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Actor centred sociology

In the last couple of years, I’ve occasionally wondered whether I’m a methodological individualist. The term carries intensely negative connotations within the areas of sociology in which I spend my time. I’m certainly not an individualist in an ontological sense: I think the social world is made up of many kinds of […]

Notes for a Sociology of Thinking 1.4

In a recent paper Tero Piiroinen argued that the intellectual axis of contemporary sociological theory has shifted from a concern with individualism and holism to what he terms dualism and anti-dualism. I’m not convinced as to the accuracy of this as a claim about the state of the field given the […]

The Iraq war: 10 years on

It was just under a decade ago that the Iraq war began. I only realised this recently when reading the first volume of the Chris Mullin diaries, covering the bulk of the New Labour era and the first few years of the Iraq war. It’s fascinating to see a portrayal […]

Individual biography and the spatial distribution of variety (or, what the sociological imagination looks like to a critical realist)

Throughout my thesis I use the term ‘exploration’ as a short hand to designate a rather precise process. I’m trying to conceptualise a particular sort of biographical process, which in spite of its empirical variability shares an underlying structure in which the relation between concerns and context lead a person to look beyond that […]

Biography, Path-Dependence and Social Events

There’s a fascinating post on Stumbling and Mumbling looking at the political implications of beliefs being path-dependent: However, according to Matthew Parris in the Times, many Tories have such out-dated attitudes to unions. He says they believe they benefit from Labour’s “indefensible” links with unions: They know the toxic potency […]

Being Human, Personal Identity and Biography

This is the last of a series of posts in which I’ve looked at Archer’s account of the emotions in Being Human. She sees the internal conversation as rooted in the  ongoing and situated affectivity through which we unavoidably find ourselves connected to our environment. These first-order affective responses are […]

Conceptualising biographical events

One of the arguments I’ve tried to make with my PhD is that any approach which seeks to use the individual life course as a unit of analysis needs to be extremely careful about how biographical events are conceptualised. This issue can seem strikingly unproblematic when considered in the context of […]

“Oh there are other people just like me? I’m not so weird after all”: the internet, social change and social integration

I’ve been preoccupied recently by parallels I keep observing between common features of asexual biographies and those of other groups who share a common trait. In the case of asexuality this ‘common trait’ is not experiencing sexual attraction. Exactly what this entails about the individual’s experience and what, in turn, this experience has […]