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Types of Sociological Theory: Toward a System of Classification

Helmut R. Wagner
American Sociological Review
Vol. 28, No. 5 (Oct., 1963), pp. 735-742
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2089911
Page Count: 8
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Types of Sociological Theory: Toward a System of Classification
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Abstract

In contemporary American sociology, there exists no unified and comprehensive theoretical system that could serve as an instrument for coordinating and integrating existing sociological knowledge. Present-day American sociology represents a multiverse of theories and approaches. For the purpose of bringing at least some external order into a rather chaotic situation, the author suggests a classificatory system that distinguishes three main categories of sociological theory on the basis of general methodological criteria: positive or natural-science theories; interpretative sociologies treating sociology as a science sui generis, and non-scientific or evaluative social theories.

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