Chaos of Disciplines

Chaos of Disciplines

by Andrew Abbott


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In this vital new study, Andrew Abbott presents a fresh and daring analysis of the evolution and development of the social sciences. Chaos of Disciplines reconsiders how knowledge actually changes and advances. Challenging the accepted belief that social sciences are in a perpetual state of progress, Abbott contends that disciplines instead cycle around an inevitable pattern of core principles. New schools of thought, then, are less a reaction to an established order than they are a reinvention of fundamental concepts.
Chaos of Disciplines uses fractals to explain the patterns of disciplines, and then applies them to key debates that surround the social sciences. Abbott argues that knowledge in different disciplines is organized by common oppositions that function at any level of theoretical or methodological scale. Opposing perspectives of thought and method, then, in fields ranging from history, sociology, and literature, are to the contrary, radically similar; much like fractals, they are each mutual reflections of their own distinctions.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780226001012
Publisher: University of Chicago Press
Publication date: 02/15/2001
Edition description: 1
Pages: 248
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.70(d)

About the Author

Andrew Abbott is the Ralph Lewis Professor of Sociology at the University of Chicago. He is author of Department and Discipline and The System of Professions.

Table of Contents

Part 1 Self-Similarity in Social Science
1 The Chaos of Disciplines
2 The Duality of Stress
3 The Fraction of Construction
Appendix: A History of "Social Construction" to 1990
4 The Unity of History
5 The Context of Disciplines
Part 2 Two Essays on Self-Similarity
6 Self-Similar Social Structures
Appendix: Fractal Scales
7 The Selfishness of Men

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