May 07, 2009

Why I go out drinking more often than before

The major implication intended by this paper is that the personal experience of individuals is closely bound up with larger-scale aspects of social structure, well beyond the purview or control of particular individuals. Linkage of micro and macro levels is thus no luxury, but of central importance to the development of sociological theory. Such linkage generates paradoxes: weak ties, often denounced as generative of alienation are here seen as indispensable to individuals' opportunities and to their integration into communities; strong ties, breeding social cohesion, lead to overall fragmentation. Paradoxes are a welcome antidote to theories which explain everything too neatly.
Mark Granovetter, The Strength of Weak Ties [pdf, 1973]

Click for a bigger version of an awesome 'map of science' from this paper

An idea mundane in one group can be a valuable insight in another.
Ronald S Burt, Structural Holes and Good Ideas [pdf]

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