Methodological Outline of the Theory of the Social Reduction of Contingency

Monday, 11 July 2016: 09:30
Location: Hörsaal 26 (Main Building)
Oral Presentation
Jorge GALINDO, Universidad Autonoma Metropolitana - Cuajimalpa, Mexico
In a time when the name of Talcott Parsons is generally associated with negative aspects of the discipline, I have no problem saying that this paper is heavily inspired by the "convergence thesis" that Parsons developed in his work: The structure of social action. I have to admit, however, that this inspiration is more methodological than theoretical. Like Parsons did in 1937 I start my theoretical outline with a reference problem, namely: the problem of double contingency. I will use this reference problem within the frame of the functional method in order to compare three important contemporary theories that, at least at first sight, would seem to be incommensurable. The ultimate goal of this comparison is to develop a theory of the social reduction of contingency. The theories that will be compared using the problem of contingency as a reference problem are: Pierre Bourdieu’s theory of practice, Bruno Latour’s actor-network theory and Niklas Luhmann’s social systems theory. For the theory of the social reduction of contingency, the social is no longer conceived as a realm of reality made up of particular entities, but as a problem that can be solved through diverse social operators in charge of reducing double contingency such as communication, practical dispositions and materiality.