Working Paper 2017-02

June 23, 2017 by Sherri Klassen

Beyond the Manifesto: Mustafa Emirbayer and Relational Sociology

Lily Liang, University of Wisconsin-Madison

Sida Liu, University of Toronto

UT Sociology Working Paper No. 2017-02

June 2017

Keywords: relational sociology, pragmatism, Emirbayer, Dewey, Bourdieu


Mustafa Emirbayer’s “Manifesto for a Relational Sociology” calls for a process-in-time understanding of the unfolding interaction between structure and agency that reproduces and transforms practical action. This chapter seek to situate Emirbayer’s Manifesto essay in his broader intellectual pursuits in the direction of relational sociology. We begin the chapter by outlining the dynamic interplay among structure, culture, and agency on which Emirbayer builds his research agenda for relational sociology. Then we examine the enduring influences of John Dewey and Pierre Bourdieu on Emirbayer’s relational thinking. Finally, we discuss Emirbayer and Desmond’s research agenda for studying the racial order in America as a prototype of Emirbayerian relational sociology in practice.