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How Institutions Think (Frank W. Abrams Lectures) Paperback – July 1, 1986
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Top Customer Reviews
Mary Douglas admits in the early chapters of the text that this is the book she should have written first. Many of her earlier books, including Purity and Danger and Natural Symbols attracted critical acclaim but failed to make her theoretical orientations explicit. Her approach is in a minority position in contemporary social science and is informed by the sociology of Durkheim as practiced in anthropology in the first half of this century.
As with all of her books, HIT is a great pleasure to read and she illuminates critical academic concerns with in a voice that is engaging. The book was written as a response to Olson's 'Logic of Action' and so focuses on demonstrating the contrary position that collective action does have rational foundations.
This is a short text which serves as a useful introduction. It is impossible to understand the breadth of Douglas' profound insights without also reading 'Implicit Meanings', 'Purity and Danger' and 'Risk and Blame'.
Some scientific ideas enter the world, readily accepted and widely read by an eager scholarly community. Others languish - but not because they are of a lesser quality, and not even because they are incorrect. Ludwig Fleck's book on the discovery of syphilis titled "The Genesis and Development of a Scientific Fact" (Entstehung und Entwicklung einer wissenschaftlichen Tatsache), was one of the latter. Anticipating a sort of social constructivism, Fleck said that scientific ideas are accepted or rejected into a canon for reasons not because of their inherent worth, but because certain social conditions (Fleck called these "thought-conditions" or "thought collectives") allow or disallow their admittance. The Denkkollecktiv is a whole matrix of social circumstances, thoughts, and assumptions that envelop the scientific project.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I bought this book expecting to find a scientific analysis the functioning of institution. I was expecting to find a list of the facts relevant to the functioning of institution,... Read morePublished on January 28, 2014 by James Sell
Without doubt, one of the best books of M. Douglas that shows us how our understanding and thinking structures through institutions. Read morePublished on May 3, 2013 by Adrian Groglopo