Historical Social Research

Nina Baur: Process-Oriented Micro-Macro-Analysis. Methodological Reflections on Elias and Bourdieu. [Abstract]

Both Norbert Elias and Pierre Bourdieu argue that both the research question and social theory should guide methodology and methods. Both theorists argue that any social theory should keep in mind the importance of macro-level structures; in micro-level interactions and social change. In order to fully grasp patterns of social change, social scientists would require a complex causal processed-oriented micro-macro-analysis. Because in research practice, it is almost never possible to implement the full methodology, both Elias and Bourdieu used a short-cut by using a six-step methodology, consisting of (1) self-reflexivity and detachment; (2) an explaining of the theoretical perspective; (3) a reconstructing of the figuration’s/field’s socio-genesis; (4) a reconstructing of the micro-level; (5) a reconstructing of the macro-level; and (6) a theoretical synopsis. By using an example on local variation of economic practices, the paper illustrates this six-step methodology and concludes with further questions for future research.

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