A Treatise on Social Theory, Volume 2 by W. G. Runciman

By W. G. Runciman

This moment of 3 volumes units out a basic account of the constitution and evolution of human societies. the writer argues first that societies are to be outlined as units of roles whose incumbents are rivals for entry to, or keep watch over of, the technique of construction, persuasion and coercion; and moment, that the method during which societies evolve is considered one of aggressive choice of the practices wherein roles are outlined analagous, yet now not reducible, to typical choice. He illustrates and exams those theses with facts drawn from the full diversity of societies documented within the historic and ethnographic list. the result's an unique, robust and far-reaching reformulation of evolutionary sociological thought with a purpose to give the opportunity to do for the class and research of societies what Darwin and his successors have performed for the type and research of species.

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Extra resources for A Treatise on Social Theory, Volume 2

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But the distinction is no less distinctly enshrined in, for example, the vocabulary of the High Middle Ages and the denunciations by clerical moralists of avaritia as distinguished alike from vana gloria and from cupiditas potentiae. In practice, no doubt, the distinctions are likely to be blurred. People motivated by ambition are generally after as much as they can get of all three. The Homeric hero striving always to 'be best' (aristeuein) and 'pre-eminent above others' (hypeirochos allon) may want fame and glory above all else, but he wants them as at once deriving from and expressed by the subjugation of lesser warriors and the possession of flocks and herds and honey-sweet wine about which Sarpedon expatiates to Glaucus in Book xn of the Iliad; and likewise, the medieval French knight gains his recheces through his puissances and further enhances his dignetez through both of them.

ROLES AND SYSTACTS 25 choices of different researchers may be dictated not only by their explanatory, descriptive or evaluative presuppositions but also by the particular form of social organization which, even if putting forward a would-be general theory, they have predominantly in mind. The moral to be drawn, however, is not just that there is an evaluative bias to much sociological theory. It is that on any theory, there is an enormous variation in forms of social organization from a chosen sub-set of which different researchers have selected one or another as their paradigm.

92) (I owe the reference to Murray 1978, p. 229 n. 65). \ The quotation is cited by Macpherson (1962, p. 239 n. 1) from Locke's MS Journal as quoted in Fox Browne's biography of him. § This holds also, and perhaps particularly, where explicitly religious motives are at issue and the desire to acquire merit in the eyes of men is compounded by respect for the judgement of God. It is tempting to be sceptical of monkish accounts of the medieval miles who donates his parcel of land to the abbey ob amorcm omnipotent dei sanctorumque apostolorum Petri et Pauli, et pro remedio animae suae atque omnium parentorum suorum - 1 have taken an example almost at random from the records of Quny (Bernard and Bruel 1880, 11, p.

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