Historical Social Research 48 (2023) 3

Titel der Ausgabe 
Historical Social Research 48 (2023) 3
Weiterer Titel 
Collective Agency

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352 S.
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GESIS – Leibniz-Institut für Sozialwissenschaften
Historical Social Research (HSR)
Unter Sachsenhausen 6-8
Journal Historical Social Research
Philip Jost Janssen, Knowledge Exchange & Outreach, GESIS Leibniz Institute for the Social Sciences

HSR Special Issue – The Emergence and Effects of Non-hierarchical Collective Agency (ed. Johannes Marx & Thomas Gehring)

The emergence of collective agency in non-hierarchical groups is a puzzling phenomenon. It has thus far attracted little systematic scholarly attention, despite its widespread existence in and high relevance for modern political and social life. While bureaucracies or business firms with hierarchical internal structures are widely recognized as collective actors, groups without formal hierarchy may also gain collective agency, e.g., parliamentary committees adopt proposals and international institutions decide on international regulations. In the social sciences, it is highly disputed whether these expressions can be understood literally. Analytical philosophy and sociology offer a number of approaches to the emergence of collective agency from the interaction of group members. They challenge the broadly shared methodological individualist assumption that only individuals can act and that talk about group actors should be understood only metaphorically.

This HSR Special Issue examines theoretical, empirical, and normative issues of collective agency of groups in the absence of hierarchy. It aims to elucidate the mechanisms driving non-hierarchical collective agency and to develop empirically-applicable conceptions of collective actors, their actions, and their effects. It is designed to advance scholarly dialogue around collective agency, while helping to bridge the gap between the philosophical debate about collective agency and its empirical application in the social sciences. The articles in this HSR Special Issue draw on and elaborate important theoretical approaches from analytical philosophy that examine the formation and consequences of collective intentions in small and unorganized groups and elucidate basic mechanisms of the emergence of collective intentions. They address collective agency of institutionalized groups with defined memberships, including member-driven international institutions, parliaments and their committees, and local government associations. These articles examine the emergence of collective intentions and collective action capability of large and non-institutionalized groups from a sociological perspective, and they deal with normative issues of collective agency.


Thomas Gehring & Johannes Marx
Group Actors. Why Social Science Should Care About Collective Agency.
doi: https://doi.org/10.12759/hsr.48.2023.23


Margaret Gilbert
Real Team Reasoning
doi: https://doi.org/10.12759/hsr.48.2023.24

Maximilian Noichl & Johannes Marx
Simulation of Group Agency – From Collective Intentions to Proto-Collective Actors.
doi: https://doi.org/10.12759/hsr.48.2023.25

Leyla Ade & Olivier Roy
Team Reasoning from an Evolutionary Perspective: Categorization and Fitness.
doi: https://doi.org/10.12759/hsr.48.2023.26

Thomas Gehring
International Organizations as Group Actors. How Institutional Procedures Create Organizational Independence without Delegation to Institutional Agents.

Matthias Hofferberth & Daniel Lambach
Claims and Recognition: A Relational Approach to Agency in World Politics.
doi: https://doi.org/10.12759/hsr.48.2023.28

Nathalie Behnke, Jonas Bernhard &Till Jürgens
Understanding Collective Agency in the Long-Term Perspective: A Historical Comparative Case Study of Local Government Associations in Germany and the United States.
doi: https://doi.org/10.12759/hsr.48.2023.29

Elena Frech & Ulrich Sieberer
Coordination Committees and Legislative Agenda-Setting Power in 31 European Parliaments.
doi: https://doi.org/10.12759/hsr.48.2023.30

David Beck, David Yen-Chieh Liao & Thomas Saalfeld
The Role of Rituals in Adversarial Parliaments: An Analysis of Expressions of Collegiality in the British House of Commons.
doi: https://doi.org/10.12759/hsr.48.2023.31

Elisabeth Donat & Barbara Mataloni
Perception of Collective Agency and Networks of Relations: The Case of Regional Parliaments in Four EU Member States.
doi: https://doi.org/10.12759/hsr.48.2023.32

Thomas Kestler
How Imagination Takes Power. The Motivational Foundations of Collective Action in Social Movement Mobilization.
doi: https://doi.org/10.12759/hsr.48.2023.33

Frank Meier
The Agency of Scientific Disciplines.
doi: https://doi.org/10.12759/hsr.48.2023.34

Maike Albertzart
Being Jointly Obligated: A Reductive Account.
doi: https://doi.org/10.12759/hsr.48.2023.35

Moritz A. Schulz
So What’s My Part? Collective Duties, Individual Contributions, and Distributive Justice.
doi: https://doi.org/10.12759/hsr.48.2023.36

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