Social Structures

ISBN-10: 0691150125
ISBN-13: 9780691150123
Edition: 2009
Authors: John Levi Martin
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Description: Social Structuresis a book that examines how structural forms spontaneously arise from social relationships. Offering major insights into the building blocks of social life, it identifies which locally emergent structures have the capacity to grow  More...

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Book details

List price: $28.95
Copyright year: 2009
Publisher: Princeton University Press
Publication date: 4/5/2011
Binding: Paperback
Pages: 408
Size: 6.00" wide x 9.00" long x 1.00" tall
Weight: 1.496
Language: English

Social Structuresis a book that examines how structural forms spontaneously arise from social relationships. Offering major insights into the building blocks of social life, it identifies which locally emergent structures have the capacity to grow into larger ones and shows how structural tendencies associated with smaller structures shape and constrain patterns of larger structures. The book then investigates the role such structures have played in the emergence of the modern nation-state.Bringing together the latest findings in sociology, anthropology, political science, and history, John Levi Martin traces how sets of interpersonal relationships become ordered in different ways to form structures. He looks at a range of social structures, from smaller ones like families and street gangs to larger ones such as communes and, ultimately, nation-states. He finds that the relationships best suited to forming larger structures are those that thrive in conditions of inequality; that are incomplete and as sparse as possible, and thereby avoid the problem of completion in which interacting members are required to establish too many relationships; and that abhor transitivity rather than assuming it.Social Structuresargues that these "patronage" relationships, which often serve as means of loose coordination in the absence of strong states, are nevertheless the scaffolding of the social structures most distinctive to the modern state, namely the command army and the political party.

Acknowledgments
Preface: From Big Structures to Small
Introduction: Social Action and Structures
From a Small Circle of Friends to a Long Line of Rivals
The Preservation of Equality through Exchange Structures
The Institutionalization of Inequality: Pecking Orders
The Escape from Comparability and the Genesis of Influence Structures
The Short Cut to Structure with Patronage Pyramids
The Institution of Transitivity and the Production of Command Structures
From Pyramid to Party
From Structures to Institutions
References
Index

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