Concepts in Action

Conceptual Constructivism


Rather than treating concepts and their application in a static and iconic manner, Concepts in Action provides us with examples of the active and creative use of concepts for constructing and generating new knowledge. Examples of theoretic constructions and topics discussed refers to the function of theory in main stream sociology; concepts enabling us to expand the range of interpretations; a critical view and approach to general concepts of culture, nature and consumption; concepts dealing with organization, institutions and actors; and examples of travelling concepts such as class, gender, race and social recognition. Concepts in Action follows on the earlier Theory in Action (2016) as part of a three volume project broadening our understanding of the interplay of theory and methods. The forthcoming third volume will focus on the strategy of constructing and analyzing the object in social science. This volume is highly relevant for researchers and students interested in theoretical construction in the social sciences. Contributors are: Göran Ahrne, Mette Andersson, Harriet Bjerrum Nielsen, Anne Britt Flemmen, Antje Gimmler, Willy Guneriussen, Roar Hagen, Raimund Hasse, Håkon Leiulfsrud, Willy Martinussen, John Scott, Peter Sohlberg, Pål Strandbakken, Richard Swedberg and Erik Olin Wright.
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Biographical Note

Håkon Leiulfsrud, Ph.D. (1991), Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU), is Professor in Sociology at that university. He has published widely with a special interest in social inequality, class and social stratification, labour market and welfare state issues, and teaches sociological theory, social inequality and the welfare state, and research methods. Peter Sohlberg, Ph.D. (1997), Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU), is Professor in Philosophy of Social Science at that university. He has published in a wide spectrum, covering philosophy of science, sociology and social psychology, and teaches social theory and philosophy of social science since the early 1990s.

Table of contents

Preface List of Illustrations Notes on Contributors 1 Conceptual Constructionism: An IntroductionPeter Sohlberg and Håkon Leiulfsrud 2 On the Near Disappearance of Concepts in Mainstream SociologyRichard Swedberg

Part 1: Methodological Programs and Applications

3 What Do We Do with Norms—Conform, Break, Understand or Explain?Peter Sohlberg 4 ColligationRichard Swedberg 5 Sensitizing Concepts in Action: Expanding the FrameworkAnne Britt Flemmen

Part 2: Culture, Nature and Consumption

6 Culture as a Sociological ConceptWilly Martinussen 7 Bringing Nature Back InWilly Guneriussen 8 The Study of Consumption in Sociology—Beyond Utility TheoryPål Strandbakken

Part 3: Social Structure, Organizations and Institutions

9 Social StructureJohn Scott 10 The Organization of ActionGöran Ahrne 11 About Actors: An Institutional PerspectiveRaimund Hasse 12 The Family and Interwoven ConceptsHåkon Leiulfsrud 13 Collective Action: Why is it so Difficult for the Social Sciences to Grasp the Rational Aspects of Collective Action?Roar Hagen

Part 4: Class, Gender, Race and Social Recognition

14 The Status of the Political in the Concept of Class StructureErik Olin Wright 15 Gender as Analytic, Political and Interdisciplinary ConceptHarriet Bjerrum Nielsen 16 Race: A Contested and Travelling ConceptMette Andersson 17 Recognition: Conceptualization and ContextAntje Gimmler Index


All interested in social theory, and anyone concerned with theory application as a methodological problem.