Analyse & Kritik
Journal of Philosophy and Social Theory
Ed. by Baurmann, Michael / Leist, Anton / Tranow, Ulf
Social Mechanisms and Empirical Research in the Field of Sociology of the Family: The Case of Separation and Divorce
During the last decades, social mechanisms have been broadly discussed in general sociology, but, in family sociology, they seem to be non-existent. Therefore, the first aim of this paper is to show that., although the term can hardly be found, prominent theoretical ideas use more or less explicitly mechanistic explanations. Focusing on the determinants of separation can show that all arguments connect (structural) input with (social) outcome and search for theoretical explanations in the sense of social mechanisms. We will demonstrate how macro-structural traits are mechanistically connected with individual variables and how they lead to a stable or fragile partnership. As often mentioned, “mechanism-based storytelling” (Hedström/Ylikoski 2010, 64) should be accompanied by empirical research. Therefore, in a simple statistical model in the second part, we will show the results of our testing of some examples of well-known variables for the explanation of separations. It will show how correlations can be mechanistically explained and not simply statistically described.