File spoon-archives/bhaskar.archive/bhaskar_2003/bhaskar.0307, message 26


Date: Tue, 08 Jul 2003 11:31:54 -0400
Subject: Re: BHA: Content-Transfer-Encoding: 8bit


Hi Lois,

I regard "structure" and "mechanism" as different abstractions from the 
same thing.  "Mechanism" calls attention to the causal powers of 
structures, while "structure" calls attention to the internal relations of 
mechanisms.  Hence the absence of a clear line between them.

Dick



At 12:31 AM 07/07/2003 +0100, you wrote:
>Dear all
>
>I need help on the differences between the concepts of structures and
>mechanisms in critical realism. I'm having some difficulties to deal
>with their differences.
>
>Its clear for me that events are the outcome of the functioning of
>mechanisms possesed by structures.
>
>I've read the definitions in Sayer (Methods...) and Danemark et al
>(Explaining Society..) and its clear for me that the concept of
>structure refers to "a set of internally related objects". I dont have
>problems with that. However, sometimes it seems to me that there is no
>clear line between them.
>
>For example.
>
>Danemark et al take an example of a sociological study by Roman, 1994,
>about gender segregation in the labour market to illustrate
>conceptualizations in the research process from a critical realist
>framework.
>
>They mention (in figure 4) that there are "structures" of working life
>that gives rise to "mechanism" like "male dominance in number" that
>under certain conditions resulting in difficulties for women (events).
>
>Nevertheless, for me "male dominance in number" could be seen as an
>event.This is my kind of confussion.
>
>I would appreciate a formal definition that could explain particularly
>the differences between structure and mechanism.
>
>Sorry if I'm not enough clear in my question.
>
>
>Thanks to all
>
>Luis Riffo
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