Hardcover ISBN: 9780804728447
This book challenges much that has been written about the decline of sociology as a vital, essential area of inquiry into the human condition. Against this Greek chorus of woe, these papers show by example that sociology can make progress, select significant problems, and cumulate an integrated and coherent set of findings and theoretical understandings.
Although the twenty papers in the book engage a wide variety of issues, they are united by their adherence to one of the most active and successful traditions in sociology, the group process tradition. Group process research programs can examine tractable problems posed by social psychological phenomena for which sociology has the best methods of study; they have the potential for a hardware-based, technological research front that discovers new phenomena; and they come closest of all approaches in sociological research to using cognitive criteria in the choice of problems and to studying immutable phenomena. The overall aim of the book is to provide models for researchers struggling to develop, construct, and integrate coherent sociological theory and knowledge.
The papers are grouped around three themes: (1) the problem of theory construction in sociology, including what is meant by “theory” and the methods of testing it, particularly empirical testing; (2) the extension and elaboration of existing theories of group processes, notably in the study of status, sentiment, and the comparison process; and (3) the theoretical issues at the intersection of social structures, the pattern of connection in social networks, and the process of rational choice.
About the authors
Jacek Szmatka is Professor of Sociology at Jagiellonian University, Poland and Adjunct Professor of Sociology at the University of South Carolina. John Skvoretz is Carolina Distinguished Professor of Sociology at the University of South Carolina. Joseph Berger is Professor of Sociology at Stanford University and co-editor, with Morris Zelditch, of Theoretical Research Programs: Studies in Theory Growth (Stanford, 1993)
“There is nothing in the literature like this exciting project. The authors are among the best and the brightest in the theory-driven research tradition of world social science, particularly sociology. Here are major researchers coming together and explaining their latest research or articulating their vision of how to build a social science. All the articles are well written, and there is not a single weak one in the collection.”—Jonathan Turner,University of California, Riverside