Generally Speaking: An Invitation to Concept-Driven Sociology

ISBN : 9780197519271

Eviatar Zerubavel
128 Pages
140 x 216 mm
Pub date
Dec 2020
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In this invitation to "concept-driven" sociology, defying the conventional split between "theory" and "methodology" (as well as between "quantitative" and "qualitative" research), Eviatar Zerubavel introduces a yet unarticulated "Simmelian" method of theorizing specifically designed to reveal fundamental, often hidden social patterns. Insisting that it can actually be taught, he examines the theoretico-methodological process (revolving around the epistemic and analytical acts of focusing, generalizing, "exampling," and analogizing) by which concept-driven researchers can distill generic social patterns from the culturally, historically, and domain-specific contexts in which they encounter them empirically. Disregarding conventionally noted substantive variability in order to uncover conventionally disregarded formal commonalities, Generally Speaking draws on cross-cultural, cross-historical, cross-domain, and cross-level analogies in an effort to reveal formal parallels across disparate contexts. Using numerous examples from culturally and historically diverse contexts and a wide range of social domains while also disregarding scale, Zerubavel thus introduces a pronouncedly transcontextual "generic" sociology.


Chapter 1 Focusing
Chapter 2 Generalizing
Chapter 3 Exampling
Chapter 4 Analogizing
Chapter 5 Eureka!

About the author: 

Eviatar Zerubavel is Board of Governors Distinguished Professor of Sociology at Rutgers University. His publications include The Elephant in the Room: Silence and Denial in Everyday Life (Oxford University Press, 2006); Ancestors and Relatives: Genealogy, Identity, and Community (Oxford University Press, 2011. Awarded Honorable mention in the 2012 PROSE Award Sociology and Social Work category); Hidden in Plain Sight: The Social Structure of Irrelevance (Oxford University Press, 2015); and Taken for Granted: The Remarkable Power of the Unremarkable (2018).

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