Author Archives: Seth Abrutyn

About Seth Abrutyn

Theorist. Institutional evolutionary teleological existentialist. Interested in emotions, social psychology, macro-historical social change, suicide, and why/how patterned thinking, feeling, and doing clusters in some collectives and not others.

Fear and Loathing in the Summer of Covid

As one of Malthus’ four horsemen of human death, disease (& plague & epi/pandemic) has been a central force in human societies. Besides the obvious illness, death, and general misery diseases bring, despite being hidden in plain sight from humans … Continue reading

Posted in Evolution, Musings on Sociological Theory | 2 Comments

Patrimony and Bureaucracy: Explaining the Age of Trump

And now for something completely different…The Daily Beast recently reported that Donald Trump’s son-in-law Jared [Kushner] had been arguing that testing too many people, or ordering too many ventilators, would spook the markets and so we just shouldn’t do it… … Continue reading

Posted in Musings on Sociological Theory | Leave a comment

Cultural Trauma and Total Social Facts

Since Durkheim, sociology has had the habit of looking at psychological phenomena and attempting to co-opt it in the name of social facts and forces. A promising phenomena, one with some relevance for the current COVID pan-pocalypse we are all … Continue reading

Posted in Culture, Emotion, Musings on Sociological Theory | Tagged | 1 Comment

Initial Results: Teaching Grad Theory

Well, the term is over. Not simply because of Covid, but because UBC is on a 13-week semester and class ended last week. I am reporting, unscientifically, initial evidence from my experiment. First, a note on how the class ended … Continue reading

Posted in Teaching | Tagged | 1 Comment

PANIC/GRIEF, or the Pain of Social Distance

Do you feel it? The pain of being stuck inside, apart from the people you love? Apart from the routine movements that fill the rounds of daily life that are blindly taken for granted? The patterns of interaction or exchange … Continue reading

Posted in Emotion, Evolution, Musings on Sociological Theory | 2 Comments

What Is the Point of Sociological Theory?

This morning, I will be embarking on graduate contemporary theory for the eighth time in my career. Every year, it has evolved – sometimes quite significantly – making me the guy who won’t commit to a recurring syllabus and, thereby, … Continue reading

Posted in Musings on Sociological Theory, Teaching | 1 Comment

The Pedagogical Dead-End Known as “Classical” Sociological Theory

This is the first in a series of (increasingly more practical) posts about teaching classical theory; or, perhaps, not teaching it. I have written about  this elsewhere, recently tweeted a thread, and recently recorded two different podcasts (here and here) … Continue reading

Posted in Musings on Sociological Theory, Teaching | 1 Comment

On Institutional Entrepreneurship

For the most part, social scientists either intentionally/unintentionally make vague the unit of selection, or what is being selected on (Runciman 2009; also, a previous post), or turn to the meme or something analogous (Blute 2010; Lenski 2005). But, much cultural evolution … Continue reading

Posted in Evolution, Musings on Sociological Theory, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Sociocultural Evolution: Institutions as Survivor Machines

Like the concept culture, institution has so many definitions that it is may be a useless term in the long-run (for a much more in-depth take, see Abrutyn 2014). Nonetheless, sociology, according to Durkheim (1895), is the science of institutions. Institutions were, for … Continue reading

Posted in Evolution | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

The Nuts and Bolts of Evolution, IV: General Evolution

Having laid out some key aspects of evolution in previous posts (here, here, and here), I want to turn to the two strategies sociologists may follow that biological evolution takes: general and specific evolution. Specific evolution is phylogenetic, or the comparative study … Continue reading

Posted in Evolution, Uncategorized | Tagged , | 2 Comments