A population perspective on reflexive social construction

John Sandberg, McGill University

This paper presents the outlines of a demographically based interactionist theory of social reproduction. Building on Ryder’s cohort replacement model, what is proposed here is a methodological individualist theory of reflexive social construction in which distributions of individual characteristics within a population shape the context in which social learning occurs. This learning process simultaneously creates and reshapes those population distributions, setting the context of interaction and learning in the following period. In this sense, this is a theory of the duality of social structure of the type that has a long history in the social sciences and modern social theory. Drawing on schema theory from psychology and anthropology as well as Blau’s theory of macro-structural theory and network analytic perspectives, this paper lays out an empirically tractable model of reflexive social construction predicated on the distribution of individuals in a population and the distribution of characteristics those individuals possess.

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Presented in Poster Session 5: Contexts