After Method: Mess in Social Science Research (Paperback) book cover

After Method

Mess in Social Science Research

By John Law

© 2005 – Routledge

200 pages | 1 B/W Illus.

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Paperback: 9780415341752
pub: 2004-08-12
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Description

John Law argues that methods don't just describe social realities but are also involved in creating them. The implications of this argument are highly significant. If this is the case, methods are always political, and it raises the question of what kinds of social realities we want to create.

Most current methods look for clarity and precision. It is usually said that only poor research produces messy findings, and the idea that things in the world might be fluid, elusive, or multiple is unthinkable. Law's startling argument is that this is wrong and it is time for a new approach. Many realities, he says, are vague and ephemeral. If methods want to know and help to shape the world, then they need to reinvent themselves and their politics to deal with mess. That is the challenge. Nothing less will do.

Table of Contents

1. Introduction 2. Scientific Practices 3. Multiple Worlds 4. Fluid Results 5. Elusive Objects 6. Non-Conventional Forms 7. Ontological Politics 8. Answers and Questions Glossary References

About the Author

John Law is Professor of Sociology and STS (Science and Technology Studies) at Lancaster University. He has written widely on the sociology of science and technology, organisation, health-care, disasters, and social theory and methods, where his continuing concern has been with the materiality and spatiality of complexity.

About the Series

International Library of Sociology

The International Library of Sociology (ILS) is the most important series of books on sociology ever published. Founded in the 1940s by Karl Mannheim, the series became the forum for pioneering research and theory, marked by comparative approaches and the identification of new directions in sociology, publishing major figures in Anglo-American and European sociology, from Durkheim and Weber to Parsons and Gouldner, and from Ossowski and Klein to Jasanoff and Walby.

Its new editors, John Holmwood (University of Nottingham, UK) and Vineeta Sinha (National University of Singapore), plan to develop the series as a truly global project, reflecting new directions and contributions outside its traditional centres, and connecting with the original aim of the series to produce sociological knowledge that addresses pressing global social problems and supports democratic debate.

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
SCI063000
SCIENCE / Study & Teaching
SOC000000
SOCIAL SCIENCE / General
SOC026000
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Sociology / General