This book offers an unprecedented, integrative account of the shape of social order on the microsocial level. Dealing with the basic dimensions of interaction, the authors examine the major factors which influence "structure" in social interaction by applying various theoretical concepts. Although the concept of "microsociology" is usually associated with symbolic interactionism, social psychology, the works of George Herbert Mead and Erving Goffman and with qualitative methodologies, this book reaches beyond interactionist theories, claiming that no single school of thought covers the different dimensions necessary for understanding the basics of microsociology. As such, the book provides something of a microsociologist’s "tool kit," analyzing an array of theoretical approaches which offer the best conceptual solutions, and interpreting them in a way that is independent of their specific theoretical language. Such theoretical traditions include systems theory, conversation analysis, structuralism, the theory of knowledge and the philosophy of language.
Providing a distinct, systematic and incremental approach to the subject, this book fills an important gap in sociological literature. Written in an accessible style, and offering new insights into the area of microsociology, it will appeal to students and scholars of the social sciences and to those with interests in sociology, microsociology, interactionism and sociological theory.
Table of Contents
Introduction: Is Society Something Big?
1. Interaction: How Presence Becomes Participation
2. Sequentiality: How Interaction is Structured as a Process
3. Institutions: What We Take for Granted in Social Action
4. Reciprocity: How Social Relations Emerge from Joint Action
5. Taking the Perspective of Others: Who We Are as Far as Others are Concerned
6. Social Roles: What We Are to Each Other
7. Norms and Rules: How We Measure Social Action
8. Framing: How We Know What We Have to Do
9. Typification: How We Know Who We are Dealing With
10. Structural Problems of Action: How We Adjust to the Circumstances
11. Emotions: How Feelings Become Part of Social Action
12. Practice or The Pressure to Act
Epilogue: Structure and Method
Kai-Olaf Maiwald is Professor of Microsociology and Qualitative Methods at the University of Osnabrück, Germany.
Inken Suerig is Scientific Assistant for Microsociology and Qualitative Methods at the University of Osnabrück, Germany.
"The grand trends of global history become real, Maiwald and Suerig argue, only to the extent that they become palpable to real people in real places. Microsociology is the study of how a large entity – like society – comes down to what the authors call specific ‘structures of interaction.’ Drawing on a wide range of key thinkers, this beautifully written and superbly organized volume invites the reader into what may become a new way of thinking. An excellent introduction to microsociology." – Arlie Russell Hochschild, University of California, Berkeley, USA, author of The Managed Heart and Strangers in Their Own Land.