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Choice and Social Stability: The Morphogenesis of a Sociodynamic Constant
  • Andrew Graham
Andrew Graham

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This essay uses an example of Margaret Archer’s morphogenetic approach to sociodynamics to explore the explanatory gap indicated in the following propositions:
1. Individuals act and interact in variable ways from constantly shifting states-of-affairs in pursuit of variable and inconsistent interests;
2. Groups are made-up of individuals and their actions/interactions;
3. The vast majority of groups, current and historic, are stable.
It contends that individuals’ choices resolve the problem: the analytical centrality of (neo-Bayesian) predictability to every choice no matter the context bridges the explanatory gap between individual actions and the large-scale sociological phenomena of social stability; in the same way, the analytical centrality of stability to groups and group structures allows us to identify the predictable paths of agency. This analytical dualism is used to identify the mutual morphogenesis of both sociodynamic ‘poles’ in the example…individual and collective, ‘micro’ and ‘macro’, agent and structure-culture, in a way applicable to a wide range of rigorous sociological inquiry.