Re[2]: Must "Society" be Abstract?

Thu, 27 Oct 1994 13:56:49 CST

I thank K.E. Smith for forwarding B. Austin's reaction to my post
arguing, contra M. Lieber (whose contributions to anthro-l are
considerable), that one *can* think of a society--or any other kind of
social group--as a rather concrete entity. I am glad to hear that some
sociologists are seeing things this way too, and are interpreting sense
of unity as an empirical variable rather than as a definitional
requirement. When we insist on treating social groups, and entire
societies, as real things in time and space, we lay the groundwork for
scientific progress; when we fail to do so, we instead begin wandering
off into the wilderness of epistemological relativism and, ultimately,
nihilism. --Bob Graber