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The Ontology of Social Reality from Critical Realism’s Perspective; Focusing on the Ideas of Margaret Archer and Andrew Sayer


  • Banifatemeh Hossein

    (Professor of Sociology, University of Tabriz)

  • Shields Rob

    (Professor of Sociology, University of Alberta)

  • Golabi Fatemeh

    (Associate Professor of Sociology, University of Tabriz)

  • Ghoreishi Fardin

    (Professor in Faculty of Law and Political Science, University of Tehran)

  • Bayani Farhad

    (Ph.D. in Sociology, University of Tabriz)


This essay seeks to present the ontological perspectives of Margaret Archer and Andrew Sayer on social reality. Archer and Sayer represent two key sociologists who have taken advantage of philosophical school of critical realism for explaning the social world. Methodology is based on descriptive-analytical method. Archer introduces two notions of morphogenesis (dynamic aspect of society) and morphostasis (stability and continuation of society) and offers a new type of theoretical conflation relying on morphogenesis. Accordingly, she propounds some differences between culture, structure and action and this distinguishes her efforts from the ideas of other conflationary theoreticians, especially Anthony Giddens. Besides paying attention to the existing complexities in the nature of social reality, Sayer struggles to introduce a specific model with which one can come up with a new formulation of the process of knowledge of social reality. Sayer believes that his model provides a clearer ontology of social realities. Sayer’s thought is based on the dialectical relation between the researcher (subject), research topic (object) and other researchers who work in a common linguistic community and this dialectic is among the mechanisms that give rise to the complexities of the social world.

Suggested Citation

  • Banifatemeh Hossein & Shields Rob & Golabi Fatemeh & Ghoreishi Fardin & Bayani Farhad, 2018. "The Ontology of Social Reality from Critical Realism’s Perspective; Focusing on the Ideas of Margaret Archer and Andrew Sayer," Mediterranean Journal of Social Sciences, Sciendo, vol. 9(3), pages 57-70, May.
  • Handle: RePEc:vrs:mjsosc:v:9:y:2018:i:3:p:57-70:n:6

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