Hechter Chap 3

Hechter Chap 3 - Study Guide for Hechter, Michael. 1987....

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Study Guide for Hechter, Michael. 1987. Principles of Group Solidarity . Berkeley, CA: University of California Press. Chapter Three: A Theory of Group Solidarity Notice how Hechter begins his story with the assumption that the tent-dwellers are NOT connected to each other. They each exist as their own independent entity. This is the assumption of atomism. With Rational Choice theory we begin with individuals as atomistic or autonomous actors with already defined preferences and no real connections or dependencies on/with others. Given this starting point when we go and look at social groups we have to ask, How did these social connections get established? Why are they maintained? Put more theoretically, the rational choice theorist must answer the question: How is social order possible (given the assumption of atomism)? Note: Yet if we examine the Hechter story closely we see that maybe the tent-dwellers are not as atomistic or autonomous as rational choice theory might presume. Notice that the tent-dwellers do seem to share a language that enables them to converse with each other. How does rational choice theory account for that? Further, they also seem to share a common language, live in the same valley, share a common way of life, and share a common enemy. If all this is the case, wouldn’t they also likely share a common identity? Wouldn’t they also likely see themselves in a situation of “us” versus “them”?
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Hechter Chap 3 - Study Guide for Hechter, Michael. 1987....

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