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Journal Article

Conceptions of Interaction and Forms of Sociological Explanation

Thomas P. Wilson
American Sociological Review
Vol. 35, No. 4 (Aug., 1970), pp. 697-710
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2093945
Page Count: 14
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Conceptions of Interaction and Forms of Sociological Explanation
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Abstract

Two different conceptions of social interaction, the "normative" and the "interpretive," are examined in terms of the mode of description required for deductive explanation. It is shown that if social interaction is an interpretive process, descriptions of interaction cannot satisfy the requirement for literal description imposed by the logic of deductive explanation. Consequently, sociological explanations of patterns of action must necessarily be interpretive and purposive, in the sense developed by Weber and Kaplan. In addition, this view of social interaction suggests that the process of interpretation itself be taken as a phenomenon for investigations as proposed in ethnomethodology and sociolinguistics.

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