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A Model of Human Motivation for Sociology


Jacob Alsted

Many macro-sociologists have insufficient understanding of the roots of human motivation and this seriously hampers the effort to build theoretical models of society, social organisations and social change. The aim of this work is to remedy this deficiency. In this book, a model of motivation is constructed in order to demonstrate how it can improve our understanding of society. The aim here is an integration of concepts from psychology and sociology. Furthermore, it is the aim to clearly demonstrate that such a model adds new insights to our understanding of society. It can enrich key concepts used for analysis of meso- and macro-level phenomena. The author argues that the model of motivation can increase our understanding of, on the macro-level, the history of the state and, on the meso-level, dynamics in organisations.


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2. Macro-Level Problems 35


CHAPTER 2 Macro-Level Problems Macro-level theories cover a wide range of subjects: the development of religion, economical history, technological history, the history of power etc. Regardless of subject, however, macro-level theories must consider at least two matters- either implicitly or explicitly (Alsted 2001). 1. The structure of society 2. The direction and character of social change There is a number of unsolved problems associated with the concepts used for analy- sis of these two fields. Elsewhere I have pointed to some of these (Alsted 1998; 2001). This chapter aims to identify the problems more closely and to investigate their rela- tion to the concept of human motivation and psychology. The Structure of Society Theorising about the fundamental structures of society is rather important to macro- sociology. If one is to analyse the long term development of societies or parts of societies such as states, it is useful to have an idea of the structure of society. There are at least three reasons for this. First, if one is to understand how societal development occurs, it involves understanding developments in sub-societal elements, such as struc- tures. We cannot understand societal development without dividing society into smaller pans- the societal structures. Second, if one is to understand the development within one type of structure, say the state, it is important to know its relation to other struc- tures, such as ideological and economic institutions. Third, it is an important issue in sociology to understand what forces drive society. Some authors try to...

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