“Everything in the human world has four aspects” states sociologist Randall Collins, and I couldn’t agree more. For his view of sociology, these four aspects are the Social, the Political, the Cultural, and the Economic.
These four requisites are adapted from Talcott Parsons, who was Collins’ undergraduate teacher. Parsons’ four requisites were named differently, and together they are known as the “AGIL” model. “A” stood for Adaptation, “G” for Goal-attainment, “I” for Integration, and “L” for Latency. It was also called the Structural-Functional model of society. Besides the change in names, Collins also says that the functionalism inherent in Parsons’ model has been downplayed in his because a biological, functional approach cannot model conflict, which is pervasive in human interaction.
Collins wrote a book on the historical “sociology” of philosophies, “The Sociology of Philosophies”. This book was the reason I first noted Collins, but I haven’t studied the book in any detail to note if any fourness falls out of the analysis. This kind of historical and organizational model of philosophy seems to be popular, and several others have attempted to compile something similar.
Collins also wrote “Four Sociological Traditions”, a history of sociology organized around the development of four classic schools of thought: the conflict tradition of Marx and Weber, the ritual solidarity of Durkheim, the microinteractionist tradition of Mead, Blumer, and Garfinkel, and the utilitarian/rational choice tradition. This book was the second reason I noted Collins, but not having read the book, I wasn’t sure how to interpret these four schools as a four-fold.
Books by Randall Collins:
Four Sociological Traditions
The Sociology of Philosophies : a global theory of intellectual change
Philosophical Family Trees:
[*3.79, *4.6, *4.7, *9.7, *9.68, *9.71]
2 thoughts on “The Four Requisites of Randall Collins”
I’m really glad to learn of this one. Thanks for posting it.