On limitations of rational choice theory for sociology

  • Blau P
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Abstract

I have criticized rational choice theory, not for confining its analysis to rational behavior in which individuals adapt means to the attainment of their ends, for which it is often criticized, but from a different perspective. The reason is that much individual behavior, though not all, entails rational pursuit of self-interests and that it is legitimate for a theory to confine itself to explaining some aspect of empirical reality and exclude others. The focus of my criticism has rather been that the central task of sociology is not explaining individual behavior but explaining how the structural context of the social environment influences people's life chances.

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Authors

  • Peter M. Blau

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