Models of Explanations in Sociology
- learn the basic classification of sociological theories and methods of study; learn the basic approaches in the field of philosophy of the social sciences, the key concepts and categories such as "explanation", "interpretation", "paradigm", "model", "relativism", etc.
- be able to apply various sociological theories (programs) to interpret empirical case studies and construct programs of sociological research, including general questions of methodological choice, research language, and quality criteria of the proposed research
- have skills (to gain experience) of recognition and assessment of methods of sociological theorizing and "cognitive styles" representing various schools, trends and relationships to different historical stages of development of sociological thought
- reproduces and recognizes the key concepts and categories of sociology
- classifies and evaluates sociological theories and methods of study
- applies sociological theories and methods of study to interpret empirical research
- Introduction: research programs, models of explanation and logic of sociological inquiryThe ratio of epistemology, methodology and methods of sociological research. Historical context: Methodenstreit ("The Debate on Method"). Intellectual context: "reconstructed logic" and "logic actually used". The crisis of the positivist conception of science and the emergence of the doctrine of "scientific revolutions" (Kuhn). Post-positivism in the philosophy of the social sciences. Paradigms and research programs (I.Lakatos) and models of explanation. Leading sociological "paradigm" and the real logic of the study. Are there any “rules of sociological method?” Explanation, semantic explanation and interpretation. Specificity of scientific explanations. The adequacy and justification of the explanations in non-experimental science. The problem of uncertainty of interpretation.
- Social Behaviorism. Naturalistic paradigm. Positivism and the deductive-nomological model of explanations of the social sciences. Naturalist model of rational actionSociological version of "positivism." The doctrine of logical positivism and deductive-nomological model of explanation. The model of rational action by C. Hempel ("R scheme") and its criticism. Intentional behavior and paradoxes of practical rationality. The use of naturalistic model of rational action to macrosociological agents: the dilemmas of collective action and public choice, instrumentalism in theories of economic behavior. Behaviorism and an alternative program of naturalistic explanation of action. The methodological principles of radical behaviorism. B. Skinner and the criticism of the concept of "an autonomous rational actor". Behaviorist model of action and its opponents. From micro-social to macro-social: behaviorist exchange theory in sociology.
- FunctionalismMotives, purposes and functions. Types of functional explanations. Classic functionalism and "illegal" teleology. An example: the functionalist theory of social stratification. Structural functionalism: the theory or methodology? Examples of functionalist explanations: analysis of functions of "political machine" (R. Merton) and "democratic leadership" in the men's military alliances (M. Douglas). Logical functionalism: T. Parsons on the structure of social action. Can a "normative voluntarism" to solve the problem of interpretation of rational action?
- InterpretationThe core of the interpretive program in social sciences (anti-naturalism, "semantic" explanation of intelligible action, understanding). P. Winch about the explanatory power of the "rules" in the social sciences. "The concept of social": public following of the rules in "language games." Winch on the impossibility of causal explanation of intelligible action. Criticism of Winch: the principle of uncertainty of rules and the problem of adequacy of an explanation. "Hermeneutic circle," the uncertainty of interpretation and revision of the classical doctrine of hermeneutics. Formation of the radical "theory of interpretation" (Ch. Taylor, P. Ricoeur, H.-G.Gadamer). The concept of cultural context and cultural studies’ model of interpretation of a text as an interdisciplinary paradigm for the social sciences. Criticism of the theory of radical interpretation. Example: constructionist "ethnography of science." Model of "double hermeneutic" (A. Giddens) in cultural anthropology and sociology. Strategy of "multiple triangulation" (N. Denzin). "Thick" and "thin" descriptions in cultural anthropology (C. Geertz) Ethnomethodological critique of the interpretive program. Specifics of ethnomethodological model of explanation (reflexive use of the "body of knowledge", norms as "achievements", the problematic possibility of understanding situational character of the social order, the principle of "and so on"). Criticism of ethnomethodology: how possible is a "general theory of context?" Analysis of the research practice: to maintain of gender identity ("Agnes case," G. Garfinkel), procedures of conversational analysis (H. Saks).
- StructuralismOn the other side of an action: the structuralist model in social sciences. Structural determinants and macro-social context of action. Formation of the structuralist program: structuralism in linguistics and cultural anthropology. Features of the "strong" structuralist explanations (latency of universal structures, semiotic nature of structuralist explanations, equivalence and mutual transformation of communication systems). C. Levi-Strauss and the analysis of the communicative sign systems in structural anthropology (myths, primitive classification systems, marriage rules, kinship systems). Binary oppositions as universal unconscious thinking. An example of structuralist explanations in cultural anthropology: the social organization of memory in Nuer (E. Evans-Pritchard). The structuralist perspective of Marxism and psychoanalysis: "blind forces" of material and sexual reproduction. Sociological version of structuralism. Example: three concepts of power (Marx, Parsons, Foucault). Structural theory of P. M. Blau: the emergence of social organization and inequality in exchange networks. Criticism of structuralist explanations.
- Macionis, J. J. (2012). Sociology : a global introduction. Turkey, Europe: Pearson Prentice Hall. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&site=eds-live&db=edsbas&AN=edsbas.5C1FB862
- Manicas, P. T. (2006). A Realist Philosophy of Social Science : Explanation and Understanding. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&site=eds-live&db=edsebk&AN=304506
- Ritzer, G., & Smart, B. (2001). Handbook of Social Theory. London: SAGE Publications Ltd. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&site=eds-live&db=edsebk&AN=251719
- International Encyclopedia of the Social & Behavioral Sciences. (2002). Elsevier. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&site=eds-live&db=edsnar&AN=edsnar.oai.pure.rug.nl.publications.84e6be92.b75c.44d9.b60b.ac32f2040445