Usable Theory: Analytic Tools for Social and Political Research

Usable Theory: Analytic Tools for Social and Political Research

By: Dietrich Rueschemeyer (author)Paperback

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The project of twentieth-century sociology and political science--to create predictive scientific theory--resulted in few full-scale theories that can be taken off the shelf and successfully applied to empirical puzzles. Yet focused "theory frames" that formulate problems and point to relevant causal factors and conditions have produced vibrant, insightful, and analytically oriented empirical research. While theory frames alone cannot offer explanation or prediction, they guide empirical theory formation and give direction to inferences from empirical evidence. They are also responsible for much of the progress in the social sciences. In Usable Theory, distinguished sociologist Dietrich Rueschemeyer shows graduate students and researchers how to construct theory frames and use them to develop valid empirical hypotheses in the course of empirical social and political research. Combining new ideas as well as analytic tools derived from classic and recent theoretical traditions, the book enlarges the rationalist model of action by focusing on knowledge, norms, preferences, and emotions, and it discusses larger social formations that shape elementary forms of action. Throughout, Usable Theory seeks to mobilize the implicit theoretical social knowledge used in everyday life. * Offers tools for theory building in social and political research * Complements the rationalist model of action with discussions of knowledge, norms, preferences, and emotions * Relates theoretical ideas to problems of methodology * Situates elementary forms of action in relation to larger formations * Combines new ideas with themes from classic and more recent theories

About Author

Dietrich Rueschemeyer is professor emeritus of sociology at Brown University and a research professor at Brown's Watson Institute for International Studies. He is the author of "Power and the Division of Labor" and the coeditor of "Bringing the State Back In", among many other books.


Preface ix CHAPTER I: Analytic Tools for Social and Political Research 1 CHAPTER II: A General Frame: Social Action 27 CHAPTER III: Knowledge 40 CHAPTER IV: Norms 64 CHAPTER V: Preferences 87 CHAPTER VI: Emotions 107 CHAPTER VII: "The Human Group" Revisited 123 CHAPTER VIII: Midpoint 135 CHAPTER IX: Aggregations 152 CHAPTER X: Collective Action 168 CHAPTER XI: Power and Cooperation 183 CHAPTER XII: Institutions 204 CHAPTER XIII: Social Identities 228 CHAPTER XIV: Macrocontexts 243 CHAPTER XV: Cultural Explanations 265 CHAPTER XVI: Conclusion: Usable Theory? 286 References 301 Index 325

Product Details

  • ISBN13: 9780691129594
  • Format: Paperback
  • Number Of Pages: 352
  • ID: 9780691129594
  • weight: 482
  • ISBN10: 0691129592
  • translations: English
  • language of text: English

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