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In this first volume of a projected trilogy, the author argues that a methodology adequate to solve the long-standing debate over the status of the social as against the natural sciences can be constructed in terms of a fourhold distinction between the reportage, explanation, description and evaluation of human behaviour. The distinction rests on an analysis of the scope and nature of social theory which is not only original in conception but far-reaching in its implications for the assessment of the results of sociological, anthropological and historical research. In this volume, there are set out the separate and distinctive criteria by which the reports, explanations, descriptions and evaluations put forward by social scientists of rival theoretical schools require to be tested. These criteria will then be applied in Volume II to a substantive theory of social relations, social structure and social evolution, and in Volume III to a detailed analysis of the society of twentieth-century England. Each of the three volumes can be read independently of the others. Thus the trilogy will, when completed, be seen to form a coherent and unified whole.Read more
- Completes the trilogy, applying original social theory to concrete case of twentieth-century English society
- Volumes I and II widely praised as 'remarkable', 'magisterial' and 'a bravura performance'
- Well known and highly respected author, Runciman known not only for social theory but also for leading the Commission on Social Justice, and chairing The Royal Commission on Criminal Justice
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- Date Published: March 1983
- format: Paperback
- isbn: 9780521272513
- length: 364 pages
- dimensions: 228 x 152 x 22 mm
- weight: 0.556kg
- availability: Available
Table of Contents
Part I. Introduction: The Nature of Social Theory:
1. Social theory as science
2. The concept of understanding
3. Analysis of actions
4. Two kinds of value-judgement
5. The problem of reflexivity
Part II. Reportage in Social Theory:
7. The practice of primary understanding
8. The choice of terms
9. The bounds of reportage
10. Sub-types and variants
11. Definition and classification
12. Inference within reportage
Part III. Explanation in Social Theory:
14. Theory-making and secondary understanding
15. The grounding of hypotheses
16. Interpreting weak but adequate theories
17. Varieties of causes
18. Goals, functions and evolution
Part IV. Description in Social Theory:
20. Tertiary understanding
21. Authenticity and its opposites
22. Putting descriptions across
23. The uses of analogy and detail
24. Conceptualization and narration
25. The relation of description to evaluation
26. How good can descriptions hope to be? 27. Conclusion
Part V. Evaluation in Social Theory:
28. The inescapability of evaluation
29. Benevolence as a presupposition
30. forms of misevaluation
31. Appealing to the 'facts'
32. Evaluation without pre-emption
33. Theory-neutral uses of evaluative terms
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