Analytical sociology as a universal research programme explaining social phenomena and effective policy making

  • Zuzanna Drożdżak Center for Evaluation and Analysis of Public Policies of the Jagiellonian University
Keywords: analytical sociology, social mechanism, structural individualism, public policies


The abundance of theoretical approaches in sociology does not translate into explanatory potential of this discipline which nowadays too often finds mere description sufficient. Th e proposition of an “analytical sociology paradigm” stems from the disappointment with the indolence of sociology as a science unable to provide causal explanations. The paradigm is based on the concept of structural individualism and assumes that a characteristic of a collective can be derived from a set of characteristics of individuals which are mediated by the social structure. By setting “a social mechanism” as the central element of the explanatory process, this research programme effectively links micro and macrosphere of human activity and its consequences, regardless of whether they are planned or purposively rational. As such, “the analytical sociology” gives hope for a better, more accurate evaluation and design of public policies.