I propose an agenda for empirical research on decision, choice, decision‐makers, and decision‐making qua social facts. Given society S, group G, or field F, I make a twofold sociological proposal. First, empirically investigate the conditions under which something—call it X—is taken to be a decision or choice, or the outcome of a decision‐making process. What must X be like? What doesn't count (besides, presumably, myotatic reflexes and blushing)? Whom or what must X be done by? What can't be a decision‐maker (besides, presumably, rocks and apples)? Second, empirically investigate how decision/choice concepts are used in everyday life, politics, business, education, law, technology, and science. What are they used for? To what extent do people understand and represent themselves and others as decision‐makers? Where do decision‐centric or “decisionist” understandings succeed? These aren't armchair, theoretical, philosophical questions, but empirical ones. Decision/choice concepts’ apparent ubiquity in contemporary societies calls for a well‐thought‐out research program on their social life and uses.
- The British Journal of Sociology, Volume 69, Issue 2, Page 237-264, June 2018.