Isaac Ariail Reed

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Analytical Sociology: Appreciation and Ambivalence

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Keywords: Sociological theory, analytical sociology, historical sociology, interpretation, causality.

Daniel Little's discussion of the relationship between Analytical Sociology's stated program and various exemplars of sociological scholarship occasions three questions. The first two are historical and "contextual": When and where is social life mechanistic, and how does it become that way? When and where does the assumption of a purposive, agentic actor apply? The third is reflexive: what is the relationship between analytic sociological theory and social theory more broadly understood? These questions lead to an argument that sociology, as a human science, should have a broader base of theoretical concepts, and a more meaning-centered understanding of causal explanation, than Analytic Sociology would suggest.

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