By Stephan Fuchs
I have had Stephan Fuchs for 2 sessions on the college of Virginia. not just is he an outstanding professor, but additionally an excellent author. opposed to Essentialism offers his perspectives on cultural platforms in as transparent a way as is feasible given the complexity of the topic. this can be a booklet that are supposed to be required analyzing for sociology classes, yet is maybe a bit deep if you happen to have by no means taken a social idea direction.
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Additional info for Against Essentialism: A Theory of Culture and Society
Both stabilization and change may happen simultaneously in a network, albeit in different segments. The parts specializing in change are less anxious to protect the basic facts and rituals. They are more curious and restless. Over time, some of these new and uncertain things may become natural kinds. Turning natural kinds into dependent variables leads to an important distinction between modes of classifying: some grids are visible as contingent constructs that could have been constructed otherwise; other grids are so deeply entrenched and embedded in an institutional order that they seem to separate that which is truly and essentially separate.
Most importantly, an outside observer cannot take for granted the network’s basic inside operations and attributions. The outside observer cannot stop where the network stops, but digs deeper into the layers and chains of causation. Outside observers do not observe firstlevel whats, but second-level hows. They see what cannot be seen from the inside, decomposing the foundational certainties and invisibilities without which the observed network could not do what it does. That which appears obvious and necessary to the network appears improbable, variable, and contingent to its outside observers.
What they observe or not is, to a large part, up to them, at least as long as they remain, to some extent, “autonomous” or independent. Nothing guarantees, from the beginning, that coupling will occur. Rather, coupling is itself an empirical outcome and accomplishment of a social structure. Theor y after Essentialism • 21 Sociologically, observing is a matter of location in a network. Among other things, network location decides what an observer can and cannot see—as observed by another observer, such as the sociologist of culture, who can also observe only that which can be observed from there, from within sociology of culture.