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The Multi-Institutional Substructure-Superstructure Model of Understanding Causal Relations among Social Structures

A. Olu Oyinlade, David Finch, Zachary Christo
Published: 1 January 2020
Sociology Mind , Volume 10, pp 149-164; doi:10.4236/sm.2020.103010

Abstract: Students of sociology first encounter an analysis of relations among social structures in the introductory sociology class where they learn that social realities are the products of social structures. And, throughout their academic journey in the acquisition of knowledge in the discipline, sociology students are expected to develop a deep understanding of the nature of the relationships among social structures and the consequences of such relationships to human realities. In this endeavor, students learn the causal relations of substructures and superstructures proffered by Karl Max (deterministic economic infrastructure) and Max Weber (deterministic ideological infrastructure). In both economic and ideological determinisms, one particular social structure is determinant of all other social structures and human social realities. In this study, the ideas of both Marx and Weber are critiqued for causal reductionism or the fallacy of a single cause which is antithetical to sociological reasoning of multi-factor causality. For a better understanding of causal relations among social structures and social realities, this study offers the Multi-Institutional Substructure-Superstructure Model (MISSMOD) as a more comprehensive causal explanation of society’s infrastructure and superstructure relations, which nullifies the distinction (claimed by Marx and Weber) between the infrastructure and the superstructure.
Keywords: Karl Marx / Max Weber / Substructure / Superstructure / Economic Determin-ism / Ideological Determinism

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