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An Archerian reading of John Dewey and its relevance for platform socialisation

What I find particularly valuable in Dewey is his sense of how as an individual “passes from one situation to another, his world, his environment, expands or contracts” with the “knowledge and skill in one situation becomes an instrument of understanding and dealing effectively with the situations which follow” (pg 44). The nature of this experience constitutes the conditions which facilitate or frustrate the individual’s flourishing.

Overcoming the micro/macro divide

From Margaret Archer’s Social Origins of Educational Systems (1979), pg 37. I thought this was a remarkably apt summary of what her next seven books actually did, even if her  trajectory as a whole is constantly misread as a turn away from the macro. The whole point of it was building a theoretical […]

Debates about the nature of education

From Margaret Archer’s Social Origins of Educational Systems pg 4: There is nothing more pointless than the debates which have now lasted for centuries about the ideal nature of education. The only function they serve is in helping individuals and groups to clarify their educational goals, to recognize the implications […]

The origins of the micro/macro divide

From Margaret Archer’s The Social Origins of Educational Systems pg 6: Historically the origins of the discipline are synonymous with the origins of macro-sociology –most of the early founding fathers asked big questions to which they gave equally big answers. Yet initially there was not thought to be anything distinctive […]

Archer and Harman on modes of reduction

Reading Immaterialism by Graham Harman, I’m struck by the overlap between his account of ‘duomining’ and Margaret Archer’s critique of conflation. As he writes on pg 27-28, “If we reduce an object downward to its pieces, we cannot explain emergence; if we reduce it upwards to its effects, we cannot […]

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 […]

Time and Reflexivity

In Margaret Archer’s work on Reflexivity, this faculty is seen as mediating between structure and agency. Our capacity to ‘bend back’ upon ourselves, considering our circumstances in light of our commitments and vice versa, constitutes the point at which structural powers operate upon individual lives. On this view, structures don’t […]