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Narrative, Event-Structure Analysis, and Causal Interpretation in Historical Sociology

Larry J. Griffin
American Journal of Sociology
Vol. 98, No. 5 (Mar., 1993), pp. 1094-1133
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2781584
Page Count: 40
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Narrative, Event-Structure Analysis, and Causal Interpretation in Historical Sociology
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Abstract

Recent developments in historical sociology emphasize the centrality of temporality to analysis and explanation. Narrative uses temporal order to organize information about events and to foster their understanding but is insufficiently systematic to substitute for sociological explanation. This article illustrates a new interpretative heuristic for the computer- assisted analysis of qualitative narrative sequences, "event-structure analysis,"that infuses narrative with greater rigor and explicitness. Through the analysis of a lynching that took place in Mississippi in 1930, this article shows how event-structure analysis can be used to build replicable and generalizable causal interpretations of events.

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