10 Micro-Macro Integration - Contemporary Sociological...

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Contemporary Sociological Theory Micro-Macro Integration Beginning in the 1980s there was renewed interest in the micro-macro linkage. Despite the early integrationist tendencies of the classical theorists, much of 20 th -century theory was either micro- extremist or macro-extremist in its orientation. On the macro side are theories such as structural functionalism, some variants of neo-Marxian theory, and conflict theory. Conversely, symbolic interactionism, ethnomethodology, exchange and rational-choice theory are all examples of micro-extremism. Thus micro- and macro- extremism can be seen as a development in modern theory, and indeed, many of the classical theorists can be understood as having an interest in the micro-macro linkage. A renewed interest in micro-macro integration arose in the 1980s. There are two strands of work on micro-macro integration. The first involves attempting to integrate various micro and macro theories, such as combining structural functionalism and symbolic interactionism. The second involves creating theory that effectively combines the two levels of analysis. This chapter focuses primarily on the latter. Integrated Sociological Paradigm George Ritzer has attempted to construct an Integrated Sociological Paradigm built upon two distinctions: between micro and macro levels, and between the objective and subjective. This produces four dimensions: macro-objective, large-scale material phenomena such as bureaucracies; macro-subjective, large-scale ideational or nonmaterial phenomena such as norms; micro-objective, small-scale material phenomena such as patterns of behavior; and micro-subjective, small-scale ideational or nonmaterial phenomena such as psychological states or the cognitive processes involved in "constructing" reality. These are not conceptualized as dichotomies, but rather as continuums. Ritzer argues that these dimensions cannot be analyzed separately, and thus the dimensions are dialectically related, with no particular dimension necessarily privileged over any other.
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