Mohamed CHERKAOUI, 1. Invisible Codes. Essays on Generative Machanisms, Oxford, The Bardwell-Press, 2005, , 2005

foreword by Bryan S. Turner
Oxford, The Bardwell Press, 2005

A path-breaking book about the concept of social or generative mechanisms, of which an early example is Adam Smith’s idea of the ‘invisible hand’. It deals with a problem long evident in sociological explanation, the ‘macro–micro’ dilemma. Professor Cherkaoui deploys a series of studies that deal with issues such as the causes of the French revolution of 1789, the persistence of social inequalities in education, and Max Weber’s Protestant Ethic Thesis. In each case he is concerned with understanding how both classical and contemporary sociologists construct explanatory schemas that aim to integrate the macrosociological and the microsociological levels. His aim is to construct a research strategy based around the principles of methodological individualism for understanding macro phenomena. Mohamed Cherkaoui argues that transitions between these levels are best seen through a modelling of generative mechanisms, conceptualised as a coherent group of hypotheses about actors and the contexts in which they act.