Where history and sociology meet: Forms of discourse and sociohistorical inquiry

Sociological Theory 10 (2):164-193 (1992)
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
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DOI 10.2307/201957
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