New approaches to social research?

I believe we need to create significantly new approaches to the study of the social. Positivistic sociology, formalistic political science, highly mathematicized economics–these dominant paradigms in several disciplines proceed on the basis of misleading or overly narrow conceptions of science and the social. We need to do a much better job of crafting theories and research methods to the particular features of a social research topic. And we need to be much more open to the innovations and new perspectives that are emerging in various areas of the social sciences (for example comparative historical sociology). This means that there needs to be a freeranging, innovative consideration of the ways in which it is possible to study and explain various social phenomena. (See “The Heterogeneous Social” for more discussion of this critique.)

(Ian Shapiro’s The Flight from Reality in the Human Sciences is an interesting contribution.)

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