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Atenea (Concepción)

On-line version ISSN 0718-0462


SAEZ GARCIA, Alvaro. Dependence and autonomy of the social in social theory: Rethinking causality. Atenea (Concepc.) [online]. 2012, n.505, pp.219-237. ISSN 0718-0462.

Independence and emergence of society as an autonomous reality tends to be a common starting point to integrate into social sciences, in particular, in sociology. This article argues that this assumption isn’t entirely correct because there are different forms and levels in which society expresses its dependency. In this article we analyze the particular dependency that is maintained with the material environment. This dependency is shown through the analysis of some of social science’s own theories, taking as examples the theoretical work of three disciplines: sociology (Niklas Luhmann), anthropology (Marvin Harris) and history (Fernand Braudel). The demonstration involves expanding the concept of causality and its application in the theories previously mentioned, thus allowing us to conclude that there is an inverse relationship between emergence and causation. This relationship permits a more clear observation of the boundaries from which society and other systems can effectively self-define themselves as autonomous.

Keywords : Social theory; causality; causation; autonomy; independence; material environment.

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