This article explores the role of theory-building in social stratification research, a sub-field of sociology whose theoretical development has not kept pace with methodological, statistical, and empirical advancements. In particular, the article proposes a new conceptual framework based on social mechanisms and the multileveled nature of the stratification process. Conceptual frameworks, which map out general principles of social organisation and social processes, are useful in guiding researchers' choice of methods and research resign. The authors argue that the identification of social mechanisms needs to be a core aspect of sociological explanation, and thus integrated into the conceptual frameworks researchers use. They apply social mechanisms to a conception of social change involving micro-to-macro linkages. The resulting conceptual framework is then applied to stratification research, where the authors observe that the micro-to-macro linkage is one of the least explored, and also one of the most promising, areas of future research, particularly for areas of the world undergoing rapid social transformation.
Financed by the National Centre for Research and Development under grant No. SP/I/1/77065/10 by the strategic scientific research and experimental development program:
SYNAT - “Interdisciplinary System for Interactive Scientific and Scientific-Technical Information”.