Developing a Comprehensive Social Theory
Author: Thomas B. Whalen
Category: Social Science
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This book develops and presents a general social theory explaining social, cultural and economic ontology and, as a by-product, the ontology of other social institutions and structures. This theory is called social transaction theory. Using the framework of the complex adaptive systems model, this transdisciplinary social theory proposes that society, culture and economy are emergent from social and environmental transaction and negotiation. Each transaction contains an element of negotiation. With each transaction, there is continual renegotiation, however small or large. Even if the result is no change, renegotiation takes place. Thus, there is a constant emergence of social constructions and a continuous reconstruction of society in the ‘specious present.’ Practices, beliefs, explanations, and traditions become part of the accepted canon of a group through continual social transaction. Deviations from canon and expected outcomes are managed through narrative. Narrative can be either rejected or accepted into the social canon of a group or society. This social theory applied Bhaskar’s critical realism to refine the several theoretical works that were utilized. These include complex adaptive systems, Mead’s social theory, Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, Strauss’s negotiated order theory, game theory, Bruner’s narrative and folk psychology, Giddens's structuration theory and Ricoeur’s interpretation theory. A transdisciplinary account of the emergence of society and culture and the role of narrative, Complexity, Society and Social Transactions will appeal to scholars and practitioners of social theory and sociology.