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summary

In the social sciences today, students are taught theory by reading and analyzing the works of Karl Marx, Max Weber, and other foundational figures of the discipline. What they rarely learn, however, is how to actually theorize. The Art of Social Theory is a practical guide to doing just that.

In this one-of-a-kind user’s manual for social theorists, Richard Swedberg explains how theorizing occurs in what he calls the context of discovery, a process in which the researcher gathers preliminary data and thinks creatively about it using tools such as metaphor, analogy, and typology. He guides readers through each step of the theorist’s art, from observation and naming to concept formation and explanation. To theorize well, you also need a sound knowledge of existing social theory. Swedberg introduces readers to the most important theories and concepts, and discusses how to go about mastering them. If you can think, you can also learn to theorize. This book shows you how.

Concise and accessible, The Art of Social Theory features helpful examples throughout, and also provides practical exercises that enable readers to learn through doing.

Table of Contents

  1. Cover
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  1. Title page, Copyright, Dedication
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  1. Contents
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  1. Introduction: Why Theorize and Can You Learn to Do It?
  2. pp. 1-10
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  1. PART 1: How to Theorize
  2. pp. 11-12
  1. 1. Starting Anew
  2. pp. 13-28
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  1. 2. Social Observation
  2. pp. 29-51
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  1. 3. Naming, Concept, and Typology
  2. pp. 52-79
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  1. 4. Analogy, Metaphor, and Pattern
  2. pp. 80-97
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  1. 5. Coming Up with an Explanation
  2. pp. 98-124
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  1. PART 2: Preparing for Theorizing
  2. pp. 125-126
  1. 6. Heuristics
  2. pp. 127-145
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  1. 7. Practical Exercises
  2. pp. 146-168
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  1. 8. The Role of Theory
  2. pp. 169-187
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  1. 9. Imagination and Art
  2. pp. 188-209
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  1. 10. Summary and More
  2. pp. 210-229
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  1. Appendix: How to Theorize according to Charles S. Peirce
  2. pp. 230-248
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  1. Acknowledgments
  2. pp. 249-250
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  1. Notes
  2. pp. 251-252
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  1. References
  2. pp. 253-278
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  1. Index
  2. pp. 279-284
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Additional Information

ISBN
9781400850358
Related ISBN
9780691155227
MARC Record
OCLC
883373460
Pages
288
Launched on MUSE
2016-01-01
Language
English
Open Access
No
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