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Theory and Progress in Social Science - James B. Rule

Theory and Progress in Social Science

Hardcover

Published: 28th April 1997
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This work attacks questions that have long troubled social scientists--questions of the cumulative nature of social inquiry. Does the knowledge generated by the study of social, political, and economic life grow more comprehensive over time? Do today's social scientists in any meaningful sense know more than their intellectual ancestors about such perennial concerns as the origins of war and peace, or the causes of economic growth, or the forces shaping social stratification, or origins of civil upheaval? These questions go to the heart of social scientists' soul-searching as to whether they are indeed engaged in "science."

"Theory and Progress in Social Science is a perceptive, thought-provoking book--an invitation to sensible thinking about theory in social science during an era when too much jargonistic solipsism prevails." Theda Skocpol, Harvard University "James Rule's book is a unique analysis of the fate of a wide variety of research programs in social science, from formerly fashionable to currently theoretically correct. The book is written elegantly, forcefully, and - most importantly - with great clarity. It will be indispensable in any course on contemporary social theory." Robert R. Alford, City University of New York Graduate Center "This book shines with sense and intelligence. Rule asks why social theory is so rarely cumulative, why fashion seems as important as progress in its sequences. Carefully, he mounts a polite polemic against the blustering imperialism that so often characterizes contemporary theories. All those interested in improving the quality of sociological discourse should read this book." Michael Mann, University of California, Los Angeles "James Rule's pluralism is just what sociology needs. It's about time we stopped fighting with each other over the one way to truth - or tenure - and come to understand that a discipline which studies eclectic human beings needs eclectic theory." Alan Wolfe, Boston University "An intellectual program, Rule argues, should be judged by its contribution to the first-order questions of perennial concern. Rule examines some of the most popular intellectual movements of the 1980s and 90s, among them rational choice, network analysis, and feminist theory, and asks whether they too are destined to be yet more of those carcasses of dead intellectual fashions which dot the landscape of 20th-century social science." Randall Collins, University of California, Riverside "Rule is well worth reading... The book's pleasing candor and lucid style recommend it as an antidote to the often beguiling but usually misleading claims of social theory." Kiernan Healy, Theory & Society "...the issues he raises are likely to stimulate thought. Rule's ideas will be useful to those interested in theory and the sociology of science, as well as to anyone who has tried to explain the point of their research to outsiders." Christine Horne, American Jrnl of Sociology "Rule has an answer that is well worth pondering." Anthony Oberschall, Social Forces

Introduction
Progress: formal and substantive
Dilemmas of intellectual progress
The reckoning of progress
Introduction to Part II
Rational choice
From Parsons to Alexander: closure through theoretical generality
Network analysis
Feminist analysis in social science James Rule and Leslie Irvine
Introduction to Part III
Theory as expression
Theory for coping
Summary and conclusion
Table of Contents provided by Publisher. All Rights Reserved.

ISBN: 9780521573658
ISBN-10: 0521573653
Audience: Professional
Format: Hardcover
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 272
Published: 28th April 1997
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Country of Publication: GB
Dimensions (cm): 22.8 x 15.2  x 1.9
Weight (kg): 0.57