Social Structure and Social Relations


Dave Elder-Vass
Department of SociologyUniversity of EssexWivenhoe ParkColchesterCO4 3SQUnited Kingdom


This paper replies to Porpora, King, and Varela's responses to my earlier paper “For Emergence”, focussing on the relationship between the concepts of social structure and social relations. It recognises the importance of identifying the mechanisms responsible whenever we make claims for the emergence of causal powers, and discusses the mechanism underlying one case of social structure: normative institutions. It also shows how critical realism reconciles the claims that both social structures and human individuals have emergent causal powers that combine to produce actual social events.