Usable Theory: Analytic Tools for Social and Political Research

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Overview

"Usable Theory is a boon to everyone in search of tools to understand the social world. Those tempted to see theory simply as a means of demonstrating erudition and those tempted to substitute rigorous measurement for engagement with theory should both read Rueschemeyer's new book. With unpretentious but sophisticated clarity, he shows how theory can be a powerful, practical means for getting leverage on a full array of substantive problems."—Peter B. Evans, University of California, Berkeley

"Dietrich Rueschemeyer walks the same path as sociology's founders, particularly Max Weber, and all those in contemporary theory who have sought to resolve the micro-macro gap. He has succeeded where many others have failed. This is a masterful work."—Jonathan H. Turner, University of California, Riverside

"Usable Theory may be the best book on social theory since Weber's Economy and Society. If Rueschemeyer is right that integrated sets of confirmed and general propositions about the social world will one day be possible (and I think he is), this book will contribute greatly to that achievement. In the meantime, it will prove immensely stimulating to new researchers and veteran academics alike in their quest to achieve firmer local knowledge. Essential reading."—James Mahoney, Northwestern University

"This book is a winner, and I believe it will become a standard reference in social theory."—Gary Goertz, University of Arizona

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Editorial Reviews

Teaching Sociology
Rueschemeyer's book is promising as the foundation to produce a literature review and the subsequent drawing of hypotheses. . . . This is valuable to the researcher approaching the field of study for the first time and looking for a basic framework.
— Richard Arnold
American Journal of Sociology
Drawing on his experience teaching classical and modern theory over several decades, Dietrich Rueschemeyer has written a very practical book that aims to provide a catalogue of usable theory. . . . Although the book is meant to aid undergraduate and graduate students in formulating their research projects, it also might be of interest to seasoned sociologists who want to examine the degree to which their own inclusions and exclusions overlap with those found in this book.
— G. William Domhoff
Political Studies Review
Usable Theory is nothing less than Amazonian in its detail and complexity. . . . Usable Theory is therefore not very well suited to undergraduates, whom it is more likely to confound than enlighten, but it is nevertheless an important book that should be read by advanced students of politics and established social scientists alike.
— Daniel Falkiner
Sociology
The well-written, easy to follow arguments would make this book useful in postgraduate upper-level theory and/or methods courses. . . . Usable Theory . . . provide[s] a starting point for effective utilization of theory in social research. From this perspective, it deserves a spot on any researcher's shelf.
— Jason L Weigle
Teaching Sociology - Richard Arnold
Rueschemeyer's book is promising as the foundation to produce a literature review and the subsequent drawing of hypotheses. . . . This is valuable to the researcher approaching the field of study for the first time and looking for a basic framework.
American Journal of Sociology - G. William Domhoff
Drawing on his experience teaching classical and modern theory over several decades, Dietrich Rueschemeyer has written a very practical book that aims to provide a catalogue of usable theory. . . . Although the book is meant to aid undergraduate and graduate students in formulating their research projects, it also might be of interest to seasoned sociologists who want to examine the degree to which their own inclusions and exclusions overlap with those found in this book.
Political Studies Review - Daniel Falkiner
Usable Theory is nothing less than Amazonian in its detail and complexity. . . . Usable Theory is therefore not very well suited to undergraduates, whom it is more likely to confound than enlighten, but it is nevertheless an important book that should be read by advanced students of politics and established social scientists alike.
Sociology - Jason L Weigle
The well-written, easy to follow arguments would make this book useful in postgraduate upper-level theory and/or methods courses. . . . Usable Theory . . . provide[s] a starting point for effective utilization of theory in social research. From this perspective, it deserves a spot on any researcher's shelf.
Sociology - Jason L. Weigle
The well-written, easy to follow arguments would make this book useful in postgraduate upper-level theory and/or methods courses. . . . Usable Theory . . . provide[s] a starting point for effective utilization of theory in social research. From this perspective, it deserves a spot on any researcher's shelf.
From the Publisher
"Rueschemeyer's book is promising as the foundation to produce a literature review and the subsequent drawing of hypotheses. . . . This is valuable to the researcher approaching the field of study for the first time and looking for a basic framework."—Richard Arnold, Teaching Sociology

"Drawing on his experience teaching classical and modern theory over several decades, Dietrich Rueschemeyer has written a very practical book that aims to provide a catalogue of usable theory. . . . Although the book is meant to aid undergraduate and graduate students in formulating their research projects, it also might be of interest to seasoned sociologists who want to examine the degree to which their own inclusions and exclusions overlap with those found in this book."—G. William Domhoff, American Journal of Sociology

"Usable Theory is nothing less than Amazonian in its detail and complexity. . . . Usable Theory is therefore not very well suited to undergraduates, whom it is more likely to confound than enlighten, but it is nevertheless an important book that should be read by advanced students of politics and established social scientists alike."—Daniel Falkiner, Political Studies Review

"The well-written, easy to follow arguments would make this book useful in postgraduate upper-level theory and/or methods courses. . . . Usable Theory . . . provide[s] a starting point for effective utilization of theory in social research. From this perspective, it deserves a spot on any researcher's shelf."—Jason L Weigle, Sociology

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780691129594
  • Publisher: Princeton University Press
  • Publication date: 8/3/2009
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 352
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Dietrich Rueschemeyer is professor emeritus of sociology at Brown University and a research professor at Brown's Watson Institute for International Studies. He is the author of "Power and the Division of Labor" and the coeditor of "Bringing the State Back In", among many other books.

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Table of Contents

Preface ix
CHAPTER I: Analytic Tools for Social and Political Research 1
CHAPTER II: A General Frame: Social Action 27
CHAPTER III: Knowledge 40
CHAPTER IV: Norms 64
CHAPTER V: Preferences 87
CHAPTER VI: Emotions 107
CHAPTER VII: "The Human Group" Revisited 123
CHAPTER VIII: Midpoint 135
CHAPTER IX: Aggregations 152
CHAPTER X: Collective Action 168
CHAPTER XI: Power and Cooperation 183
CHAPTER XII: Institutions 204
CHAPTER XIII: Social Identities 228
CHAPTER XIV: Macrocontexts 243
CHAPTER XV: Cultural Explanations 265
CHAPTER XVI: Conclusion: Usable Theory? 286
References 301
Index 325

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