Reconstructing Sociology: The Critical Realist Approach

Reconstructing Sociology: The Critical Realist Approach

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Douglas V. Porpora
Cambridge University Press, 9/3/2015
EAN 9781107107373, ISBN10: 1107107377

Hardcover, 249 pages, 22.8 x 15.2 x 1.8 cm
Language: English

Critical realism is a philosophy of science that positions itself against the major alternative philosophies underlying contemporary sociology. This book offers a general critique of sociology, particularly sociology in the United States, from a critical realist perspective. It also acts as an introduction to critical realism for students and scholars of sociology. Written in a lively, accessible style, Douglas V. Porpora argues that sociology currently operates with deficient accounts of truth, culture, structure, agency, and causality that are all better served by a critical realist perspective. This approach argues against the alternative sociological perspectives, in particular the dominant positivism which privileges statistical techniques and experimental design over ethnographic and historical approaches. However, the book also compares critical realism favourably with a range of other approaches, including poststructuralism, pragmatism, interpretivism, practice theory, and relational sociology. Numerous sociological examples are included, and each chapter addresses well-known and current work in sociology.

1. Seven myths of American sociology
2. Do realists run regressions?
3. What is truth?
4. Whatever happened to social structure?
5. Are we not men – or, rather, persons?
6. What and where is culture?
7. Do we need critical realism?
8. So what do we do with it?