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Mécanismes sociaux et sociologie analytique

Colloque international, Paris, Université de la Sorbonne, 17-18 octobre 2008

publié le lundi 13 octobre 2008

Domaine : Sociologie


The concept of mechanism has been widely used throughout the history of social sciences in general and in sociology in particular. Most classical writers of sociological tradition (for instance Tocqueville, Marx, Durkheim or Weber) can be said to have spontaneously built some mechanism-based explanations. Nevertheless, the notion of mechanism has been rarely explored as such. A critical change occurred with the 1996 Stockholm conference which focused on the concept of social mechanism itself. Since, this intellectual movement has continued to expand. A renewed attention to the concept seems to be in progress also in economics, in political science, in history or in criminology.

In sociology, the concept of mechanism has been moreover linked to the notion of “analytical” sociology and, more recently, to some computational methods. These developments generate a new specific literature, but give birth to a new series of problems (as, for example, the rapport between ”analytical sociology” and “analytical philosophy’, or the relation between “analytical sociology” and quantitative, mathematical or computational sociology).

Ten years after the papers published in Social Mechanisms : an Analytical Approach to Social Theory it is time to have a new synthesis, and explore the difficulties that appeared through the recent developments of the approach.

The conference aims to do it from four points of view :
- theoretical, regarding the kind of action, reasons and interactions that the concept of mechanism supposes, and regarding its differences in relation to concepts such as “process” and “narrative” ;
- methodological, regarding the ways to implement the concept of mechanisms for empirical research and policy analysis, ;
- epistemological, considering its implications for the debate about causality and realism ;
- historical, regarding the use of the concept in history of sociological thought.


Friday 17 October

09:00-09:15 Pierre DEMEULENAERE, University of Paris-Sorbonne

Session 1 - Chair : Peter HEDSTRÖM, Oxford University

9:15-9:45 Raymond BOUDON, University of Paris- Sorbonne, Institut de France (ASMP)
Ordinary Rationality : The Backbone of ‘Analytical Sociology’ ?

9:45-10:00 Discussion

10:00-10.30 Dan SPERBER, CNRS (Institut Jean Nicod), Paris
Articulating Social and Cognitive Mechanisms

10:30-10:45 Discussion


11:00-11:30 Mohamed CHERKAOUI, CNRS (GEMAS), Paris
Some Generative Mechanisms of the Intellectual Production : The Three Markets Theory

11:30-11:45 Discussion

11:45-12:15 Robert SAMPSON, Harvard University
Neighborhood-Effect Mechanisms, Causality, and the Social Structure of the City

12:15-12:30 Discussion

Session 2 - Chair : Mario DIANI, University of Trento

14:30-15:00 Jon ELSTER, Collège de France
Emotional Mechanisms

15:00-15:15 Discussion

15:15-15:30 Michel FORSÉ, CNRS (Centre Maurice Halbwachs), Paris
Is the Construction of Norms of Justice a Matter of Mechanisms ?

15:30-15:45 Discussion


16:00-16:30 Filippo BARBERA & Nicola NEGRI, University of Turin
Analytical Sociology and Social Structure

16:30-16:45 Discussion

16:45-17:15 Emmanuel LAZEGA, University of Paris-Dauphine
The Social Mechanisms of Cooperation among Competitors

17:15-17.30 Discussion

Saturday 18 October

Session 3 - Chair : Gianluca MANZO, CNRS (GEMAS), Paris

9:15-9:45 Peter HEDSTRÖM, Nuffield College, University of Oxford
Middle-range Analytics

9:45-10:00 Discussion

10:00-10:30 Peter ABELL, London School of Economics
Infrequent Mechanisms and Bayesian Narratives

10:30-10:45 Discussion


11:00-11:30 François CHAZEL, University of Paris-Sorbonne
Les perspectives de sociologie analytique ouvertes par Talcott Parsons

11.30-11:45 Discussion

11:45-12:15 Philippe STEINER, University of Paris-Sorbonne
Social Mechanism and Tension : a Neo-Weberian Approach

12:15-12:30 Discussion

Session 4 - Chair : Pierre DEMEULENAERE, University of Paris-Sorbonne

14:15-14:45 Michael MACY, Cornell University
Social Mechanisms and Generative Explanations : Computational Models with Double Agents

14:45-15:00 Discussion

15:00-15:30 Keith SAWYER, Washington University
Conversation as Mechanism : Emergence in Creative Groups

15:30-15:45 Discussion


16:00-16:30 Petri YLIKOSKI, University of Helsinki
Social Mechanisms and the Problem of Explanatory Relevance

16:30-16:45 Discussion

16:45 -17:15 Michael SCHMID, Bundeswehr Munich University
The Logic of Mechanistic Explanations in Social Science

17:15-17:30 Discussion

17:30-17:45 Gianluca MANZO, CNRS (GEMAS), Paris


Conference organized with the support of :
• Centre d’études sociologiques de la Sorbonne (CESS, Paris IV Sorbonne)
• Conseil scientifique (Paris IV Sorbonne)
• École doctorale 5 - Concepts et Langages (Paris IV Sorbonne)
• Institut des sciences humaines appliquées (ISHA, Paris IV Sorbonne)
• Centre national de la recherche scientifique (CNRS)
• Groupe d’étude des méthodes de l’analyse sociologique (GEMAS, CNRS)

Note de la rédaction

Colloque organisé par :
- Centre d’Études Sociologiques de la Sorbonne (CESS)
- Groupe d’Étude des Méthodes de l’Analyse Sociologique (GEMAS)

Université Paris-Sorbonne
Maison de la Recherche
28 rue Serpente, 75006 PARIS
Salle D035
Métro : Odéon ou Saint-Michel

Scientific Organization

- Pierre DEMEULENAERE, University Paris-Sorbonne
- Gianluca MANZO, CNRS (GEMAS), Paris

Contact and Information
- Annie DEVINANT :
- Alexandra FRÉNOD :

À lire aussi dans la rubrique "Rencontres"

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Conférence, Lyon, ENS, mardi 27 avril 2010, 18h-20h


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