• Table of Contents
    • Abstract
    • Keywords
    • Article
      • The emergence of rational-choice sociology
      • Empirical research
      • The standing of rational-choice sociology within the discipline
      • Sociological and economic versions of rational-choice theory
      • Concluding remarks
    • See Also
    • Bibliography
    • How to cite this article

rational choice and sociology

Peter Hedström and Charlotta Stern
From The New Palgrave Dictionary of Economics, Second Edition, 2008
Edited by Steven N. Durlauf and Lawrence E. Blume
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Abstract

Rational-choice theorizing has a long tradition within sociology, but has always been controversial and contested. Yet it has influenced the theoretical vocabulary of the discipline at large and has made deep inroads into some important sociological areas such as social movements, social mobility, and religion. Most sociological rational-choice theories assume that actors act rationally in a broad sense, and focus on the aggregate outcomes that individual actors in interaction with one another are likely to bring about. This article reviews the most important contributions to the rational-choice tradition in sociology, and briefly discusses its historical past and its likely future.
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Keywords

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Article

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See Also

We wish to thank Peter Abell, Filippo Barbera, Larry Blume, Richard Breen, Diego Gambetta, John Goldthorpe, Siegwart Lindenberg, Lars Udehn, Peyton Young, and Victor Nee for their useful comments.
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How to cite this article

Hedström, Peter and Charlotta Stern. "rational choice and sociology." The New Palgrave Dictionary of Economics. Second Edition. Eds. Steven N. Durlauf and Lawrence E. Blume. Palgrave Macmillan, 2008. The New Palgrave Dictionary of Economics Online. Palgrave Macmillan. 20 December 2014 <http://www.dictionaryofeconomics.com/article?id=pde2008_R000249> doi:10.1057/9780230226203.1387

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