Chapter 2 Conceptual toolkits
Millennia of Moral Syndromes, World-Systems and City/State Relations
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This chapter is an exploration that attempts to transcend social science’s nineteenth-century foundations. Such a purpose can be pursued in many different ways: as indicated in the last chapter, my particular approach foregrounds cities, their interrelations, and their relations with states. This requires a customized suite of conceptual toolkits. I know the idea of ‘toolkits’ is not always popular in social fields of study, primarily because they evoke mechanical modes of operation. But in this case toolkits are an eminently suitable way of describing my methodology because my later arguments will focus very much on work, on making a livelihood. Concepts are the tools of trade in my line of work and therefore I have decided to start with my research toolkits; the fact that they are conceptual should be enough to allay fears that my thinking is too mechanical. Given my indisciplinary stance, it follows that the toolkits should not be seen as a template for others to use, much less a nascent social theory; they are what they are, a collection of tools that I believe are fit for my specific purposes in this book, no less and no more.

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