Theorising social constraint: The concept of supervenience

Citation
S. Le Boutillier, Theorising social constraint: The concept of supervenience, SOCIOLOGY, 35(1), 2001, pp. 159-175
Citations number
22
Language
INGLESE
art.tipo
Article
Categorie Soggetti
Sociology & Antropology
Journal title
SOCIOLOGY-THE JOURNAL OF THE BRITISH SOCIOLOGICAL ASSOCIATION
ISSN journal
0038-0385 → ACNP
Volume
35
Issue
1
Year of publication
2001
Pages
159 - 175
Database
ISI
SICI code
0038-0385(200102)35:1<159:TSCTCO>2.0.ZU;2-T
Abstract
This paper evaluates Kieran Healy's recent contribution to the structure-ag ency debate. Supervenience, I argue, has multiple uses, it entails differen t ontological perspectives depending on which entities it is applied to and which conditions are placed upon subvening and supervening entities. Healy 's use of supervenience is unclear. On the one hand, applied to individual- society relations it does nothing more than restate the trivial truth: no p eople - no society. On the other hand, if supervenience is to be applied to structure-agent relations the consequence is extreme voluntarism. In eithe r case it simply fails to address Healy's key concern: conceptualising soci al constraint. I then argue that an alternative way of grasping structural constraint in the present might be to view past-tense 'activity dependence' as 'Cambridge events'.