This paper addresses the status of the concept of tradition in social theory. Tradition, precisely defined, should be one of the ways sociologists understand the logic of social action, group identity, and collective memory (Coser 1992; Connerton 1989). To date, however, most social scientists are either dismissive or indiscriminate in their use of the notion. Those who disapprove of the concept tend to “treat tradition as a residual category”’ (Shils 1981 p. 8) or they see it as a type of false consciousness susceptible to manipulation by dominant elites (Hobsbawm 1983). Scholars who embrace tradition, such as Edward Shils, often do so by broadening the concept into something indistinguishable from any cultural inheritance. A nuanced ideal‐type theory is put forth here to enable us to identify and research the particular logic of a social tradition. This theory is extracted from a critical, and highly selective, reconstruction of the history of the concept of tradition.
Scares, J. (1997), "A REFORMULATION OF THE CONCEPT OF TRADITION", International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy, Vol. 17 No. 6, pp. 6-21. https://doi.org/10.1108/eb013310Download as .RIS
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