Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
Processual Sociology$
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content.

Andrew Abbott

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780226336596

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: September 2016

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226336763.001.0001

Show Summary Details
Page of

PRINTED FROM CHICAGO SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.chicago.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of Chicago Press, 2020. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CHSO for personal use.date: 31 March 2020

The Problem of Excess1

The Problem of Excess1

(p.122) Chapter 5 The Problem of Excess1
Processual Sociology

Andrew Abbott

University of Chicago Press

This article argues for a new branch of theory based not on presumptions of scarcity—which are the foundational presumptions of most existing social theory—but on those of excess. The chapter first discusses the emergence of scarcity’s dominance in social theory. It then considers and rejects the idea that excess of one thing is simply scarcity of another. It discusses the mechanisms by which excess creates problems, noting three such mechanisms at the individual level (paralysis, habituation, and value contextuality) and two further mechanisms (disruption and misinheritance) at the social level. The article then considers four types of strategies with which we address excess: two reduction strategies (defensive and reactive) and two rescaling strategies (adaptive and creative). It closes with some brief illustrations of how familiar questions can be recast from terms of scarcity into terms of excess.

Keywords:   abundance, excess, habituation, scarcity, surfeit

Chicago Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.

Please, subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

To troubleshoot, please check our FAQs, and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us.