Beyond the Manifesto: Mustafa Emirbayer and Relational Sociology



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 seeks to situate Emirbayer’s Manifesto essay within 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. We then 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.


  1. Abbott, Andrew. 1997. Of Time and Space: The Contemporary Relevance of the Chicago School. Social Forces 75: 1149–1182.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. ———. 1999. Department and Discipline: Chicago Sociology at One Hundred. Chicago: Univerisity of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  3. ———. 2016. Processual Sociology. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Addams, Jane. 2002 [1902]. Democracy and Social Ethics. Urbana, IL: University of Illinois Press.Google Scholar
  5. Bourdieu, Pierre. 1979. Algeria 1960: The Disenchantment of the World; the Sense of Honor: The Kabyle House or the World Reversed. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  6. ———. 1984 [1979]. Distinction: A Social Critique of the Judgment of Taste. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  7. ———. 1990 [1980]. The Logic of Practice. Cambridge: Polity.Google Scholar
  8. ———. 2000 [1997]. Pascalian Meditations. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press.Google Scholar
  9. ———. 2008. The Bachelors’ Ball: The Crisis of Peasant Society in Béarn. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  10. Bourdieu, Pierre, and Loïc J.D. Wacquant. 1992. An Invitation to Reflexive Sociology. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  11. Bulmer, Martin. 1984. The Chicago School of Sociology: Institutionalization, Diversity, and the Rise of Sociological Research. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  12. Dépelteau, François. 2008. Relational Thinking: A Critique of Co-deterministic Theories of Structure and Agency. Sociological Theory 26: 51–73.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Desmond, Matthew. 2016. Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City. New York: Crown Publishers.Google Scholar
  14. Desmond, Matthew, and Mustafa Emirbayer. 2009. What Is Racial Domination? Du Bois Review 6: 335–355.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Dewey, John. 1958 [1925]. Experience and Nature. New York: Dover Publications.Google Scholar
  16. ———. 1966 [1916]. Democracy and Education. New York: Free Press.Google Scholar
  17. ———. 1980 [1929]. The Quest for Certainty: A Study of the Relation of Knowledge and Action. New York: Perigee Books.Google Scholar
  18. ———. 2002 [1922]. Human Nature and Conduct. Amherst, NY: Prometheus Books.Google Scholar
  19. Dewey, John, and Arthur F. Bentley. 1949. Knowing and the Known. Boston: Beacon Press.Google Scholar
  20. Donati, Pierpaolo. 2011. Relational Sociology: A New Paradigm for the Social Sciences. New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  21. Donati, Pierpaolo, and Margaret S. Archer. 2015. The Relational Subject. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Emirbayer, Mustafa. 1996. Useful Durkheim. Sociological Theory 14: 109–130.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. ———. 1997. Manifesto for a Relational Sociology. American Journal of Sociology 103: 281–317.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. ———. 2010. Tilly and Bourdieu. The American Sociologist 41: 400–422.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. ———. 2013. Relational Sociology as Fighting Words. In Conceptualizing Relational Sociology: Ontological and Theoretical Issues, ed. C. Powell and F. Dépelteau, 209–211. New York: Palgrave Macmillian.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Emirbayer, Mustafa, and Matthew Desmond. 2012. Race and Reflexivity. Ethnic and Racial Studies 35: 574–599.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. ———. 2015. The Racial Order. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Emirbayer, Mustafa, and Chad Alan Goldberg. 2005. Pragmatism, Bourdieu, and Collective Emotions in Contentious Politics. Theory and Society 34: 469–518.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Emirbayer, Mustafa, and Jeff Goodwin. 1994. Network Analysis, Culture, and the Problem of Agency. American Journal of Sociology 99: 1411–1454.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Emirbayer, Mustafa, and Victoria Johnson. 2008. Bourdieu and Organization Analysis. Theory and Society 37: 1–44.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Emirbayer, Mustafa, and Douglas W. Maynard. 2011. Pragmatism and Ethnomethodology. Qualitative Sociology 34: 221–261.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Emirbayer, Mustafa, and Ann Mische. 1998. What Is Agency? American Journal of Sociology 103: 962–1023.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Emirbayer, Mustafa, and Eric Schneiderhan. 2012. Dewey and Bourdieu on Democracy. In Bourdieu and Historical Analysis, ed. P.S. Gorski, 131–157. Durham, SC: Duke University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Emirbayer, Mustafa, and Eva M. Williams. 2005. Bourdieu and Social Work. Social Service Review 79: 689–724.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Gross, Neil. 2009. A Pragmatist Theory of Social Mechanisms. American Sociological Review 74: 358–379.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Joas, Hans. 1993. Pragmatism and Social Theory. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  37. ———. 1996. The Creativity of Action. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  38. Liu, Sida, and Mustafa Emirbayer. 2016. Field and Ecology. Sociological Theory 34: 62–79.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Martin, John Levi. 2011. The Explanation of Social Action. Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Mead, George Herbert. 1983 [1932]. The Philosophy of the Present. Chicago: Open Court Publishing Co.Google Scholar
  41. Mische, Ann. 2011. Relational Sociology, Culture, and Agency. In The SAGE Handbook of Social Network Analysis, ed. J. Scott and P.J. Carrington, 80–97. London: Sage Publications Ltd.Google Scholar
  42. Monk, Ellis. 2016. Book Review of the Racial Order. American Journal of Sociology 122: 620–622.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Park, Robert, and Ernest W. Burgess. 1969 [1921]. Introduction to the Science of Sociology. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  44. Paulle, Bowen, Bart van Herrikhuizen, and Mustafa Emirbayer. 2012. Elias and Bourdieu. Journal of Classical Sociology 12: 69–93.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Peirce, Charles S. 1992. The Fixation of Belief. In The Essential Peirce: Selected Philosophical Writings, Volume 1: 1867–1893, ed. N. Houser and C. Kloesel, 109–123. Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press.Google Scholar
  46. Thomas, William I., and Florian Znaniecki. 1918–1920. The Polish Peasant in Europe and American: Monograph of an Immigrant Group. Boston: Gorham Press.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of Wisconsin-MadisonMadisonUSA
  2. 2.University of TorontoTorontoCanada

Personalised recommendations