Notes on Structuralism

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STRUCTURALISM
Lichbach & Zuckerman – Research traditions and theory in comparative politics: an introduction * Influenced heavily by Marx and Weber
* Draw together long-standing interests in political and social institutions * Emphasize, for example, formal organizations of governments, class relations (Marxist), political parties and interest groups, how states and societies interact, themes of political economy. * Explore relations among actors in an institutional context * Study the historical dynamics of real social types – realism Lichbach – the Three Exemplars

* Example: Skocpol’s study of revolutions
* ONTOLOGY: relations among actors / holism
* Ontology = the foundational ideas about the way the world is constructed; that is, assumes something about the nature of existence, the entities and their properties that populate our lives. * Always concerned with relationships among individuals, collectivities, institutions or organizations; social, political and economic connections among actors => study networks linkages, interdependencies and interactions among parts of some system. * Historically rooted and materially based processes of distribution, conflict, power and domination, thought to drive the social order and social change, are their particular concern. * Reject a focus on actors themselves.

* A structuralist ontology explores how relations among social agents are concretely structure in an institutional context. * METHODOLOGY: social types with causal powers; structures with laws of dynamics * Methodology = explanatory strategies

* Structuralists study structures and hence adopt a realist philosophy of sciences. * Realism is characterized by 2 basic principles:
* They adopt an entity-centred ontology (rather than event-centred) => assume that entities/objects exist in the world and thus that structures are real entities/objects => social structures are real...
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