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Why social relations matter for politics and successful societies

Hall, Peter A. and Lamont, Michèle (2013) Why social relations matter for politics and successful societies. Annual Review of Political Science, 16 (1). pp. 49-71. ISSN 1094-2939

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Identification Number: 10.1146/annurev-polisci-031710-101143


Political science can gain from incorporating richer conceptions of social relations into its analyses. In place of atomistic entities endowed with assets but few social relationships, social actors should be seen as relational entities embedded in social and cultural structures that connect them to others in multifaceted ways. Understanding those relationships requires a deeper understanding of how institutional and cultural frameworks interact to condition the terrain for social action. More intensive dialogue with sociology can inform such an understanding. We review the analytical tools cultural sociology now offers those interested in such a perspective and illustrate it in operation in studies of inequalities in population health and the effects of neoliberalism. We close by outlining several issues to which this perspective can usefully be applied, including the problems of understanding social resilience, how societies build collective capacities, and why some institutions remain robust while others deteriorate.

Item Type: Article
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Additional Information: © 2013 The Authors
Divisions: European Institute
Subjects: J Political Science > JA Political science (General)
Date Deposited: 04 Nov 2013 15:59
Last Modified: 15 Sep 2023 14:47

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