A Treatise on Social Theory

Front Cover
Cambridge University Press, Feb 2, 1989 - Social Science - 493 pages
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. But the trilogy will, when completed, be seen to form a coherent and unified whole.
 

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User Review  - thcson - LibraryThing

This is clearly the most detailed study of social science methodology that I've come across. The author begins by differentiating three senses of understanding in social science: reporting (what's ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - thcson - LibraryThing

This is clearly the most detailed study of social science methodology that I've come across. The author begins by differentiating three senses of understanding in social science: reporting (what's ... Read full review

Contents

Preface page xi
1
Roles and systacts
20
Competitive selection and social evolution
37
Social relations
61
Functional differentiation and the accretion of power
76
Systactic identity and collective consciousness
97
Pervasive roles and central institutions
113
Reproduction polarization and compression
138
Intersocietal relations
266
Conclusion
283
Regressions and catastrophes
310
Rebellions reforms and revolutions
340
Test cases 1
367
Test cases 2
386
Test cases 3
411
Hegemony and decline
433

Contradictions and constraints
172
Functional alternatives 2
208
Functional alternatives 3
244

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