The Theory of Conjunctural Action

  • Jennifer A. Johnson-Hanks
  • Christine A. Bachrach
  • S. Philip Morgan
  • Hans-Peter Kohler
Part of the Understanding Population Trends and Processes book series (UPTA, volume 5)


This chapter describes the theory of conjunctural action (TCA). In developing it, we draw primarily on the “duality of structure” model developed by Sewell (1992, 2005) in his account of historical change, and on the related models of society and history in Bourdieu (1977, 1998) and Giddens (1979, 1984). However, we also begin to draw on a broad array of recent work in human development and cognition that demonstrates the modularity of mind, its predisposition to particular modes of perception and interpretation, and the importance of environmental inputs for shaping the development of brain, mind, and self (Quinn, Hugenberg, & Bodenhausen, 2004). Just as societies have histories and structures that matter, so too do individuals. One critical argument in our extension and refinement of Sewell’s work concerns its simultaneous application at the individual and social levels.


Cultural Schema Procedural Schema Family Change Schematic Component Social Demography 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jennifer A. Johnson-Hanks
    • 1
  • Christine A. Bachrach
    • 2
  • S. Philip Morgan
    • 3
  • Hans-Peter Kohler
    • 4
  1. 1.Department of DemographyUniversity of California at BerkeleyBerkeleyUSA
  2. 2.ColumbiaUSA
  3. 3.Sociology DepartmentDuke UniversityDurhamUSA
  4. 4.University of Pennsylvania, Population Studies CenterPhiladelphiaUSA

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