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Slides Lecture 5. Course: Application of Theories.

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  • Explaining social phenomena based on theories about individual behavior. Lecture Week 4 - Application of Theories Block A 2012/2013Andreas FlacheManu Muoz-Herrera http://manumunozh.wix.com/apptheories
  • Overview: Covered topicsWhat we should know by now
  • Its been 4 weeks Lecture 1 - Brief intro of the course. Aim of the course: How to apply general theories to specic research problems This should be done in a scientically correct way (i.e., Lave and March model) Lecture 2 - Explanations and Predictions What are explanations/predictions in the social sciences Criteria that dene an adequate explanation (i.e., Hempel and Oppenheim model)
  • Its been 4 weeks Lecture 3 - Formal Logic How to formulate and test valid arguments How to generalize and specify concepts and statements Lecture 4 - How to criticize a theory What denes a good explanation (H&O conditions of adequacy) How to criticize a theory (i.e., rational choice theory)
  • In summary What is the structure of a scientic explanation of social phenomena? Criteria for when is an explanation a good explanation- How can we criticize a theory in a fruitful way? Is the theory internally consistent? Can we logically derive the predictions of the theory from the assumptions? Does the theory have empirical content? Can the theory generate testable predictions? Is the theory clearly formulated? Are the concepts in the theory welldened? (e.i., implicit assumptions)
  • What next? Specic sort of explanation in the social sciences: natural approach Starting with assumptions about individual behavior When thinking about a social phenomena, always start thinking aboutthe individuals that caused it. Why do individuals do certain things? Why does the interplay of what many individuals do, create the social phenomena we observe and are interested in explaining?
  • ExampleResidential segregation
  • Example 1: Residential Segregation The case of Amsterdamhttp://www.nrc.nl/nieuws/2012/02/14/statistiek-saai-cbs-cijfers-komen-tot-leven-op-een-kaart/ Proportion of niet-westerse allochtonen (non-western immigrants) The Netherlands has a particular way to trace in great detail the residential composition: The postal code (four digits + two letters). This reduces the composition to units of about 15 households. Think about how do you expect to see the map colored?
  • Example 1: Residential Segregation
  • Example 1: Residential Segregation There is few well-mixed composition, mainly blue (very western) andred (very non-western) There is residential segregation How about Groningen? Think about how do you expect to see the map colored in Groningen?
  • Example 1: Residential Segregation
  • Example 1: Residential Segregation This is an important social phenomenon to be explained There are political, social, economic implications from it Does high levels of segregation in a city show that people want segregated neighborhoods? And, can mapping segregation in a city tell us why there is segregation and what can we do about it?
  • Example 1: Schellings model ofresidential segregationObserved phenomenon:There is residential segregation Why is there residential segregation?Speculation:People are xenophobic, and xenophobic people choose to segregateOr, if considering our phenomenon is the result of an underlying process: Does residential segregation show that people are xenophobic? What other explanations could there be?NetLogo model library - Model: Segregation http://ccl.northwestern.edu/netlogo/models/Segregation
  • Example 1: Schellings model ofresidential segregation Even if people dont want to live in segregated neighborhoods it will emerge as a consequence of individual behavior. Even if there are no other mechanisms into consideration (i.e., house pricing, income inequality, and off course preferences) This can be observed in other places, such as the U.S.
  • Empirical Results on residentialpreferences in U.S. The individual level: Empirical results on residential preferences in U.S. Data from Metropolitan Study of Urban Inequality Data from Metropolitan Clark and Fosset, 2008 Study of Urban Inequality The most common response Clark and Fosset, 2008 sets for ideal neighborhoods are Their summary: in the range of majority or near same-group presence The most common response sets for ideal neighborhoods are in the range of majority or near majority same-group presence.
  • What have we seen? The interplay of individual actions can bring about, at the social level, somethingthat is not really a one-to-one translation. It is not straightforwards to say that because individuals can be satised with integrated neighborhoods, there will be integrated neighborhoods This is a very important starting point to think about the difference betweencollectivistic and individualistic explanations in the social sciences.
  • Aims of the lecture
  • In this lecture we will: Understand the differences between a collectivistic and anindividualistic explanation. Learn how to construct individualistic explanations of collectivephenomena. Understand the concept of emergence.
  • Part 1: Collectivistic andIndividualistic explanations
  • Phenomena in Sociology Sociology is concerned with macro phenomena Macro phenomena describe collectivities such as groups, organizations,neighborhoods, cities, countries, societies. They are distinguished from individual (micro) phenomena which are studied by psychologists. Examples cover phenomena such as gross domestic product, birth rate, incomeinequality, social movements (political protest), opinion polarization, voter turnout(percentage of voters going to the elections): We try to understand: Which factors inuence this, or which factors are inuenced by this?
  • Phenomena in SociologyStructural approach to Sociology The whole does not equal the sum of its parts; it is something different,whose properties differ from those displayed by the parts from which it isformed (Durkheim 1982:128)Durkheim Concluded The determining cause of a social fact must be sought among antecedentsocial facts and not among the states of the individual consciousness(Durkheim 1982:134) determine Macro-level Macro-level mile Durkheim 1858-1917
  • The structural or collectivistic approach Collective phenomena can and should only be explained with other collective phenomena. The structural or collectivistic approachCollective phenomena can and should only be explained with differentiation Typical Example: Durkheims theory of social other (Explained by Turnercollective phenomena. 1995:20) - In the process of modernization societies became increasingly differentiated (societiesThis is a typical example from Durkheims work (explicated byTurner 1995: 20): complex): in terms of structure of norms, educational systems. became more Durkheims theory of social differentiation All phenomena which are argued to causally inuence differentiation, are collective All phenomena which are phenomena. argued to causally influence differentiation are collective phenomena
  • The structural or collectivistic approach