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Analytical Sociology: Bringing Culture and Identity Back In

  • Christofer Edling
  • Jens Rydgren
Publiceringsår: 2014
Språk: Engelska
Publikation/Tidskrift/Serie: Sociologica
Nummer: 2
Dokumenttyp: Artikel i tidskrift
Förlag: Società Editrice il Mulino

Abstract english

This paper is a critique of analytical sociology as presented in Peter Hedström’s book Dissecting the Social. Our critique has two main targets. First, we believe that too little attention is being paid to the macro-to-micro link, and we argue for the importance of macro-level entities such as culture, social categories, and groups – all of which have so far been largely omitted from analytical sociology. Second, we critique the persistent focus on intentionality as the driving force of social action. We argue that the strong focus on intentionality unnecessarily restricts the scope conditions of analytical sociology, and that it also introduces theoretical inconsistencies, by bringing in unrealistic assumptions and as-if theorizing. Hedström has strived to distance

the program of analytical sociology from rational choice theory by relaxing the assumption of rationality. However, we argue that analytical sociology is still too closely connected with rational choice theory, and that the assumption of intentionality – that people make reasoned choices – needs to be relaxed. We discuss the ways in which a further focus on social identity would complement analytical sociology by making it fundamentally more realistic and less restricted.


  • Sociology (excluding Social Work, Social Psychology and Social Anthropology)
  • Analytical Sociology
  • Culture
  • Identity
  • Macro-Micro Link
  • Social Mechanisms


  • ISSN: 1971-8853
Christofer Edling
E-post: christofer [dot] edling [at] soc [dot] lu [dot] se



+46 46 222 88 62




Jag disputerade 1999 vid Stockholms Universitet (Essays on Social Dynamics, 1998) med Peter Hedström som handledare. Mellan 2002 och 2005 var jag Torgny Segerstedt Pro Futura Fellow vid Swedish Collegium for Advanced Study (SCAS) i Uppsala.

2003 blev jag docent i sociologi, och 2004 universitetslektor, vid Stockholms Universitet, där jag var prefekt vid Sociologiska institutionen 2006 till 2008.

Jag flyttade till en professur vid Jacobs University Bremen i Tyskland 2008 och rekryterades till Lunds universitet som professor 2012.

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