Anthem Press has just published Professor Emeritus Jerald Hage's latest book, Knowledge Evolution and Societal Transformations: Action Theory to Solve Adaptive Problems. Dr. Hage shared the following description of his project.
Sociology has been divided into different theory groups such as evolutionary theory, postmodernism, Marxism, functionalism, comparative institutional analysis, organizational theory, network theory, actor network theory, symbolic interactionism, role theory, dramaturgy, agency theory, etc. The book Knowledge Evolution and Societal Transformations: Action Theory to Solve Adaptive Problems synthesizes these different perspectives into new sociological paradigm for social change. The thesis of punctuated equilibrium theory (PET) synthesizes three levels of analysis (micro, meso, and macro) into a new and much more accurate meta-narrative. A key theoretical mechanism for successfully integrating theories, and in particular the work of Marx, Weber and Durkheim, is the use of contingencies that argue that certain parts of their theories apply to the second stage of knowledge creation and that, with the addition of other ideas, their work can be updated to this, the third stage.
Unlike most evolutionary theories, the accent in this book is on adaptive failures, highly visible in the U.S. and Europe. The subtitle of Action Theory points to a new potential career for sociologists, namely examining various attempts to solve adaptive problems. The focus of the solutions, the action theory, is on the building of a novel society, a new economy and a robust democracy. However, the problems in implementing proposed solutions are clearly recognized and addressed. Thus, it integrates economics and political sciences via a critique of neoclassical theory and the theory of democracy, again with the device of contingencies. A unifying theme is the consequences of knowledge growth for explaining growing social inequality at the macro level and its micro level consequences for alienation, powerlessness, and social isolation. The hypotheses on this new paradigm are tested comparative in a variety of different kind of research designs and across the last 150 years to demonstrate the concept of different historical pathways.