Cloth $65.00 ISBN: 9780226706733 Published September 2011
Paper $23.00 ISBN: 9780226706740 Published September 2011
E-book $7.00 to $20.00 About E-books ISBN: 9780226706726 Published August 2011

Interpretation and Social Knowledge

On the Use of Theory in the Human Sciences

Isaac Ariail Reed

Isaac Ariail Reed

216 pages | 12 line drawings | 5-1/2 x 8-1/2 | © 2011
Cloth $65.00 ISBN: 9780226706733 Published September 2011
Paper $23.00 ISBN: 9780226706740 Published September 2011
E-book $7.00 to $20.00 About E-books ISBN: 9780226706726 Published August 2011
For the past fifty years anxiety over naturalism has driven debates in social theory. One side sees social science as another kind of natural science, while the other rejects the possibility of objective and explanatory knowledge. Interpretation and Social Knowledge suggests a different route, offering a way forward for an antinaturalist sociology that overcomes the opposition between interpretation and explanation and uses theory to build concrete, historically specific causal explanations of social phenomena.
John R. Hall, University of California, Davis

“This pithy, deeply intellectual account—strongly based in classic sources and contemporary debates—demands the attention of the widest range of scholars in the social and historical disciplines because it offers all of us an understanding of how diverse practices contribute to our larger enterprise. Isaac Reed is a judicious and charitable reader of differing positions, and Interpretation and Social Knowledge offers an accessible mapping of the epistemological debates that have seized the attention of our most formidable scholars over the past fifty years, and more importantly, it provides a nuanced understanding of how social inquiry can and should proceed.”

Richard Swedberg, Cornell University
“Whoever thought that sociological theory has little to say today should read this book by Isaac Reed, which is full of life and interesting new ideas. The author surveys and comments on the core ideas in modern sociological theory in a very useful and knowledgeable manner. He also presents a promising new alternative, which he terms interpretivism and which brings together some of the most fruitful ideas in the sociological tradition. Read and enjoy!”
Mayer Zald, University of Michigan
“Isaac Reed has taken on a very large task in this taut and well argued book. Coming after several decades of debate about the forms and possibilities of knowledge in the human sciences, he seeks to separate strong and weak arguments for different epistemic modes that have developed in the social sciences, especially those where social meanings are thought to be part of the explanation of the objects of analysis. He gives arguments their just due, even when he is skeptical about some uses of their theoretical meta-assumptions. Although the book deals with what may seem to be very abstract matters, he beautifully uses the iconic works of a variety of major scholars, such as Geertz, Skocpol, Habermas, and Marx, to locate his argument in ongoing explanations of the social world.”
For more information, or to order this book, please visit http://www.press.uchicago.edu
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