Cover of On Sociology Second Edition Volume One by John H. Goldthorpe
On Sociology Second Edition Volume One
Critique and Program
John H. Goldthorpe

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2006
312 pp.
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Cloth ISBN: 9780804749978
Paper ISBN: 9780804749985

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On Sociology—extensively revised, updated, and enlarged for this second edition—addresses the current state of the discipline. Looking to unify increasingly disparate areas of theory and research, John Goldthorpe presents a new mainstream for sociology, combining the demonstrated strengths of large-scale quantitative research and the explanatory power of social action theory. The author's wide-ranging mastery, extending over comparative macro-sociology, applications of rational action theory, and philosophical and theoretical debates on causality, to key questions in educational attainment and class analysis and to the history of statistics in the social sciences, make this an essential book for any sociologist.

The collection of closely interlinked essays is presented in two volumes. Volume One begins with a series of critical essays that focus on methodological problems in certain styles of sociological work. The underlying theme is the need for recognition of a common "logic of inference" that must underpin qualitative and quantitative work alike. Volume Two illustrates and applies a new mainstream program, addressing various topics in social stratification to highlight different aspects of the integration of research and theory. Volume Two ends with two retrospective essays that place the concerns of On Sociology in the context of the history of the discipline in both the United States and Europe.

About the author

John H. Goldthorpe is an Emeritus Fellow of Nuffield College, Oxford University. He is a Fellow of the British Academy, a member of the Academia Europaea, and a foreign member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences.

"Goldthorpe, one of Great Britain's most eminent sociologists, finds sociology in a troubling state of disarray. Research and theory proceed in ignorance of each other, and the mantra of "pluralism" undermines the prospect of consensus on the discipline's fundamental purpose and approach. In this expanded, two-volume edition of his manifesto, he proposes a solution to this lamentable state of affairs: make a particular style of research the chief paradigm... The book is useful, erudite, and occasionally provocative."

Contemporary Sociology

"When the most distinguished empirical social researcher in Britain takes on the problem of the relation between theory and research, places the issues in their larger historical setting (based on wide and accurate reading in the historical literature), and also states the issue in current technical terms, and does so with both panache and bite, we get a book that is well worth reading."

American Journal of Sociology

"Goldthorpe's project has all the scope and reach of the post-war functionalist program of Parsons and Merton, but it is likely to be more successful precisely because it allows a substantial role for empirical scholarship and can contain and encompass the ongoing quantitative revolution. . . . The publication of On Sociology will come to be seen as a turning-point in the history of the discipline."

European Sociological Review

"John Goldthorpe has given us a fine book. . . . I cannot think of a better introduction for any aspiring sociologist to the delicate art of synthesizing theory and empirics. . . . Each of Goldthorpe's chapters hammers home the virtues of finding an intellectual rapprochement between statistical modelling, based on large data-sets, structures of social action and interaction, and theory."

British Journal of Sociology