Since the publication of Roy Bhaskar's A Realist Theory of Science in 1975, criticalrealism has emerged as one of the most powerful new directions in the philosophy of science and social science, offering a real alternative to both positivism and postmodernism. This reader makes accessible in one volume key readings to stimulate debate about and within criticalrealism, including: the transcendental realist philosophy of science elaborated in A Realist Theory of Science ; Bhaskar's critical (...) naturalist philosophy of social science; the theory of explanatory critique, which is central to criticalrealism; and the theme of dialectic, which is central to Bhaskar's most recent writings. The volume includes extracts from Bhaskar's most important books, as well as selections from all of the other most important contributors to the critical realist program. It also includes both a general introduction and original introductions to each section. (shrink)
This book introduces social scientists to the difference that criticalrealism can make to theorizing and methodological problems within the contemporary social sciences. The chapters, which cover such topics as cultural studies, feminism, globalization, heterodox economics, education policy, the self, and the "underclass" debate, are arranged in four sections dealing with some of the major topics in contemporary social science: ethics, the consequences of the "linguistic turn", methodology and globalization.
At the heart of contemporary relativism, is the idea that the world has no mind-independent characteristics. As there is no way that the world is on its own, any opinions held may be regarded as valid. Criticalrealism is a promising alternative to such a position. Criticalrealism allows for the conclusion that certain processes lead to specific outcomes regardless of how we think about them, which in turn places a limited but crucial check on relativism. (...) Groff defends "realism about causality" through close discussions of Kant, Hilary Putnam, Brain Ellis and Charles Taylor, among others. In so doing she affirms criticalrealism, but with several important qualifications. In particular, she rejects the theory of truth advanced by Roy Bhaskar. She also attempts to both clarify and correct earlier critical realist attempts to apply realism about causality to the social sciences. By connecting issues in metaphysics and philosophy of science to the problem of relativism, Groff bridges the gap betweenthe philosophical literature and broader debates surrounding socio-political theory and poststructuralist thought. This unique approach will make the book of interest to philosophers and socio-political theorists alike. (shrink)
There is a growing perception among economists that their field is becoming increasingly irrelevant due to its disregard for reality. Criticalrealism addresses the failure of mainstream economics to explain economic reality and proposes an alternative approach. This book debates the relative strengths and weaknesses of criticalrealism, in the hopes of developing a more fruitful and relevant socio-economic ontology and methodology. With contributions from some of the leading authorities in economic philosophy, it includes the work (...) of theorists critical of this approach. In the first part, contributors develop and deepen economics as a realist social theory by considering the work of individuals, various schools of thought, socio- economic phenomena and methodology. In the second part, contributors weigh the strengths and weaknesses of criticalrealism. (shrink)
This intriguing new book examines and analyses the role of criticalrealism in economics and specifically how this line of thought can be applied to the real world. With contributions from such varying commentators as Sheila Dow, Wendy Olsen and Fred Lee, this new book is unique in its approach and will be of great interest to both economic methodologists and those involved in applied economic studies.
For advocates of criticalrealism emergence is a central theme. Critical realists typically ground their defence of the relative disciplinary autonomy of various sciences by arguing that emergent phenomena exist in a robust non-ontologically, non-causally reductionist sense. Despite the importance they attach to it critical realists have only recently begun to elaborate on emergence at length and systematically compare their own account with those developed by others. This paper clarifies what is distinctive about the critical (...) realist account of emergence by comparing it with an alternative. Criticalrealism and interactivism are shown to independently converge on the same general process (or constraint) view of emergence and develop complementary accounts of particular emergents. (shrink)
The rise of neo-integrative worldviews : towards a rational spirituality for the coming planetary civilization -- Beyond fundamentalism : spiritual realism, spiritual literacy and education -- Realism, literature and spirituality -- Judgemental rationality and the equivalence of argument : realism about God, response to Morgan's critique -- Transcendence and God : reflections on criticalrealism, the "new atheism", and Christian theology -- Human sciences at the edge of panentheism : God and the limits of ontological (...)realism -- Beyond East and West -- Meta-Reality (re-)contextualized -- Anti-anthropic spirituality : dualism, duality and non-duality -- "The more you kick God out the front door, the more he comes in through the window" : Sean Creaven's critique of transcendental dialectical criticalrealism and the philosophy of meta-Reality -- Resisting the theistic turn -- The pulse of freedom and the existential dilemma of alienation -- Meta-Reality, creativity and the experience of making art. (shrink)
Archaeological theory -- Philosophy and archaeology -- Criticalrealism as critique of Western philosophy -- Criticalrealism as philosophical underlabourer -- Diversity and impasse in current archaeological theorising -- The contradictions of archaeological theory -- The material in archaeological theory -- Criticalrealism, the material, and absence -- Time, scale, and the ontology of the material -- Conclusions, implications, and further research.
Bhaskar's "Spiritual turn" : logical and conceptual problems -- Meta-reality, criticalrealism, and Marxism -- Secularism, agnosticism, and theism -- Criticalrealism, transcendence, and God -- Humanism, spiritualism, and critical theory.
This article examines the convergence between Italian relational sociology, developed by Pierpaolo Donati and introduced here by Emmanuele Morandi, and criticalrealism. Whilst the latter is preoccupied with relations between people and structures, Donati sees the whole social order as a relational entity sui generis. Consequently, relational sociology can provide a fuller account of ‘social integration’ than criticalrealism, which concentrates upon ‘malintegration’ because of its transformative potential. This difference is viewed as a potential source of (...) synergy between these two versions of realism. (shrink)
This paper questions and criticizes the employment of criticalrealism in the field of ‘science and religion’. Referring to the texts of four main actors in this field, I demonstrate how the choice of criticalrealism is justified by a (disguised) apologetic interest in defending the epistemic privilege of the theological enterprise against that of the natural sciences. I argue that this is possible thanks to the reactivation of ‘theological potential’ latent in some under-examined assumptions and (...) conceptual structures still at work within philosophy of science and scientific epistemology. (shrink)
The following article attempts to bring criticalrealism to bear on the changing nature of aesthetic value. Beginning with the transitive-intransitive distinction, it is advised that we withhold judgment on the possibility of aesthetic judgment, lest we commit the epistemic fallacy. Without hoping to attain a form of aesthetic value absolutism, a strategy of `eliminative realism' is introduced, which seeks to remove false causes of apparent judgmental relativism. Then a rough sketch of the ontology of art works (...) and art practices is made in order to provide sufficient complexity for the changing aspects of value from different points of view and assumptions. Finally, a case study is given, in the creation of a market of African slingshots in the 1908s, and the theory is tested. The article closes with a plea to take aesthetic value seriously, as a requirement of ideological discussion. (shrink)
This paper focuses on postcolonial theory’s engagement with modernity. It argues that postcolonialism’s problematization of modernity is significant and has to be contended with seriously. In seeking to question the predatory universalism of western modernity, postcolonial theory aspires to open up paths for different modernities that have the promise of emancipation and liberation for all cultures and societies. But the crux of this paper is that this promise is hardly fulfilled. Using criticalrealism, it interrogates postcolonialism’s understanding of (...) modernity. It demonstrates that, with regard to various aspects such as the material dimension, structural conditions, binaries and dualisms, relativism, fallibilism, temporality and structure/agency, postcolonialism’s formulations are incomplete and inadequate. Ultimately, from a critical realist perspective, the non-fulfilment of postcolonialism’s initial promise has serious consequences for the subjects of the ‘Third World’ that the theory claims to represent. (shrink)
Criticalrealism, especially as developed by Roy Bhaskar, embodies at its heart systemic and holistic concepts such as totality, emergence, open systems, stratification, autopoiesis and holistic causality. These concepts have their own long history of development in disciplines such as systems thinking and cybernetics, but there is an absence in Bhaskar’s writings, and that absence is a lack of any reference to the corresponding systems literature. The purpose of this paper is threefold: (i) to demonstrate the extent of (...) this correspondence; (ii) to show that criticalrealism can benefit from an exposure to these other discourses; and (iii) to show that systems thinking too can gain philosophically from criticalrealism. (shrink)
This piece outlines the opportunities and obstacles to the appli- cation of criticalrealism to the study of the self. Based on a recent seminar on the subject, the paper discusses a number of diverse approaches to the application of criticalrealism to selfhood, identity and psychology. It is argued that for the social sciences, the political dangers of essentialism in studying the self require clear explication of how critical realist approaches do not necessarily lead (...) to reductionism or determinism. (shrink)
This paper interprets Karl Polanyi through dialectical criticalrealism. The paper maintains that this interpretation offers Polanyi methodological coherence and philosophical support. It further provides dialectical criticalrealism with an exemplar of explanatory critique. It is argued that the social theory of Polanyi aims at the demystification of market-systems as they are theoretically constructed by both orthodox and heterodox accounts of capitalism. Dialectical criticalrealism is best capable of situating the theoretical accomplishment of Polanyi’s (...) historical and dialectical critiques of social being. (shrink)
The primacy of practice in the development of knowledge is one of materialism’s fundamental tenets. Most arguments supporting it have been strictly philosophical. However, over the past thirty years cognitive science has provided mounting evidence supporting the primacy of practice. Particularly striking is its finding that thought is fundamentally metaphoric—that images emerging from everyday embodied activities not only make ordinary experiences intelligible, but also underpin our more abstract engagements with the world, elaborated in disciplines such as ethics and science. Cognitive (...) science’s implications must now be absorbed into criticalrealism. Cognitive science bolsters criticalrealism by providing a scientifically-grounded analysis of the passage from body to mind and the fundamental unity between them, while sustaining their distinctiveness. Its implications for criticalrealism ripple out in four waves: first, criticalrealism’s understanding of the mind/body relationship; second, its concepts of the process that connects theory and practice, and what that means for criticalrealism’s view of intellectual production, the place of metaphor in scientific theorization, and cultural development; its view of culture as a complexwhole; and finally, its theory of human agency as embodied and intentional. (shrink)
Within critical realist circles, the development of knowledge in the natural and social domains has thus far been much stronger by comparison with its respective development within the personal domain. What I want to explore here is how knowledge can be positively used to have emancipatory effects at the level of the individual. The way in which we are able to achieve this is by coming to have what Spinoza calls more adequate ideas of ourselves, other beings, and our (...) place in nature through strengthening the explanatory power and minimizing the fallibility of the knowledge we use in our judgements and progressive articulations of personal situations by making use of explanatory critique and cause-object matching techniques. This article explains what an explanatory critique actually is and does before turning to explain why it interests us in relation to Spinoza’s thought and then how it is specifically useful in connection with emotional revision and control. (shrink)
After decades of postcolonial development planning in the former colonies of Africa, one question that has been asked over and over again concerns how much has changed in Africa since the launch of what used to be called the first, second, third and other development decades. There is no doubt that national development policies and plans have played significant roles in influencing the direction of the post-political-independence development processes in Africa. This paper argues, however, that far more serious attention needs (...) to be paid by the African public to the important contributions that the nature of their development plans can make in the transformations of their lives. This paper uses development plans as an exemplar of social mechanisms in critical realist philosophy and argues that the development planning authorities in Africa need to take seriously the nature of the relations between their ‘informal’ and ‘formal’ sectors in the formulation and implementation of their development plans. (shrink)
Indigenous critiques of postcolonialism are as diverse as First Nations or Original Peoples communities themselves. Yet, within that diversity, there is often claimed to be a set of core universal teachings. My article engages this field in a three-step process that begins with examining the incorporation of two Indigenous critiques into a Handbook of Qualitative Research edited by Norman Denzin and Yvonna Lincoln. Focusing on justice through their lens of an ethics and politics of interpretation, Denzin and Lincoln simultaneously reject (...) much of what they claim criticalrealism advocates. They then deny any significant emancipatory potential to criticalrealism. This article immanently critiques their denial. In doing so it argues a case, on the one hand, for the explanatory potential of dialectical criticalrealism and the philosophy of meta-Reality both generally and in the case of postcolonialism as decolonizing praxis. On the other hand, viewing Indigenous critiques within an interpretive paradigm risks ensnaring them within modernist dualist categories, postmodernist unconstrained deconstruction or poststructuralist formless flux. Such a reading thus restricts their capacity to contribute to depth-totalizing praxis. I introduce a critical realist reading of Indigenous critiques and conclude that the political programme of emancipation is strengthened through an interweaving of criticalrealism and Indigenous political philosophy. (shrink)
Criticalrealism is the middle road between the extreme versions of constructivism and objectivism. It is applied here to liberal arts education in general, and specifically to liberal arts education for learners of English. Criticalrealism can help promote greater coherence in liberal education, and educators can apply criticalrealism as they develop a unified and purposeful curriculum of liberal arts content for learners of English. Criticalrealism also influences how teachers perceive (...) the learning environment, and it affects how educators think about learner and teacher beliefs regarding education. Moreover, criticalrealism can influence education in moral and political terms, enabling educators to critically infuse moral realism into the study of the liberal arts and sciences. (shrink)
When education is jointly managed by a workplace and academia, causal mechanisms in the culture, structure and agency of these two contexts may unintentionally generate discourse that conveys conflicting messages for learners regarding some of the priorities of the profession. Using the concepts of culture, structure and agency as they are used in criticalrealism to analyse the discourse generated in two teaching and learning contexts (a radiography division in a university and a radiography workplace in a large (...) state tertiary academic hospital), this paper attempts (i) to identify possible causal mechanisms that generated discourse concerning the role and value of writing competency for radiographers, such that this discourse possibly influenced learners not to be motivated to improve their writing competency to their lecturers’ satisfaction; and (ii) to suggest what practices and influences might successfully generate an alternative emancipatory discourse. Drawing on Margaret Archer’s (1995) morphogenetic approach, the paper argues that the radiography lecturers have the primary agency to address this unsatisfactory situation, as it is through their interaction – both as a team and with other relevant stakeholders – that an alternative emancipatory discourse may be generated. (shrink)
The question that motivates this article has been a matter of dispute: Is it possible to combine perpetual economic growth and longterm environmental sustainability based on the premise that economic growth can be fully decoupled from negative environmental impacts? The article addresses this question from the position of criticalrealism. An empirical study focusing on the housing sector is conducted, indicating that housing stock growth and economic growth have been, at best, weakly decoupled from environmental impacts. In the (...) long run, it seems implausible that the degree of decoupling can be increased at a rate sufficient to compensate for continual growth in the volume of housing stock. A further elaboration of the topic at an ontological level leads to the conclusion that continual economic growth and long-term environmental sustainability can hardly be combined. Content Type Journal Article Category Article Pages 438-461 DOI 10.1558/jcr.v11i4.438 Authors Jin Xue, Department of Development and Planning, Aalborg University Journal Journal of CriticalRealism Online ISSN 1572-5138 Print ISSN 1476-7430 Journal Volume Volume 11 Journal Issue Volume 11, Number 4 / 2012. (shrink)
In Against the Spiritual Turn: Marxism, Realism and Critical Theory Sean Creaven sets out to reject Christian theism on materialist grounds. This paper critiques Creaven’s argument from a critically realist Trinitarian Christian standpoint. His failure to engage with Christian theologians, philosophers and biblical scholars, on the a priori ground that since Christianity is inherently irrational Christian scholarship must also be inherently irrational, effectively locks his argument in a vicious intellectual circle. His self-imposed alienation from Christian scholarship generates an (...) ideologically driven thesis of questionable academic integrity. This methodological failure is exacerbated by his preference for inductive and deductive reasoning over a critically realistic retroductive epistemology. (shrink)
This paper articulates the commitments, contours and justifications for a pluralist but non-eclectic critical, realist, reflexive social science with emancipatory aims. In it, we stress that social science can and should be used to guide the conceptualization of desirable and viable forms of social organization and their conditions of realization. In this regard, we advocate explanatory theorizing as an ethical duty of social scientists and as a moral good in itself as well as being an inherent epistemological component of (...) scientific practice. This entails that we take seriously the research strategies apposite to our disciplinary, intertextual and interdiscursive locations to make a serious theoretical case and practical case for the kind of social science here advocated. In our view, such a social science must acknowledge the path-breaking work of Roy Bhaskar, but must also recognize that the arguments deployed in texts as a resource in intellectual work can never be treated as the axiomatic grounds for further thought, but must be interrogated thoroughly and in each case what is to be retained must be defensible. No position has a monopoly of relevant insights and the development of science often involves syntheses. Syntheses must not be syncretic but reflexively interrogated to assess epistemological, ontological and conceptual coherence to avoid eclecticism. Development in critical realist philosophy will, we believe, continue to confront and offer plausible resolutions to a range of battles within and pertinent to philosophy and social-scientific metatheory. However, realists must recognize the continuing importance and discursive effects of a variety of critical and realist work in being able to defend, sustain and develop rigorous social-scientific research with emancipatory commitments. (shrink)
. Criticalrealism is a frequently mentioned, but not very well-known, late nineteenth-/early twentieth-century philosophical tradition. Having its roots in Kantian epistemology, criticalrealism is best characterized as a revisionist approach toward the original Kantian doctrine. Its most outstanding thesis is the idea that Kantian things-in-themselves are knowable. This idea was—at least implicitly—suggested by thinkers such as Alois Riehl, Wilhelm Wundt, and Oswald Külpe. Interestingly enough, the philosophical position of the early Moritz Schlick stands in the (...)critical realist tradition as well. As will be outlined in the course of this paper, both Schlick’s magnum opus General Theory of Knowledge (1918) and his seminal Space and Time in Contemporary Physics (1917) are based on the assumption that the objects of science are relations and that relations have the status of Kantian things-in-themselves. By way of conclusion, I shall point out that this— more or less directly—leads to the current debate over ‘structural’ realism. (shrink)
The approach to criticalrealism, by D. Drake.--Pragmatism versus the pragmatist, by A. O. Lovejoy.--Criticalrealism and the possibility of knowledge, by J. B. Pratt.--The problem of error, by A. K. Rogers.--Three proofs of realism, by G. Santayana.--Knowledge and its categories, by R. W. Sellars.--On the nature of the datum, by C. A. Strong.
The old Das Adam Smith Problem is no longer tenable. Few today believe that Smith postulates two contradictory principles of human action: one in the Wealth of Nations and another in the Theory of Moral Sentiments . Nevertheless, an Adam Smith problem of sorts endures: there is still no widely agreed version of what it is that links these two texts, aside from their common author; no widely agreed version of how, if at all, Smith's postulation of self-interest as the (...) organising principle of economic activity fits in with his wider moral-ethical concerns. We argue that the enduring Adam Smith problem may be solved by recourse to a realist perspective that recognises the different levels of social reality to which Smith refers in his discourse. Essential to Smith, we try to show, is the action-theoretic distinction between motive and capacity; between a typology of empirical human acts, on the one hand—self-love and benevolence in Smiths terminology—and the (non-empirical) condition of possibility of all human action—what Smith calls the sympathetic principle—on the other. (shrink)
Abstract As microeconomic calculus and macroeconomic estimation superseded earlier approaches to political economy, broad questions about how things are (ontology), how things might be known (epistemology), and how science should proceed (methodology) were neglected. As a corrective, CriticalRealism (CR) has been proposed as an alternative to the orthodox deductive?nomological (ODN) tradition; i.e., to mathematical deduction and statistical induction. In their place, retroduction?the use of analogy, metaphor, intuition and ordinary language?is supposed to illuminate root causes by identifying the (...) deep mechanisms that govern events. CR offers guidelines for social science that are of a most general kind: from initial ?premises,? retroduction proceeds to hypotheses about deep structures and mechanisms. The initial premises are determined by a desire to understand events that surprise us. However, nothing is thereby excluded, including ODN. And since historical processes are revealed neither by assumption nor by the net effects of whatever initial conditions hold, it might be apposite to drop the search for (deep) socio?economic laws and to use whatever evidence is at hand to see whether, and the extent to which, ideal types apply to any given historical sequence. (shrink)
Criticalrealism is the view that fictional characters arecontingent, actual, abstract individuals, ontologically on a par with such things as plots and rhyme schemes, andquantified over in statements such as A character inHamlet is a prince. A strong contender for thecorrect account of fictional characters, critical realismnevertheless has difficulty satisfying all that we intuitivelyrequire of such an account.
Sayer argues that Popper defended a logicist philosophy of science. The problem with such logicism is that it creates what is termed here as a `truncated foundationalism', which restricts epistemic certainty to the logical form of scientific theories whilst having nothing to say about their substantive contents. Against this it is argued that criticalrealism, which Sayer advocates, produces a linguistic version of truncated foundationalism and that Popper's problem-solving philosophy, with its emphasis on developing knowledge through criticism, eschews (...) all forms of foundationalism and is better able to account for the development of substantive knowledge claims. Key Words: criticalrealism fallibilism logicism post-positivism truncated foundationalism. (shrink)
Even though sign-systems are a crucial part of society, criticalrealism, as developed by Roy Bhaskar, does not yet have an adequate theory of signs and semiosis. The few suggestions that Bhaskar offers can be advanced through the semiotics of C.S. Peirce. In doing so, however, it becomes necessary to reconsider Bhaskar's ontological domains of the real, the actual, and the subjective, and expand the last domain into one of semiosis. This new understanding of ontological domains, incorporating Peirceian (...) semiotics, provides the basis for rethinking the ontology of society: the customary dyad structures/agents becomes the triad structures/agents/discourses, each of which possesses material, sociological, and meaningful aspects. (shrink)
Atheism as a belief does not have to present intellectual credentials within academia. Yet to hold beliefs means giving reasons for doing so, ones which may be found wanting. Instead, atheism is the automatic default setting within the academic world. Conversely, religious belief confronts a double standard. Religious believers are not permitted to make truth claims but are instead forced to present their beliefs as part of one language game amongst many. Religious truth claims are expected to satisfy empiricist criteria (...) of evidence but when they fail, as they must, religious belief becomes subject to the hermeneutics of suspicion. This book explores religious experience as a justifiable reason for religious belief. It uniquely demonstrates that the three pillars of criticalrealism --ontological intransitivity, epistemic relativity and judgemental rationality -- can be applied to religion as to any other beliefs or theories. The three authors are critical realists by philosophical position. They seek to establish a level playing field between religion and secular ideas, which has not existed in the academic world for some generations, in order for reasoned debate to be conducted. (shrink)
This article deals with Moritz Schlick's criticalrealism and its sources that dominated his philosophy until about 1925. It is shown that his celebrated analysis of Einstein's relativity theory is the result of an earlier philosophical discussion about space perception and its role for the theory of space. In particular, Schlick's "method of coincidences" did not owe anything to "entirely new principles" based on the work of Einstein, Poincaré or Hilbert, as claimed by Michael Friedman, but was already (...) in place before these principles were developed. The first part of the article is devoted to Alois Riehl's criticalrealism—a neo-Kantian variant which rejects the dominant interpretation of the thing-in-itself as a mere limiting concept and takes empirical theories of space perception into consideration. The second part deals with the central role of "Psychological Parallelism" for Riehl and its integration with Kant's epistemology. In the third part it is shown that Schlick's theory of knowledge is based on Riehl's intricate reworking of Kantian epistemology, physiological psychology, theory of sense perception and philosophy of mathematics. The conclusion stresses the position of the unity of consciousness in Riehl's philosophy which Schlick admittedly cannot cope with. (shrink)
Abstract This paper explores gender and mental health with particular reference to the emerging philosophical field of criticalrealism. This philosophy suggests a shared ontology and epistemology for the natural and social sciences. Until recently, most of the debate surrounding gender and mental health has been guided either implicitly or explicitly within a positivist or constructivist philosophy. With this in mind, key areas of criticalrealism are explored in relation to gender and mental health, and contrasted (...) with the positions of positivism and constructivism. It is argued that criticalrealism offers an alternative philosophical framework for the exploration of gender issues within mental health care. (shrink)
In light of the recent symposium, this paper analyses integral theory through original and dialectical criticalrealism. This paper maintains that Integral theory is unable to sustain its critique against modernity and postmodernity as a result of the adoption of Kantian, Hegelian, and Heideggerian ontology. The resulting actualism and structure, perpetrates ontological violence, as it attempts to resolve the problems of modernity and postmodernity. An adoption of criticalrealism as underlabourer would call into question many of (...) the theoretical underpinnings of integral theory resulting in a serious re-evaluation of its core features. (shrink)
A visible role in the theoretical discourses on education has been played in the last couple of decades by the constructivist epistemologies, which have questioned the basic assumptions of realist epistemologies. The increased popularity of interpretative approaches especially has put the realist epistemologies on the defensive. Basing itself on criticalrealism, this article discusses the ontological and epistemological commitments of educational research and its consequences for text interpretation. The article defends ontological realism and the semantic conception of (...) truth against radical constructivist ontology and the epistemic conceptions of truth. (shrink)
To date, B&S researchers have pursued their normative aims through strategic and moral arguments that are limited because they adopt a rational actor behavioral model and firm-level focus. I argue that it would be beneficial for B&S scholars to pursue alternate approaches based on criticalrealism (CR) and neoinstitutional theory (IT). Such a shift would have a number of benefits. For one, CR and IT recognize the complex roots of firm behavior and provide tools for its investigation. Both (...) approaches also note the importance of social context and IT, in particular, points to tangible sites where changes in (and outcomes of) corporate practices can be assessed. CR also has an emancipatory ethos which harkens a role for scholars in social change, while IT provides mechanisms to ground this ethos in tangible activities that go beyond appealing to managers’ strategic or moral sensibilities. (shrink)
This paper critiques the critical realist conception of social relations as ?deep? structures separate from ?surface? social activities. The alternative conception offered by ?systematic dialectics? is advocated. Systematic dialectics takes a system?wide perspective on the contemporary economic system. From this perspective, predominant social relations are inseparable from predominant social activities contra criticalrealism. For example, the predominance of commodity exchange relations across the economic system necessarily implies the predominance of the activities of commodity exchange. Likewise the predominance (...) of monetary relations across the economic system necessarily implies the predominance of the activities of monetary exchange. Maintaining this system?wide perspective on the capitalist economy, systematic dialectics furthermore offers alternative analyses to criticalrealism of event regularities (?closures?), of ?depth?, and of ?tendencies? (shrink)