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The Construction of Social Bonds

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The Construction of Social Bonds

A Relational Theory of Globalization, Organizations and Society

9781789909449 Edward Elgar Publishing
Göran Ahrne, Professor Emeritus, Department of Sociology, Stockholm University, Sweden
Publication Date: November 2021 ISBN: 978 1 78990 944 9 Extent: 160 pp
This engaging and timely book demonstrates how a deeper understanding of theories about organizations are necessary for the development of a relational sociology and provides an in-depth explanation of globalization and social change. It also examines how social bonds are constructed through combinations of different forms of communication and investigates the bonds of intimate relationships and partially organized relationships such as street gangs, brotherhoods, and social movements.

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This engaging and timely book demonstrates how a deeper understanding of theories about organizations are necessary for the development of a relational sociology and provides an in-depth explanation of globalization and social change. It also examines how social bonds are constructed through combinations of different forms of communication and investigates the bonds of intimate relationships and partially organized relationships such as street gangs, brotherhoods, and social movements.

Göran Ahrne addresses the five key organizational elements: membership, rules, monitoring, sanctions, and hierarchy and illustrates this detailed analysis with examples of organizations ranging from rock groups and mafias, to global organizations such as Google, and meta-organizations such as FIFA.  Drawing on extensive research with co-authors, Ahrne reviews how both old and new relationships expand, change and remain together amongst globalization and social change.

This insightful book will be an invaluable resource for researchers and students in organizational studies as well as those studying sociology.  It will also provide useful guidance for sociologists and theorists interested in social and organization theories.
Critical Acclaim
‘Göran Ahrne starts his deep-reaching argument for a relational sociology with what most social scientists would seldom admit, that we really do not know how to define society, or structure, or system, or lifeworld or even individual. Ahrne goes back to the forefathers and to a plethora of more recent others to advocate for a sociology that can describe and analyze today’s world with (apparently simple) concepts like social bond, social relationship, and organization. He shows that we do not need to divide the world into micro and macro levels, and even less into different societies that follow the boundaries of nation-states. Looking at how different kinds of new bonds are formed and organized into ordered systems of rules, governed by authority, he succeeds in bringing back in organizations of different kinds and scope, from families to the meta-organizations of world soccer and the world-wide-web. We should thank him for proposing a much better and simpler access to this new multi-tiered world.’
– Magali Sarfatti Larson, Temple University, US

‘Göran Ahrne begins with a master class in social analysis. He follows this up with compelling ideas about the reconstitution of social relations in a globalising world. The new forms of organised relationships envisaged - often just outside the range of conventional scholarship - are revelatory. In sum, this book is a bold assertion of the importance of social relationships and the social sphere in an emerging world more often exclusively defined in terms of concentrations of political and economic power.’
– Stephen Ackroyd, University of Lancaster, UK

‘Göran Ahrne is one of the most creative sociologists in Europe and the author of a number of important studies, mainly in the areas of organization and everyday life. In this new volume he has produced a highly interesting synthesis of what is new and old in his thinking about society. His concept of social bonds is very innovative and helpful. Researchers, students and libraries should all get a copy.’
– Richard Swedberg, Cornell University, US
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