Towards a Theory of Constrained Relativism: Comparing and Combining the Work of Pierre Bourdieu, Mary Douglas and Michael Thompson, and Alan Fiske
In this article, I seek to compare Pierre Bourdieu's theory of practice, the cultural theory developed by Mary Douglas and Michael Thompson, and the relational models theory pioneered by Alan Fiske, and attempt to sketch how these theories could possibly be combined. I argue that the three theories are among the most interesting conceptual enterprises in the social sciences of the last few decades, as they all represent –quite similar– syntheses of long-standing social-science dualisms, such as objectivism vs. subjectivism, social structure vs. free will, functionalism vs. social conflict, etc. Besides these commonalities, I spell out the relative strengths and weaknesses of each of these approaches. This allows me to conclude by considering whether, and how, it might be possible to synthesise these syntheses by picking the most interesting features of the three theories, and avoiding their less appealing ones.
Theory, Knowledge and Science
Sociological Research Online
University of Surrey
VERWEIJ, Marco.(2007). Towards a Theory of Constrained Relativism: Comparing and Combining the Work of Pierre Bourdieu, Mary Douglas and Michael Thompson, and Alan Fiske. Sociological Research Online, 12(6).
Available at: http://ink.library.smu.edu.sg/soss_research/118