Applying Social Science: The Role of Social Research in Politics, Policy and Practice

Applying Social Science: The Role of Social Research in Politics, Policy and Practice

By: David Byrne (author)Paperback

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In complex contemporary societies social science has become increasingly interwoven into the whole fabric of governance. At the same time there is an increasing recognition that attempts to understand the social world which seek to mimic the linear approaches of the conventional 'hard sciences' are mostly useless given the complex systems character of society in all its aspects. This book draws on a synthesis of critical realism and complexity theory to examine how social science is applied now and how it might be applied in the future in relation to social transformation in a time of crisis. A central argument is that there is no such thing as a 'pure' science of the social and that a recognition of the inevitability of application imposes obligations on social scientists wherever they work which challenge the passivity of most in the face of inequality and injustice.

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About Author

David Byrne is Professor of Sociology and Social Policy in the School of Applied Social Sciences in Durham University. He has worked as an academic and in community development, and has been an inner-city municipal councillor. His interests are in the transition from industrial to post-industrial society and in the methodological programme of the social sciences as this can be applied to understanding social issues and helping social action, and he has published widely on these subjects.


Contents: The methodological foundations of applied social science; Constructing evidence: the development of knowledge which is to be applied; Surveying the social world: assembling knowledge as a basis for action; Evaluating: the role of social science in the establishment of effectiveness and outcomes; Legitimating: the selective use of social science in justifying policy and practice; Consulting: the role of social science in 'participatory' post-democratic politics; Modeling: the use of social science in predicting the future consequences of present actions; Acting: the role of social science in action-research; The Applied Social Sciences and the Academy; Conclusion: Where now?

Product Details

  • publication date: 16/02/2011
  • ISBN13: 9781847424501
  • Format: Paperback
  • Number Of Pages: 240
  • ID: 9781847424501
  • ISBN10: 1847424503

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