Comparative Methods in the Social Sciences

Overview

Even after teaching generations of social scientists, Neil Smelser's classic study remains the most definitive statement of methodological issues for comparative scholars in political science, anthropology, sociology, economics, and psychology. These issues are timeless and therefore the lucid analysis remains timely and relevant-offering a unique clarity to working scholars, as well as students fighting their way through the methodological thickets of comparative studies.

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Comparative Methods in the Social Sciences

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Overview

Even after teaching generations of social scientists, Neil Smelser's classic study remains the most definitive statement of methodological issues for comparative scholars in political science, anthropology, sociology, economics, and psychology. These issues are timeless and therefore the lucid analysis remains timely and relevant-offering a unique clarity to working scholars, as well as students fighting their way through the methodological thickets of comparative studies.

Smelser posits a methodological continuity between the comparative studies of past masters and the more recent flow of contemporary comparative work. To that end, he takes a pragmatic, critical look at the classic studies of Alexis de Tocqueville, Émile Durkheim, and Max Weber. His analyses respect the historical specifics and contexts of their work, but also raise general issues such as cross-unit comparability, empirical representation of theoretical concepts and measures, and historical causality. The book further deals with the ongoing flows of comparative study in the social sciences, which, while methodologically more self-conscious than past work, nevertheless face a common set of issues, including causation, classification, and reducing bias.

This book is one of the most well-known and frequently referenced studies of methodology and historical applications in the social sciences, and how the approaches vary by disciplines. It is written by the internationally recognized expert on the intersection of sociology with economics, psychology, and political science. An enduring resource, it is presented now as part of the Classics of the Social Sciences Series from Quid Pro Books.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781610271707
  • Publisher: Quid Pro, LLC
  • Publication date: 3/8/2013
  • Pages: 270
  • Product dimensions: 6.14 (w) x 9.21 (h) x 0.57 (d)

Meet the Author

NEIL J. SMELSER is a professor of sociology at the University of California, Berkeley. He earned degrees from Harvard and Oxford, as well as his PhD from Harvard in 1958. Most of his academic career has been spent in Sociology at the University of California at Berkeley, where he is University Professor Emeritus. He has also served as director of the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences at Stanford.

Dr. Smelser has been recognized by election into the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the American Philosophical Association, and the National Academy of Sciences. He has served as President of the American Sociological Association. And in 2002 he received the first Mattei Dogan Award from the International Sociological Association, for a distinguished career in sociology.
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