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Invisible Elbow

Charles Tilly
Sociological Forum
Vol. 11, No. 4 (Dec., 1996), pp. 589-601
Published by: Springer
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/684906
Page Count: 13
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Invisible Elbow
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Abstract

Compared to standards of efficiency or intention, social interaction entails incessant error followed by error-correction. Most order in social structures and processes therefore results not from rational action but from constraints on the correction of errors. Analytically but not concretely we can separate those constraints into culture (historically accumulated shared understandings and their representations) and previously established social relations. Counterfactual accounts, which are crucial to social explanation, acquire their validity from the accurate mapping and explanation of changes in culture and social relations, including their impact on error-correction.

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