The Politics of Method in the Human Sciences: Positivism and Its Epistemological Others

The Politics of Method in the Human Sciences: Positivism and Its Epistemological Others

by George Steinmetz
     
 

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ISBN-10: 0822335182

ISBN-13: 9780822335184

Pub. Date: 05/16/2005

Publisher: Duke University Press Books


The Politics of Method in the Human Sciences provides a remarkable comparative assessment of the variations of positivism and alternative epistemologies in the contemporary human sciences. Often declared obsolete, positivism is alive and well in a number of the fields; in others, its influence is significantly diminished. The essays in this collection

Overview


The Politics of Method in the Human Sciences provides a remarkable comparative assessment of the variations of positivism and alternative epistemologies in the contemporary human sciences. Often declared obsolete, positivism is alive and well in a number of the fields; in others, its influence is significantly diminished. The essays in this collection investigate its mutations in form and degree across the social science disciplines. Looking at methodological assumptions field by field, individual essays address anthropology, area studies, economics, history, the philosophy of science, political science and political theory, and sociology. Essayists trace disciplinary developments through the long twentieth century, focusing on the decades since World War II.

Contributors explore and contrast some of the major alternatives to positivist epistemologies, including Marxism, psychoanalysis, poststructuralism, narrative theory, and actor-network theory. Almost all the essays are written by well-known practitioners of the fields discussed. Some essayists approach positivism and anti-positivism via close readings of texts influential in their respective disciplines. Some engage in ethnographies of the present-day human sciences; others are more historical in method. All of them critique contemporary social scientific practice. Together, they trace a trajectory of thought and method running from the past through the present and pointing toward possible futures.

Contributors. Andrew Abbott, Daniel Breslau, Michael Burawoy, Andrew Collier , Michael Dutton, Geoff Eley, Anthony Elliott, Stephen Engelmann, Sandra Harding, Emily Hauptmann, Webb Keane, Tony Lawson, Sophia Mihic, Philip Mirowski, Timothy Mitchell, William H. Sewell Jr., Margaret R. Somers, George Steinmetz, Elizabeth Wingrove

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780822335184
Publisher:
Duke University Press Books
Publication date:
05/16/2005
Series:
Politics, History, and Culture
Edition description:
New Edition
Pages:
632
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 9.25(h) x (d)

Table of Contents

Contents

Acknowledgments....................ix
INTRODUCTION Positivism and Its Others in the Social Sciences George Steinmetz....................1
ANTHROPOLOGY Estrangement, Intimacy, and the Objects of Anthropology Webb Keane....................59
AREA STUDIES/ASIAN STUDIES The Trick of Words: Asian Studies, Translation, and the Problems of Knowledge Michael Dutton....................89
ECONOMICS Economists and the Economy in the Twentieth Century Timothy Mitchell....................126
ECONOMICS/PHILOSOPHY OF SCIENCE How Positivism Made a Pact with the Postwar Social Sciences in the United States Philip Mirowski....................142
HISTORY The Political Unconscious of Social and Cultural History, or, Confessions of a Former Quantitative Historian William H. Sewell Jr....................173
POLITICAL SCIENCE/POLITICAL THEORY Defining "Theory" in Postwar Political Science Emily Hauptmann....................207
SOCIOLOGY AND ECONOMICS Beware Trojan Horses Bearing Social Capital: How Privatization Turned Solidarity into a Bowling Team Margaret R. Somers....................233
SOCIOLOGY Scientific Authority and the Transition to Post-Fordism: The Plausibility of Positivism in U.S. Sociology since 1945 George Steinmetz....................275
PHILOSOPHY AND CRITICAL REALISM Critical Realism Andrew Collier....................327
PHILOSOPHY AND STANDPOINT THEORY Negotiating with the Positivist Legacy: New Social Justice Movements and a Standpoint Politics of Method Sandra Harding....................346
ECONOMICS AND CRITICAL REALISM A Perspective on Modern Economics TonyLawson....................366
PROCESS AND TEMPORALITY IN SOCIOLOGY The Idea of Outcome in U.S. Sociology Andrew Abbott....................393
PSYCHOANALYSIS AS CRITIQUE Psychoanalysis and the Theory of the Subject Anthony Elliott....................427
SOCIOLOGY OF SCIENCE The Real and the Imaginary in Economic Methodology Daniel Breslau....................451
MAKING SENSE IN AND OF POLITICAL SCIENCE Facts, Values, and "Real" Numbers Sophia Mihic, Stephen G. Engelmann, and Elizabeth Rose Wingrove....................470
BEING UNDISCIPLINED On Your Marx: From Cultural History to the History of Society Geo Eley....................496
CONCLUSION Provincializing the Social Sciences Michael Burawoy....................508
References....................527
Contributors....................583
Index....................587
Citation Index....................607

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