The Troika of Sociology, Political Science and Economics
Elgar original reference
Edited by Gert Tingaard Svendsen and Gunnar Lind Haase Svendsen
Chapter 4: Grid-Group Analysis
* D. Douglas Caulkins 4.1 Introduction: the development of a framework British anthropologist Mary Douglas (1921–2007) insisted that anthropological theory should be useful in the study of complex industrial societies. ‘If she had to be recalled for a single achievement’, contends her biographer, Richard Fardon (2007), ‘it would be as the anthropologist who took the techniques of a particularly vibrant period of research into nonwestern societies and applied them to her own, western milieu.’ Douglas used insights from small-scale societies to develop a two-dimensional theoretical framework, grid-group analysis, that reveals four diﬀerent but relatively stable forms of social organization that incorporate diﬀerent types and degrees of social capital. In keeping with the ‘troika’ theme of this volume, Douglas’s work had an impact on other social sciences, including economics (Douglas and Isherwood, 1979), political science (Douglas and Wildavsky, 1983; Thompson et al., 1990) and sociology and anthropology (Mars, 1982; Gross and Rayner, 1985; Caulkins and Peters, 2002). Until shortly before her death, Mary Douglas pursued the implications of her theoretical perspective for some of our most challenging social problems, such as the confrontation between mainstream societies and paramilitary enclave organizations, such as Al Qaeda. A theoretical framework of wide utility, Grid/group analysis underwent a long process of elaboration by Mary Douglas and others (Douglas, 1978, 1989, 1992; Douglas and Wildavsky, 1982; Mars, 1982; Mars and Nicod, 1984; Gross and Rayner, 1985; Schwarz and Thompson, 1990; Thompson et al., 1990, 1999; Douglas and Ney, 1998), following the ﬁrst publication of...
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