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On Four Myths of Sociology and Three Generations of Sociological Theories

JACEK SZMATKA and TADEUSZ SOZAŃSKI
Polish Sociological Review
No. 107 (1994), pp. 219-233
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/41274544
Page Count: 15
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On Four Myths of Sociology and Three Generations of Sociological Theories
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Abstract

Four widespread metatheoretical views are criticized in this paper, namely, that the "interpretive" nature of social facts forces sociology to renounce methodological standards of "hard sciences;" that the social world is too complex to allow for model building; that empirical research must amount to "exploration" of facts embedded in a concrete historical context; and that classical social theory, for all its deficiencies, gives us a proper understanding of what a general theory should be. The authors' positive claim is that there already exist sociological theories which break with all myths endemic to traditional theorizing.The theories of the third generation (epitomized by the "elementary theory") which accept the "scientific method" are both abstract and empirically testable unlike the theories of the first generation (old and new "grand theory") which suffer from the lack of explicitly stated "scope conditions". The second generation theories are testable, but they are endowed with scope conditions which refer to concrete people and societies rather than to abstractly defined actors and systems.

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