New Rules of Sociological Method -- A Positive Critique of Interpretative Sociologies.
Polity Press, pp. 186.
[HM24 Gid CLMS, ISBN 0-7456-1116-8]
MEMO: about "method" in the sense in which social philosophers characteristically employ the term - the sense in which Durkheim used it in his Rules of Social Method [p. viii].
- Interpretative sociologist are "strong on action, but weak
on structure". On the other hand, fuctionalist and structural
approaches, while "strong on structure", has been
"weak on action "
- Conclusion [pp. 163-170]:
- The social world, unlike the world of nature, has to be grasped as
a skilled accomplishment of active human subjects; the constition
of this world as "meaningful", "accountable",
or "intelligible" depends upon language, regarded, however,
not simply as a system of signs or symbols but as a medium of
practical activity; the social scientist of necessity draws upon
the same sorts of skills as those whose conduct he or she seeks
to analyse in order to describe it; generating description of
social conduct depends upon hermeneutic task of penetrating the
frames of meaning which lay actors themselves draw upon in
constituting ans reconstituting the social world.
- Sociology is not concerned with a "pre-given" universe of
objects, but with one which is constituted or produced by the active
doings of subjects.
- The production and reproduction of society this has to be treaded
as a skilled performance on the part of its members.
- The realm of human agency is bounded. Human beings produce society,
but they do so as historically located actors, and not under conditions
of their own choosing.
- (The duality of structure:) Stucture must not be conceptualized
as simply placing constraints upon human agency, but enabling.
- Processes of structuration involve an interplay of meanings, norms,
- The sociological observer cannot make social life available as
a "phenomenon" for observation independently of drawing
upon her/his knowledge of it as a resource whereby it is constituted
as a "topic for investigation".
- Immersion in a form of life is the necessary and only means whereby
an observer is able to generate such characterizations.
- Sociological concepts this obey a double hermeneutic
- The hermeneutic explication and mediation of divergent forms of life
within descriptive metalanguages of social science
- Explication of the production and reproduction of society as the
accomplished outcome of human agency.