The theoretical base of clinical sociology is analyzed through Pepper's root metaphor method. Practice is found to be framed by the analogy between society and a complex ecosystem. The resulting world hypothesis is identified as Ecologism, within which the four relatively adequate world hypotheses identified by Pepper (Formism, Mechanism, Contextualism and Organicism) take their place as complementary alternatives differentially informing or guiding practice with respect to the analysis of categories, evaluation of linkages, intervention at the microsocial level of social actors and mesosocial level of organizations and other integrated social systems, respectively. Examples are drawn from the literature, and key analytical and methodological principles are identified for practice at each level.

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