In the social sciences today, students are taught theory by reading and analyzing the works of Karl Marx, Max Weber, and other foundational figures of the discipline. What they rarely learn, however, is how to actually theorize. The Art of Social Theory is a practical guide to doing just that.
In this one-of-a-kind user's manual for social theorists, Richard Swedberg explains how theorizing occurs in what he calls the context of discovery, a process in which the researcher gathers preliminary data and thinks creatively about it using tools such as metaphor, analogy, and typology. He guides readers through each step of the theorist’s art, from observation and naming to concept formation and explanation. To theorize well, you also need a sound knowledge of existing social theory. Swedberg introduces readers to the most important theories and concepts, and discusses how to go about mastering them. If you can think, you can also learn to theorize. This book shows you how.
Concise and accessible, The Art of Social Theory features helpful examples throughout, and also provides practical exercises that enable readers to learn through doing.
|Publisher:||Princeton University Press|
|Product dimensions:||5.40(w) x 8.40(h) x 0.90(d)|
About the Author
Richard Swedberg is professor of sociology at Cornell University. His books include Tocqueville's Political Economy, Principles of Economic Sociology, and Max Weber and the Idea of Economic Sociology (all Princeton).
Table of Contents
Introduction: Why Theorize and Can You Learn to Do It? 1
Part 1: How to Theorize
Chapter 1. Starting Anew 13
Chapter 2. Social Observation 29
Chapter 3. Naming, Concept, and Typology 52
Chapter 4. Analogy, Metaphor, and Pattern 80
Chapter 5. Coming Up with an Explanation 98
Part 2: Preparing for Theorizing
Chapter 6. Heuristics 127
Chapter 7. Practical Exercises 146
Chapter 8. The Role of Theory 169
Chapter 9. Imagination and Art 188
Chapter 10. Summary and More 210
Appendix: How to Theorize according to Charles S. Peirce 230