CAIRN-INT.INFO : International Edition

During the last two decades, neo-structural sociology has developed a theory of collective action based on observation and modeling of generic social processes (solidarities and exclusions, collective learning and socialization, regulation and institutionalization, social control and conflict resolution) and relational infrastructures that help members in managing the dilemmas of their collective action. This approach has neglected the macrosocial determinants of such forms of coordination and social discipline that members consider legitimate. In this paper, we frame this issue by theorizing the co-constitution of meso and macro levels. To do this, we start with mobility and relational turnover as analyzers of the articulation of stratification and organization and suggest that a sociological approach should build on the observation of these phenomena to measure social costs of synchronization between the dynamics and coevolution of both superposed levels of agency. This approach is closely related to recent work on dynamics of multilevel networks that suggest the possibility of measuring these social costs of synchronization, and inequalities that come attached. This can be done by identifying and recognizing the importance of social forms at intermediary levels of action, between interpersonal and inter-organizational networks, that are transformed into formal organizations by actors seeking power and « tools with a life of their own » (Selznick). We end by suggesting how such an approach could help understand the emergence of new forms of coordination in various domains of organized collective action (companies, non profit organizations, public administration, markets).


  • Mobility
  • relational turnover
  • dynamic networks
  • multilevel networks
  • synchronization
  • relational infrastructures
  • organizational society
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