Sociology has been often defined as a science of “social relations”. The
aim of this article is to contribute to the clarification of this
concept. I take into account only two classic analytical sociologies —
those developed by Max Weber and by Florian Znaniecki.
These sociologies seem to me only partly useful for the analysis of
macroscale (ethnic, racial, industrial, and international) problems.
They refer to human individual interactions within social
collectivities, and not between them. If we follow
expressis verbis the individualistic aspects of
Weber’s model and the analytical aspects of Znaniecki’s theory, it would
be difficult to base empirical investigations of social relations. The
situation changes when we depart from the classics’ ways of construction
of the concepts of social relation and concentrate on the implication of
the concept presented by the same authors. Fortunately, the research
practices of both scholars encourage us to abandon a literal
interpretation of their models. They present a variety of interesting
typologies of social relations and social objects between which these
relations can exist.