David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
Sociological Theory 22 (3):371-400 (2004)
Case studies and "small-N comparisons" have been attacked from two directions, positivist and incommensurabilist. At the same time, some authors have defended small-N comparisons as allowing qualitative researchers to attain a degree of scientificity, yet they also have rejected the case study as merely "idiographic. " Practitioners of the case study sometimes agree with these critics, disavowing all claims to scientificity. A related set of disagreements concerns the role and nature of social theory in sociology, which sometimes is described as useless and parasitic and other times as evolving in splendid isolation from empirical research. These three forms of sociological activity-comparative analysis, studies of individual cases, and social theory-are defended here from the standpoint of critical realism. In this article I first reconstruct, in very broad strokes, the dominant epistemological and ontological framework of postwar U.S. sociology. The next two sections discuss several positivist and incommensurabilist criticisms of comparison and case studies. The last two sections propose an understanding of comparison as operating along two dimensions, events and structures, and offer an illustration of the difference and relationship between the two
|Keywords||No keywords specified (fix it)|
|Categories||categorize this paper)|
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
|Through your library|
References found in this work BETA
No references found.
Citations of this work BETA
Martin de Santos (2009). Fact‐Totems and the Statistical Imagination: The Public Life of a Statistic in Argentina 2001. Sociological Theory 27 (4):466-489.
Stephen Armet (2013). Identifying Causal Mechanisms That Explain the Emergence of the Modern Dutch State. Journal of Critical Realism 12 (3):301-335.
Marc Garcelon (2010). The Missing Key: Institutions, Networks, and the Project of Neoclassical Sociology. Sociological Theory 28 (3):326 - 353.
Julian Go (2013). For a Postcolonial Sociology. Theory and Society 42 (1):25-55.
Similar books and articles
David Thomas (1978). Sociology and Common Sense. Inquiry 21 (1-4):1 – 32.
Charles Kurzman (1994). Epistemology and the Sociology of Knowledge. Philosophy of the Social Sciences 24 (3):267-290.
Fred O. Ede, Bhagaban Panigrahi, Jon Stuart & Stephen Calcich (2000). Ethics in Small Minority Businesses. Journal of Business Ethics 26 (2):133 - 146.
Klaus Hentschel (2003). Der Vergleich AlS Brücke Zwischen Wissenschaftsgeschichte Und Wissenschaftstheorie. Journal for General Philosophy of Science 34 (2):251-275.
A. Ruzzene (2012). Drawing Lessons From Case Studies by Enhancing Comparability. Philosophy of the Social Sciences 42 (1):99-120.
Andrew Abbott (2007). Against Narrative: A Preface to Lyrical Sociology. Sociological Theory 25 (1):67 - 99.
Stephen Brigley (1995). Business Ethics in Context: Researching with Case Studies. [REVIEW] Journal of Business Ethics 14 (3):219 - 226.
Andrew Turner (2012). 'Placebos' and the Logic of Placebo Comparison. Biology and Philosophy 27 (3):419-432.
Added to index2009-01-28
Total downloads8 ( #165,573 of 1,096,960 )
Recent downloads (6 months)5 ( #53,842 of 1,096,960 )
How can I increase my downloads?