That an event is composed entirely of transactions among subatomic particles does not mean that it is nothing but subatomic particles – does not mean that its character is exhaustively specified by the specification of the trajectories and interactions of those particles. If it did, there would be no discernible difference between, say, jumping off a bridge for the fun of it and jumping off a bridge to save a drowning child. If the jumps in question were nothing but subatomic particles moving about, then we would not be able to discern the different meanings of the two jumps; they would look absolutely identical to us in every respect, because, there being in fact no difference between them there would be no way to tell any difference between them.
Likewise with homo economicus. That marriage, e.g., is a legal contract governing an exchange of resources does not mean it is not also an occasion of love, and a sacrament, or that a marriage is not a living organism in its own right. Or again, a bond is a legal and financial instrument, to be sure; but it can operate as such only because it is in the first place, and ultimately, an agreement of souls about the duties they owe to each other under heaven, and a pledge of honor.
So likewise with any words, of any sort, exchanged between people: texts are eo ipso instruments of social power, yes, of course (how not?). Words are bonds. But to think that analysis of language in terms of the power relations it expresses exhausts its meanings, intentions and operations is to indulge in intellectual sloth, or aesthetic blindness, or emotional autism, or all three.
Reduction can be successful, in the sense that within limits we can indeed specify the character of an event in the terms of some realm of discourse; but that does not mean that we have thereby succeeded in a complete specification of the event in question. Gödel has shown that such complete specifications are not logically possible.
Reality is bigger and deeper than anything, or everything, that we might say about it.
To analyze anything, then, we must abstract from it some features of particular susceptibility to the mode of analysis in which we are engaged. Having thus abstracted – i.e., treated the object of our investigations as if it were nothing but the features we have identified as peculiarly interesting at the moment – we have no warrant then to turn and insist that the object of our study really is nothing but the features we have abstracted.
So, then, traditionalists need not worry that the transcendences by which they understand the world and guide their lives are at all threatened by reduction as such. The threat comes, not from understanding phenomena in these terms or those, or yet some others, but rather from foolish minds who confuse their heuristic simplifications for wild anfractuous reality.