In contrast to some Second Wave structuralists (e.g., Skocpol, 1979), most contemporary comparative-historical sociologists support the non-reductionist version of methodological individualism (Weber, 1978; Coleman, 1986) suggesting that any complete explanation of social phenomena must include an analysis of individual action as one of its components. However, in part because theoretical training in sociology tends to focus on macro-level causal processes, and in part because it is much easier to get macro-level data about history than good data about the motivations of historical actors, they have usually given less attention to the micro level. As a result, many of the micro-level arguments in comparative historical sociology are incomplete or ad hoc (Kiser & Hechter, 1991). The main exception to this criticism is the growing literature analyzing microfoundations from a cultural/interpretivist perspective. This work often employs complex theoretical arguments oriented to uncovering and decoding the meanings motivating or attached to actions, and sometimes uses rich archival data to illustrate these arguments. At its best, this type of work can allow the reader to see and understand an entirely different historical world from the perspective of participants in it. However, many interpretivists are not interested in doing causal analyses, and most reject the attempt to construct and test causal propositions. For scholars interested in discovering and testing the impact of general causal mechanisms, this is a serious limitation.
Kiser, E. (2008), "Elaborating the Microfoundations of the familial state", Davis, D. and Proenza-Coles, C. (Ed.) Political Power and Social Theory (Political Power and Social Theory, Vol. 19), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 273-281. https://doi.org/10.1016/S0198-8719(08)19010-XDownload as .RIS
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