influences are exerted by one stratum on the other, and vice versa, by virtue of these independent properties and powers.  The ‘people’ in society and the ‘parts’ of society are not different aspects of the same thing but are radically different in kind.  This being so, then social realism implies a methodology based upon analytical dualism, where explanation of why things social are so and not otherwise depends upon an account of how the properties and powers of the ‘people’ causally intertwine with those of the ‘parts.’ (Archer 1995: p.14-15)

Archer (1995: 218-245) cites eight terms that encapsulate various configurations in structural and cultural conditioning, describing a mix-match in interests and resources.  In this study I will use only two of these eight terms of Archer’s (marked in italics).

Archer (1995) explains Necessary Complementarity as part of the structural conditioning with which agency operates.  When two or more structural factors – which may or may not have developed in conjuction with one another – find their interests and goals mutually in support of or in alignment with one another a situation of Necessary Complementarity is argued to exist.

Archer (1995) explains “constraining contradictions,” or compromise, as one type of cultural conditioning where various iterations of ideational inputs interact with structural conditioning inputs, ultimately bearing down or constraining agency.

Archer (1995) explains Contingent Compatibility, or opportunism, as a type of structural conditioning input where contingent relationships are consistent or support the interests of particular groups.

No comments:

Post a Comment