Titel: Relational Sociology - A Black Box Conception?
Autor: Rainer Greshoff
The article comments on Peetz’ concept of relational mechanisms. This concept is an alternative to mechanistical explanations of analytical sociology, conceptualized as based on human agents. Peetz criticises this foundation, juxtaposing it with the idea of the analytical primacy of relations. This perspective does not necessarily presuppose agents but can explain their emergence. To demonstrate the efficiency of his concept, he presents an explanation of a concrete mechanism. The analysis of this explanation shows that a crucial point is missing from the concept of relational mechanisms: the steps that produce a social process are never spelt out. Peetz thus presents a black box explanation, which is contrary to the demands of mechanistical explanations. His preference for black box argumentation is owed to his concepts. Unlike an enlightened methodological individualist, he is not in a position to explain the productions necessary for the formation of mechanistical processes.