In recent years methodological debates in the social sciences have increasingly focused on issues relating to epistemology. Realism and Sociology makes an original contribution to the debate, charting a middle ground between postmodernism and positivism.
This third edition of the bestselling An Introduction to Sociology: Feminist Perspectives confirms the ongoing centrality of feminist perspectives and research to the sociological enterprise and introduces students to the wide range of feminist contributions to key areas of sociological concern. This completely revised edition includes: · new chapters on sexuality and the media · additional material on race and ethnicity, disability and the body · many new international and comparative examples · the influence of theories of globalization and (...) post-colonial studies. The theoretical elements have also been fully rethought in light of recent developments in social theory. Written by three experienced academics, this book gives students of sociology and women's studies an accessible overview of the feminist contribution to all the key areas of sociological concern. (shrink)
Frank Welz’s Kritik der Lebenswelt undertakes a sociology of knowledge criticism of the work of Edmund Husserl and Alfred Schutz that construes them as developing absolutist, egological systems opposed to the “processual” worldview prominent since the modern rise of natural science. Welz, though, misunderstands the work of Schutz and Husserl and neglects how their focus on consciousness and eidetic features pertains to the kind of reflection that one must undertake if one would avoid succumbing to absolutism, that uncovers the (...) presuppositions of the processual worldview itself, and that secures a domain distinctive of philosophy over against sociology. Finally, Welz’s charge that Schutz favors a Neo-Kantian social scientific methodology contradictory to his phenomenology neglects the levels of Schutz’s discourse and ignores how the Weberian ideal-typical approach can be subsumed within phenomenology. (shrink)
Several, seemingly unrelated problems of empirical research in the 'sociology of scientific knowledge' can be analyzed as following from initial assumptions with respect to the status of the knowledge content of science. These problems involve: (1) the relation between the level of the scientific field and the group level; (2) the boundaries and the status of 'contexts', and (3) the emergence of so-called 'asymmetry' in discourse analysis. It is suggested that these problems can be clarified by allowing for cognitive (...) factors as independent ('heterogeneous') variables, in addition to and in interaction with (i.e., not only as attributes of) social factors. In the 'sociology of translation', 'heterogeneity' among scientists, cognitions and textual elements has been made a basic assumption. This heterogeneity is bound together in an 'actor network'. However, since the 'actor network' is an empirical category, the methodological problems remain unresolved. This has consequences for the relation between empirical data and theoretical inferences. (shrink)
There is a growing conflict between modern and postmodern social theorists. The latter reject modern approaches as economistic, essentialist and often leading to authoritarian policies. Modernists criticize postmodern approaches for their rejection of holistic conceptual frameworks which facilitate an overall picture of how social wholes (organizations, communities, nation-states, etc.) are constituted, reproduced and transformed. They believe the rejection of holistic methodologies leads to social myopia - a refusal to explore critically the type of broad problems that classical sociology deals (...) with. This book attempts to bridge the divide between these two conflicting perspectives and proposes a novel holistic framework which is neither reductionist/economistic nor essentialist. Modern and Postmodern Social Theorizing will appeal to scholars and students of social theory and of social sciences in general. (shrink)
The purpose of the article is to examine the nature of the quantitative investigation in the Peruvian sociology. In fact, quantitative studies show a divorce between theory and methodology, result of the insufficient development of the sociological instruments and the theoretical weakness that affe..
There are realist philosophers and social scientists who believe in the indispensability of social ontology. However, we argue that certain pragmatist outlines for inquiry open more fruitful roads to empirical research than such ontologizing perspectives. The pragmatist conceptual tools in a Darwinian vein—concepts like action, habit, coping and community—are in a particularly stark contrast with, for instance, the Searlean and Chomskian metaphysics of human being. In particular, we bring Searle’s realist philosophy of society and mind under critical survey in this (...) paper and contrast it with a pragmatist, sociologizing approach. Drawing from Dewey, James, and recent antirepresentationalism, we propose for research work a methodological relationalism of its own kind, altogether detached from the ontologies of society and mind. (shrink)
Philosophers, historians, and sociologists of science have grown interested in the daily practices of scientists. Recent studies have drawn linkages between scientific innovations and more ordinary procedures, craft skills, and sources of sponsorship. These studies dispute the idea that science is the application of a unified method or the outgrowth of a progressive history of ideas. This book critically reviews arguments and empirical studies in two areas of sociology that have played a significant role in the 'sociological turn' in (...) science studies: ethnomethodology (the study of ordinary practical reasoning) and the sociology of scientific knowledge. In both fields, efforts to study scientific practices have led to intractable difficulties and debates, due in part to scientistic and foundationalist commitments that remain entrenched with social-scientific research policies and descriptive language. The central purpose of this book is to explore the possibility of an empirical approach to the epistemic contents of science that avoids the pitfalls of scientism and foundationalism. (shrink)
The Politics of Constructionism presents a broadranging and critical overview of the many themes of social constructionism and its relevance to contemporary social and political issues. Clearly structured and bringing together leading international contributors from across the social sciences, it offers an invaluable may through this rich body of literature. Major questions and topics explored in its critique and application of constructionist ideas include the theory and practice of scientific method, the development of social and political policy, the use of (...) social science statistical methods, self-identity and the politics of collective identities, and technological advances in reproductive medicine. Drawing on insights from psychology, sociology, politics, philosophy, cultural, gender, and social studies, The Politics of Constructionism links the discourse of constructionism to the wider social and political world and offers much to suggest that, contrary to the final impoverishment claimed by some of postmodernism, social science is witnessing the beginning of a new enrichment. It will be essential reading for all students and academics interested in social constructionism and contemporary issues and debates across the social sciences. (shrink)
Norbert Elias (1897-1990) is now widely regarded as one of the greatest sociologists of the 20th century. The challenge and profundity of his work are still being assimilated. Some have suggested that in time, he will be regarded as the Copernicus or Darwin of sociology, the man who set the subject on its scientific course. These four volumes provide a comprehensive and penetrating survey of Elias's life and work. They pinpoint the main fields of research which Elias and his (...) followers have explored: the civilizing process; state-formation; knowledge, religion and science; informalization; power; established-outsider figurations in fields such as class, gender and race; the sociology of the body; the sociology of the emotions; the sociology of leisure, sport and the arts; the sociology of the professions; medicine and psychoanalysis; crime and punishment; drug use and abuse. The collection also explores the various critiques of Elias's `figurational' or `process' sociology and counter-critiques by Elias's followers. The volumes successfully locate the work of Elias and his followers in the context of modern sociology, especially in relation to writers such as Mannheim, Adorno, Parsons, Goffman, Foucault and Bourdieu. In the penetrating, original and informative Introduction, Eric Dunning and Stephen Mennell elucidate Elias's sociological contributions and the bearing his life experiences had on his work. The collection is an invaluable resource for anyone interested in the sociological contribution of Norbert Elias. The collection is organized in the following 4 volumes: Volume 1 Focuses on Elias's work in the context of his life and career, and reviews his place in the contemporary social sciences, especially in relation to such figures as Michel Foucault and Pierre Bourdieu. Also discussed in this volume are Elias's pathbreaking contributions to such issues as: the 'agency-structure' dilemma; habitus; power; involvement and detachment; knowledge and the sciences; time; and the relations between history and sociology. Volume 2 Addresses Elias's major empiricallybased contributions to sociological theory, especially the theories of the civilizing process, state formation and established-outsider figurations. Also discussed are informalization and de-civilizing processes, and the applications of the established-outsider theory to such fields as race, gender and sexuality. Volume 3 Examines figurational contributions to special areas of sociology such as: the sociology of the body; the sociology of the emotions; the sociology of everyday life, sport, leisure, lifestyles, taste, music and the arts; deviance and crime; the sociology of health and illness; psychiatry, psychoanalysis, and psychology; death and dying; and drugs and tobacco use. Volume 4 Focuses on criticisms of Elias's work and the responses of Elias and his sociological followers. Key themes are: civilization and the Holocaust; sports violence, especially soccer hooliganism; the meanings and value of concepts like 'development', 'evolution' and 'change'; and the relative merits of long-term and short-term approaches. The end of the volume returns to the issue of Elias's place in contemporary sociology and the growing worldwide recognition of the significance of his contribution. Eric Dunning is Professor Emeritus of Sociology at the University of Leicester; Stephen Mennell is Professor of Sociology, University College Dublin. (shrink)
"The papers are marked by a high degree of intellectual perspicacity and help us to reformulate certain "alien" concepts to our indigenous needs.... Oommen gives us a competent analysis of the extant situation. His "reformulation" could act as the springboard of fresh political thinking to resolve the present crises." --The Tribune "The attempt to re-examine some of the prevalent social science theories is a very relevant exercise. It is a book which should be of interest not only to social scientists (...) but also social activists." --Social Action Traditionally, third world countries have been viewed as being useful only in determining the hegemony of either capitalism or socialism. Alien Concepts and South Asian Reality takes a giant leap forward in establishing independent Indian social science thought. Basing his concepts on empirical evidence from Asia, Author T. K. Oommen thoughtfully reformulates various well-known theories and assertively shakes off the "intellectual colonialism" that third-world countries have been subject to in the past. Innovative and bold, this volume offers a synthesis of information for social scientists and scholars all over the world. Recommended for studies in the following subject areas: sociology, social anthropology, social and political thought, political science, psychology, and social movements. (shrink)
Maurice Hauriou (1856-1929) -- Methodology -- Hauriou's general methodology -- Legal methodology -- Sociological methodolgy -- Methodological interplay of law and social science -- Application of methodology to large groups -- Philosophical methodology -- The philosophical status of Hauriou's methodology.
Much has been written in the last decade about how we should understand the value of the sociology of bioethics. Increasingly the value of the sociology of bioethics is interpreted by its advocates directly in terms of its relationship to bioethics. It is claimed that the sociology of bioethics (and related disciplinary approaches) should be seen as an important component of work in bioethics. In this paper we wish to examine whether, and how, the sociology of (...) bioethics can be defended as a valid and justified research activity, in the context of debates about the nature of bioethics. We begin by presenting and arguing for an account of bioethics that does justice to the content of the field, the range of questions that belong within this field, and the justificatory standards (and methodological orientations) that can provide convincing answers to these questions. We then consider the role of sociology in bioethics and show how and under what conditions it can contribute to answering questions within bioethics. In the final section, we return to the sociology of bioethics to show that it can make only a limited contribution to the field. (shrink)
This Alfred Schutz Memorial Lecture discusses the relationship between the phenomenological life-world analysis and the methodology of the social sciences, which was the central motive of Schutz’s work. I have set two major goals in this lecture. The first is to scrutinize the postulate of adequacy, as this postulate is the most crucial of Schutz’s methodological postulates. Max Weber devised the postulate ‘adequacy of meaning’ in analogy to the postulate of ‘causal adequacy’ (a concept used in jurisprudence) and regarded (...) both as complementary and, in the context of sociological analysis, critical. Schutz extracted the two postulates from the Neokantian epistemology, dismissed the concept of causality, and reduced Weber’s two postulates of adequacy into one, namely, the adequacy of meaning. I discuss the benefits and shortcomings of this reduction. A major problem, in my view, is that Schutz’s reformulation lost the empirical concern that was inherent in Weber’s ‘causal adequacy’. As a result, the models of economics (which shaped Schutz’s conception of social science) are considered to be adequate if they are ‘understandable’ to an everyday actor, even when they are based on the most unrealistic assumptions. To recapture Weber’s empirical orientation I recommend a more restrictive interpretation of the postulate of adequacy that links it to qualitative research and unfolds the critical potential of Schutz’s phenomenological life-world analysis. My second goal is to report on some current developments in German sociology in which a number of approaches explicitly refer to Schutz’s analysis of the life-world and attempt to pursue ‘adequate’ empirical research. This lecture focuses on three approaches: ethnophenomenology, life-world analytic ethnography, and social scientific hermeneutics. (shrink)
As much in the processes of education of sciences like in the methodological and epistemological analyses, usually are not examples of social theories that they allow to show how they are resisted with the experience. This work tries to show not only the methodological skeleton used by E. Durkheim i..
According to the discontinuity view, people recognize a deep discontinuity between phenomenal and intentional states, such that they refrain from attributing feelings and experiences to entities that do not have the right kind of body, though they may attribute thoughts to entities that lack a biological body, like corporations, robots, and disembodied souls. We examine some of the research that has been used to motivate the discontinuity view. Specifically, we focus on experiments that examine people's aptness judgments for various mental (...) state ascriptions to groups. These studies seem to reveal that people are more inclined to think of groups as having intentionality than as having phenomenology. Combined with the fact that groups obviously lack a single biological body, this has been taken as evidence that people operate according to the relevant discontinuity. However, these studies support discontinuity only on the assumption that the experimental participants are interpreting the relevant group mental state ascriptions in a specific way. We present evidence that people are not interpreting these ascriptions in a way that supports discontinuity. Instead, we argue that people generally interpret group mental state ascriptions distributively, as attributions of mental states to various group members. (shrink)
University of Turku, Finland In this article, relationalist approaches to social sciences are analyzed in terms of a conceptual distinction between "philosophizing sociology" and "sociologizing philosophy." These mark two different attitudes toward philosophical metaphysics and ontological commitments. The authors own pragmatist methodological relationalism of Deweyan origin is compared with ontologically committed realist approaches, as well as with Bourdieuan methodological relationalism. It is argued that pragmatist philosophy of social sciences is an appropriate tool for assisting social scientists in their methodological (...) work, especially as regards problem-driven case studies. Key Words: metaphysics pragmatism realism relationalism. (shrink)
This paper argues that education should become more evidence-based. The distinction is made between using existing research and establishing high-quality educational research. The need for highquality systematic reviews and appraisals of educational research is clear. Evidence-based education is not a panacea, but is a set of principles and practices for enhancing educational policy and practice.
Are social explanations, as we know them, adequate to account for the complexity of contemporary society and the ongoing emergence of new actors and new phenomena? To the Actor-Network Theory, there are no doubts: social factors are not sufficient to explain the dynamics of society. It is necessary ..
Unlike older sciences such as physics and biology, sociology has never had a revolution. Modern sociology is still classical-largely psychological, teleological, and individualistic-and even less scientific than classical sociology. But pure sociology is different: It predicts and explains the behavior of social life with its location and direction in social space-its geometry. Here I Illustrate pure sociology with formulations about the behavior of ideas, including a theory of scienticity that predicts and explains the degree to (...) which an idea is likely to be scientific (testable, general, simple, valid, and original). For example: Scienticity is a curvilinear function of social distance from the subject. This formulation explains numerous facts about the history and practice of science, such as why some sciences evolved earlier and faster than others and why so much sociology is so unscientific. Because scientific theory is the most scientific science, the theory of scienticity also implies a theory of theory and a methodology for the development of theory. (shrink)
Conventionally, proposals to improve working relations between sociology and history have been interdisciplinary. The present essay advances an alternative approach-consolidation of sociohistorical inquiry as a transdisciplinary enterprise. All socio-historical inquiry depends on four elemental forms of discourse: discourse on values, narrative discourse, social theoretical discourse, and the discourse of explanation. Though inquiry is transdisciplinary in the problematics of these discourses, concrete methodology typically is oriented either toward theorization in relation to cases (historical sociology) or toward comprehensive analysis (...) of a single phenomenon (sociological history). Varying the articulated relations among the four forms of discourse once for historical sociology and again for sociological history yields eight ideal typical strategies of inquiry. The four strategies of historical sociology include universal history, theory application, macro-analytic history, and contrast-oriented comparison. The parallel strategies for sociological history are situational history, specific history, configurational history, and historicism. These ideal types offer standard reference points that help clarify the underpinnings of a diverse range of scholarly practices. (shrink)
The lack of "progress" in theory is often contrasted to progress in statistical methodology. The relation between the two bodies of thinking is itself problematic, however, for the particular advances in method that have occurred in quantitative sociology reflect a trade-off in which the results are characterized by the radical underdetermination of models by data and a high level of slack between measures and theoretical concepts. Both of these problems are usually understood as matters of "error," and thus (...) as potentially eliminable, but this claim is highly questionable, on grounds evident from Pearson's philosophy of science. The implications of large ineliminable error for the project of theory construction, particularly the "formal theory" of Blau and the California Positivists, is discussed. The ease of producing statistical results is an achievement, but one that leads away from theory rather than toward it, and, because the fact of underdetermination prevents these results from establishing clear cognitive superiority over the results of other "approaches," theoretical diversity is, in a sense, a consequence of the properties of the dominant statistical tradition in sociology. (shrink)
In what does philosophical progress consist? 'Vertical' progress corresponds to development within a specific paradigm/framework for theorizing (of the sort associated, revolutions aside, with science); 'horizontal' progress corresponds to the identification and cultivation of diverse paradigms (of the sort associated, conservativism aside, with art and pure mathematics). Philosophical progress seems to involve both horizontal and vertical dimensions, in a way that is somewhat puzzling: philosophers work in a number of competing frameworks (like artists or mathematicians), while typically maintaining that only (...) one of these is correct (like scientists). I diagnose this situation as reflecting that we are presently quite far from the end of inquiry into philosophical methodology. The good news is that we appear to be making advances on this score. The bad news is that failure to recognize or make explicit that our standards are in flux often leads to dogmatism, as I illustrate by attention to three assumptions presently operative in metaphysical and metametaphysical contexts. I close by identifying a tension between vertical and horizontal progress in philosophy, and suggesting an updated version of Carnap's principle of tolerance for new philosophical forms. (shrink)
In his writings Alfred Schutz identifies an artificiality in the concept of life-world produced by Edmund Husserl's method of reduction. As an alternative, he proposes to assume intersubjectivity as a given of everyday life. This eradicates Husserl's distinction between life-world and natural attitude. The subsequent phenomenological project appears to center upon sociological descriptions of the structures of the life-world rather than on a search for apodictic truth. Schutz, however, actually retains Husserl's emphasis on the subject. A tension then arises between (...) the assumption of intersubjectivity and individual experience. Rather than clarifying the concept of intersubjectivity, this further problematizes it. Drawing upon Max Weber's work, Schutz responds by developing a rigorous methodology for studying the social world. But having rejected Husserl's reduction and conflated life-world and natural attitude, Schutz's analysis moves at the level of daily life itself. Consequently, the explanatory categories he proposes appear as abstractions rather than as a way of describing lived experience. Schutz, it is concluded, initiates a scientistic sociology in which the commonsense structures of the natural attitude of everyday life are subverted and replaced by the more rigorous knowledge of the scientific attitude. Schutz's version of phenomenology is ultimately untrue to the spirit of Husserl's original project; and deploying his work as a clear-cut alternative to scientistic tendencies within sociology is not as straightforward as it might at first seem. (shrink)
The main point of this paper is to contribute to understanding Milton Friedman’s (1953) “The Methodology of Positive Economics” (hereafter F1953), one of the most influential statements of economic methodology of the twentieth century, and, in doing so, help discern the non trivial but complex role of philosophic ideas in the shaping of economic theorizing and economists’ self-conception. It also aims to contribute to a better understanding of the theoretical origins of the so-called ‘Chicago’ school of economics. In (...) this paper, I first present detailed textual evidence of the familiarity of George Stigler with the early work of Talcott Parsons, the most important American translator and disseminator of Max Weber’s ideas, who also helped create sociology as a distinct discipline in the United States. The Chicago-Parsons link is no surprise because historians have known that Frank Knight and Parsons corresponded, first about translating Weber and then about matters of mutual interest. Knight, who was a doctoral advisor to Stigler and teacher of Milton Friedman, was not merely the first American translator of Weber, but remained keenly and, perhaps, increasingly interested in Weber throughout his life. I am unfamiliar with any investigation of the Weberian influence on Knight’s students. I show that Stigler praises Parsons’ treatment of Alfred Marshall, who plays an outsized role in Friedman’s self-conception of economics and economic theory. I also show that Stigler calls attention to the methodological similarity between Friedman and Parsons. Finally, I turn to F1953, and I show, first, that some of its most distinctive and philosophically interesting claims echo Parsons’ treatment of methodological matters; second that once alerted one can note Weberian terminology in F1953. (shrink)