- The Oxford Handbook of Analytical Sociology
- List of Figures
- List of Tables
- About the Contributors
- What is Analytical Sociology All About? An Introductory Essay
- Analytical Sociology and Theories of the Middle Range
- Social Dynamics from the Bottom Up: Agent-Based Models of Social Interaction
- Segregation Dynamics
- Self-Fulfilling Prophecies
- Social Influence: The Puzzling Nature of Success in Cultural Markets
- The Contagiousness of Divorce
- Collective Action
- Conditional Choice
- Network Dynamics
- Threshold Models of Social Influence
- Time and Scheduling
- Homophily and the Focused Organization of Ties
- Dominance Hierarchies
- Game Theory
- Analytic Ethnography
- Historical Sociology
- Name Index
- Subject Index
Abstract and Keywords
This article examines the multiple mechanisms by which beliefs are formed — from observation, social influence/socialization, induction, deduction from other beliefs, adaptation to desire (wishful thinking), and dissonance-reduction mechanisms — as well as the conditions under which each arises and the characteristic processes (and problems) associated with each. The discussion is generally set in a socio-cognitive framework, which is based on the assumption that individuals are motivated by an ‘effort after meaning’. The article first considers the role of categorization in belief formation before turning to inductive reasoning and analogism. It then describes the conditions under which people’s beliefs are particularly likely to be influenced by others, followed by an analysis of the mechanism of dissonance reduction. It suggests that while beliefs are slippery and difficult to nail down, they need to be taken into account in any explanation of action.
Jens Rydgren is Professor of Sociology at Stockholm University. He is working within the fields of political sociology, ethnic relations, and social network analysis. He is the author and editor of several books; most recently he edited Class Politics and the Radical Right (Routledge, 2013). He publishes regularly in leading social science journals, such as the American Journal of Sociology, British Journal of Sociology, European Journal of Political Research, and Social Networks.
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