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Howard Becker's Theory of Collective Action

Becker's Theory of Collective Action is about what govern cooperative relations, e.g. in an artistic project. As such, it probably gives us a good understanding of at least some manifestation of the social aspect of reality.

It sees the world as interdependent systems, as components of a social world, each with a particular purpose of meaning. It so happens that Becker's systems are qualified by various aspects:

In this, Becker is recognising the embeddedness of the social aspect among the others, depending on them. In doing so, he has tried to identify the nature of that dependency on these others. Could this be very helpful to a Dooyeweerdian understanding of the social aspect, at least in its manifestation as cooperative activity? We can see that Becker overlooks a couple of aspects, especially economic, aesthetic and the early ones; might Dooyeweerdian thinking be able to enrich Becker's theory?

A critique we might make of Becker's Theory is that trying to see the world in terms of systems is an entity-oriented view, which has long misled philosophy. It may be better to see the world in terms of functionings in each of the aspects above. However, since Becker's emphasis seems to be on the distinct meaning and function of each of these systems, we might see this as only a mild critique.

Dooyeweerdian thinkers need to look more closely at Becker. The above is an overview, and might have misrepresented some of Becker's ideas.

This page, '', is part of a collection of pages that links to various thinkers, within The Dooyeweerd Pages, which explain, explore and discuss Dooyeweerd's interesting philosophy. Email questions or comments would be welcome.

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Copyright (c) at all dates below Andrew Basden. But you may use this material subject to conditions.

Created: 5 November 2021 Last updated: