The Explanation of Social Action

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9780199773312: The Explanation of Social Action

The Explanation of Social Action is a sustained critique of the conventional understanding of what it means to "explain" something in the social sciences. It makes the strong argument that the traditional understanding involves asking questions that have no clear foundation and provoke an unnecessary tension between lay and expert vocabularies. Drawing on the history and philosophy of the social sciences, John Levi Martin exposes the root of the problem as an attempt to counterpose two radically different types of answers to the question of why someone did a certain thing: first person and third person responses. The tendency is epitomized by attempts to explain human action in "causal" terms. This "causality" has little to do with reality and instead involves the creation and validation of abstract statements that almost no social scientist would defend literally.

This substitution of analysts' imaginations over actors' realities results from an intellectual history wherein social scientists began to distrust the self-understanding of actors in favor of fundamentally anti-democratic epistemologies. These were rooted most defensibly in a general understanding of an epistemic hiatus in social knowledge and least defensibly in the importation of practices of truth production from the hierarchical setting of institutions for the insane. Martin, instead of assuming that there is something fundamentally arbitrary about the cognitive schemes of actors, focuses on the nature of judgment. This implies the need for a social aesthetics, an understanding of the process whereby actors intuit intersubjectively valid qualities of complex social objects. In this thought-provoking and ambitious book, John Levi Martin argues that the most promising way forward to such a science of social aesthetics will involve a rigorous field theory.

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About the Author:


John Levi Martin is Professor of Sociology at the University of Chicago. He is the author of Social Structures, which was awarded the 2010 Theory Prize from the American Sociological Association.

Review:


"John Levi Martin's The Explanation of Social Action is the most important book on both the history and systematics of contemporary social theory, as well as the nature, limits, and prospects of an explanatory social science to be published in recent times. Martin's account is controversial, wide-ranging and simply riveting, and without a doubt revolutionary. Not just any 'theory' book, it's a must-read for all practicing social scientists, regardless of theoretical stripe and approach, whether qualitative, quantitative, historical or ethnographic. Anybody interested in transcending the impasses and dualisms standing in the way of a more thorough understanding of the sources of human action, motivation, and cognition-and thus improve his or her practice as a social scientist-will do well to delve into these pages." --Omar Lizardo, Assistant Professor of Sociology, University of Notre Dame


"If you thought you knew what makes a good social science explanation of conduct, this quirky, plucky, mind-bending book will make you think again. Martin will push, pull, irritate and seduce you to reconsider your cherished conceptions of cause, law, rule, counterfactual, motive, reason, judgment, and indeed the very nature of social action and knowledge. His plea for explanation as 'a social relationship' that coordinates rather than dismisses first-person perspectives, accommodates the intuitive capacities of actors, and captures the concrete properties of the everyday world is sure to spark debate and it will help fuel the development of a cognitively rich sociology." --Loïc Wacquant, Professor of Sociology, University of California-Berkeley, and author of Body and Soul and Urban Outcasts


"Much of sociological theory starts with the assumption that social structure explains social action. In doing so, the meanings people attach to why they are acting are frequently dismissed or even cast as misguided. The Explanation of Social Action is a sophisticated attempt to examine this problem by probing how sociologists and philosophers have thought about causality, the nature of cognition, and the role of culture. John Levi Martin proposes a phenomenological solution to the problem that locates people in the context of social fields." --Neil Fligstein, Professor of Sociology, University of California-Berkeley


"This is the most important and exciting book about social action since Peter Winch's The Idea of Social Science was published in 1958. Like Winch, John Levi Martin is highly skeptical about the possibility of causal explanations of human action, favoring an approach which takes the metaphor of rule-based games to have far greater explanatory value than the notion of a strict causal lawEL. a major work which rightly challenges a theoretical mindset that pervades the academy in general. Martin has done a great service to all who are interested in the explanation of human behavior be they sociologists, philosophers, or psychologists. Theorists who neglect his challenge do so at great peril." --Metapsychology


"Martin is definitely a new force to reckon with in the sociological realm." --Andrew Beveridge, Historical Methods


"While Martin may still be furbishing the concept of habitus, he has successfully carried out a splendid revitalization of field theory. Not only has he freed it from the elements which may have given it a dogmatic character in the past, he has also provided it with a strong and coherent conceptual base. If new elaborations of field theory are desirable, they should really begin here."--Matthieu de Castelbajac, La Vie Des Idees


"Martin takes sociology as his keystone discipline for the social sciences and the question why? as his keystone interrogative. Although Martin speaks as a sociologist, the perspectives and models of explanation that he selects for close analysis have applications in other areas of the social sciences, too. ... It is ideally suited as an illuminating and enjoyable text for a senior seminar in the respective social sciences or for an interdisciplinary capstone course." --International Social Science Review


"It's a bold book. It is also a deeply and persuasively argued book that should be a touchstone in thinking about what we ought to be doing when we are doing sociology. ... The book is a genuine pleasure to read; a tour de force combination of argumentative complexity and stylistic clarity." --Perspectives, Newsletter of the ASA Theory Section


"John Levi Martin is one of the freshest and most original theorists on the current scene. One never finishes his books with the same opinions one had when starting them. And there is no contemporary sociologist whose writing will make you laugh out loud as frequently as The Explanation of Social Action does... Martin's prose is vivid and his knowledge of an extraordinary range of ideas, literatures, and fascinating small facts is without parallel... In a most curious and enviable manners, Martin is simultaneously humble, careful, and wildly provocative. This book deserves a wide audience and ample debate." --American Journal of Sociology


"Reading Martin will cause you to reset your bearings, reconsider long-held views, and reengage with core ideas in sociology.... In a most curious and enviable manner, Martin is simultaneously humble, careful, and wildly provocative. This book deserves a wide audience and ample debate." --American Journal of Sociology


"Martin has presented a piece of social theory of the highest rigour.... Martin has presented a significant, compelling work which goes far beyond a discussion of problems of explanation but penetrates a complex highly important to future social theory: the interconnection between social practice, sensual perceptions and the 'consubstantiality' of the object world." --European Journal of Sociology


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Descripción Oxford University Press Inc, United States, 2011. Hardback. Estado de conservación: New. Language: English . This book usually ship within 10-15 business days and we will endeavor to dispatch orders quicker than this where possible. Brand New Book. Conventional understanding of what it means to explain something in the social sciences provokes unnecessary confusion and conflict, and indeed is often based more on analysts imaginations than actors realities. The Explanation of Social Action lays out a sustained critique of this understanding, pointing out that the root of the problem is an attempt to counterpose two radically different types of answers to the question of why someone did a certain thing-first person responses and third person ones. John Levi Martin illustrates how this tendency is epitomized in attempts to explain human action in causal terms. He shows how this causality has little to do with the real world, but instead involves the creation of imaginary worlds, stemming from an intellectual history whereby social scientists began to distrust the self-understanding of actors and accepted fundamentally anti-democratic epistemologies, due to an epistemic hiatus in social knowledge and the adoption of practices in the intensely hierarchic setting of forced incarceral institutions for the insane.Martin moves on to highlight other traditions that do not assume that the cognitive schemes of actors are fundamentally arbitrary. These traditions in turn suggest that the analytic problems that now arise require attention to the nature of judgment, implying the need for an understanding of the process whereby actors intuit intersubjectively valid qualities of complex social objects. Tackling the very way in which social scientists analyze why people do things, The Explanation of Social Action is a novel and essential take on the evidence on which their explanations are based. Nº de ref. de la librería BTE9780199773312

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Descripción Oxford University Press Inc, United States, 2011. Hardback. Estado de conservación: New. Language: English . Brand New Book ***** Print on Demand *****.Conventional understanding of what it means to explain something in the social sciences provokes unnecessary confusion and conflict, and indeed is often based more on analysts imaginations than actors realities. The Explanation of Social Action lays out a sustained critique of this understanding, pointing out that the root of the problem is an attempt to counterpose two radically different types of answers to the question of why someone did a certain thing-first person responses and third person ones. John Levi Martin illustrates how this tendency is epitomized in attempts to explain human action in causal terms. He shows how this causality has little to do with the real world, but instead involves the creation of imaginary worlds, stemming from an intellectual history whereby social scientists began to distrust the self-understanding of actors and accepted fundamentally anti-democratic epistemologies, due to an epistemic hiatus in social knowledge and the adoption of practices in the intensely hierarchic setting of forced incarceral institutions for the insane.Martin moves on to highlight other traditions that do not assume that the cognitive schemes of actors are fundamentally arbitrary. These traditions in turn suggest that the analytic problems that now arise require attention to the nature of judgment, implying the need for an understanding of the process whereby actors intuit intersubjectively valid qualities of complex social objects. Tackling the very way in which social scientists analyze why people do things, The Explanation of Social Action is a novel and essential take on the evidence on which their explanations are based. Nº de ref. de la librería APC9780199773312

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Descripción Oxford University Press Inc, United States, 2011. Hardback. Estado de conservación: New. Language: English . Brand New Book ***** Print on Demand *****. Conventional understanding of what it means to explain something in the social sciences provokes unnecessary confusion and conflict, and indeed is often based more on analysts imaginations than actors realities. The Explanation of Social Action lays out a sustained critique of this understanding, pointing out that the root of the problem is an attempt to counterpose two radically different types of answers to the question of why someone did a certain thing-first person responses and third person ones. John Levi Martin illustrates how this tendency is epitomized in attempts to explain human action in causal terms. He shows how this causality has little to do with the real world, but instead involves the creation of imaginary worlds, stemming from an intellectual history whereby social scientists began to distrust the self-understanding of actors and accepted fundamentally anti-democratic epistemologies, due to an epistemic hiatus in social knowledge and the adoption of practices in the intensely hierarchic setting of forced incarceral institutions for the insane.Martin moves on to highlight other traditions that do not assume that the cognitive schemes of actors are fundamentally arbitrary. These traditions in turn suggest that the analytic problems that now arise require attention to the nature of judgment, implying the need for an understanding of the process whereby actors intuit intersubjectively valid qualities of complex social objects. Tackling the very way in which social scientists analyze why people do things, The Explanation of Social Action is a novel and essential take on the evidence on which their explanations are based. Nº de ref. de la librería APC9780199773312

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Descripción Oxford University Press. Hardcover. Estado de conservación: New. Hardcover. 416 pages. Dimensions: 9.4in. x 6.2in. x 1.3in.The Explanation of Social Action is a sustained critique of the conventional understanding of what it means to explain something in the social sciences. It makes the strong argument that the traditional understanding involves asking questions that have no clear foundation and provoke an unnecessary tension between lay and expert vocabularies. Drawing on the history and philosophy of the social sciences, John Levi Martin exposes the root of the problem as an attempt to counterpose two radically different types of answers to the question of why someone did a certain thing: first person and third person responses. The tendency is epitomized by attempts to explain human action in causal terms. This causality has little to do with reality and instead involves the creation and validation of abstract statements that almost no social scientist would defend literally. This substitution of analysts imaginations over actors realities results from an intellectual history wherein social scientists began to distrust the self-understanding of actors in favor of fundamentally anti-democratic epistemologies. These were rooted most defensibly in a general understanding of an epistemic hiatus in social knowledge and least defensibly in the importation of practices of truth production from the hierarchical setting of institutions for the insane. Martin, instead of assuming that there is something fundamentally arbitrary about the cognitive schemes of actors, focuses on the nature of judgment. This implies the need for a social aesthetics, an understanding of the process whereby actors intuit intersubjectively valid qualities of complex social objects. In this thought-provoking and ambitious book, John Levi Martin argues that the most promising way forward to such a science of social aesthetics will involve a rigorous field theory. This item ships from multiple locations. Your book may arrive from Roseburg,OR, La Vergne,TN. Hardcover. Nº de ref. de la librería 9780199773312

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