What Is the Best Micro-Foundation for Mechanism-Based Explanations in Analytical and Rational Choice Sociology?

Tuesday, 12 July 2016: 11:00
Location: Hörsaal 27 (Main Building)
Oral Presentation
Karl-Dieter OPP, University of Leipzig and University of Washington, Germany
In AS (Analytical Sociology) as well as in RS (Rational Choice Sociology) micro-macro relationships are center place as a major mechanism.  This presentation addresses the question of which theory is best suited as a micro foundation for this mechanism.

        The presentation continues the discussion in the special issue of Social Science Information from 2013 (with contributions by Opp and responses by Ylikoski, and Manzo and, finally a response by Opp). The comparison of DBO and RCT is taken up again in new publications by Manzo and Hedström/Ylikoski in the volume “Analytical Sociology,” editd by Manzo (2014). These contributions provide new arguments some of which are discussed in this presentation.

        I will offer a discussion that goes beyond my previous work and will be of interest to AS as well as RS scholars. One argument I will address is the claim that the wide version of RCT includes every factor and is thus without explanatory content (repeated in Hedström and Ylikoski 2014). Another point I will discuss is the assumption of subjective utility maximization (claimed in the wide version) that is rejected in AS. What are the alternative “principles” in AS? I will analyze some contributions in AS to answer this question.