Sociology Index


Individualism, a value system, central to classical liberalism and capitalism, upholds choice, personal freedom, and self-orientation. Communitarianism is contrasted to individualism or libertarianism.

Unlike individualism which refers to an individualistic values system, individuation refers to the process by which individualism is accomplished, the breaking down of obligatory ties and responsibilities to other people or to institutions so that the individual is freed from social bond. Such a process must also lead to the adoption of the value of individualism.

Ten Modes of Individualism - None of Which Works - And Their Alternatives
Individualism comes in at least ten modes: ontological, logical, semantic, epistemological, methodological individualism, axiological, praxiological, ethical, historical, and political. Ontological individualism motivates the thesis that relations are n-tuples of individuals, as well as radical reductionism and libertarianism.

It is argued that systemism has all the virtues and none of the defects of individualism and holism. Individualism is a system rather than an unstructured bag of opinions, which raises the question whether thorough and consistent individualism is at all possible. - Mario Bunge, McGill University, Montreal.

Radical Individualism vs. Institutionalism
The Division of Institutionalists into 'Humanists' and 'Behaviorists' - By Paul D. Bush
Thorstein Veblen entertained both "humanistic" and "behavioristic" hypotheses in his explanations of human behavior and consequently descended into obscurantism. John R. Commons believed in humanism, whereas Clarence Ayres was a "behaviorist."

Talcott Parsons’s Sociology of Religion and the Expressive Revolution 
The Problem of Western Individualism
 - Bryan S. Turner, National University of Singapore
Immanuel Kant distinguished between religion as cult in which people seek favours from God through prayer and offerings to bring healing and wealth, and religion as moral action that commands human beings to change their lives. The Kantian distinction was fundamental to Max Weber’s view of the relationship between asceticism and capitalism. Talcott Parsons’s early sociology of religion engaged with this theme in Kant and Weber, but later came to a re-appraisal of David Émile Durkheim. Parsons followed Durkheim in studying individualism as a major transformation of society. A contradiction between individualism as either the legacy of Protestant pietism or the product of modern consumerism. Parsons’s sociology of religion remains distinctive because he did not subscribe to the secularization thesis, but instead saw American liberalism as the fulfilment of Protestant individualism.

Cultural Differences in Individualism? Just Artifact. - Spencer Kagan, G. Lawrence Zahn, University of California
To test the hypothesis of a cultural difference, and to explore the nature of different individualism measures.

George Kateb ­ Department of Politics, Princeton University, Princeton, New Jersey
The historical record shows that democracy inevitably engenders individualism. It is also true that democracy, in reaction, produces antidemocratic individualism. The greatest students of democratic individualism are Plato and Tocqueville, and they are also its profoundest critics.

Individualism - Collectivism: Concept and Measure - John A Wagner, Michael K. Moch 
This article draws attention to the distinction between individualism and collectivism, indicates its importance for organizational scientists, and develops a questionnaire measure of individualism-collectivism.

Reconciling Group Selection and Methodological Individualism 
TODD J. ZYWICKI, George Mason University - School of Law 
Abstract: Methodological individualism underpins economic analysis. In his paper in this volume, however, Douglas Glen Whitman demonstrates that group selection can be reconciled with methodological individualism.

Institutional individualism and institutional change: the search for a middle way mode of explanation - Fernando Toboso, University of Valencia 
After noting the lack of enthusiasm of several well-known scholars concerning the adoption of both methodological holism and methodological individualism, this paper shows that institutional individualism is a different mode of explanation from both of these.

Perception of individualism and collectivism in Dutch society: A developmental approach 
Louis Oppenheimer, University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands.

Individualism and the Formation of Values - Solon T. Kimball, University of Florida.