chapter  7
The Dissolution of the Social?
ByScott Lash, John Urry
Pages 16

This chapter considers a radicalized version of the claim that sociological theory is in a process of dissolution. It explores the issue whether 'the social' itself is in a state of collapse; or, more precisely, whether the social-as conceived by social theory- is in a process of disintegration. Rational choice approaches in politics, especially to explain voting behaviour and the strategies of political parties, have been discussed. Leadership of political groups or trade unions is important in communicating such information and making possible the 'conditional altruism' of the assurance game. Roemer elaborates the notion of exploitation in more conventionally game-theoretic terms. Game theory has a particular contribution to make to Marxist social science, because classes crystallize into collective actors that confront each other over the distribution of income and power, as well as over the nature of property relations. Rival coercive groups in pursuit of self-interest exclude other less organized groups, overload the state, and protect their own place in the national distribution of income and resources.