Fully revised, with an updated bibliography and new, relevant illustrative examples based on work inspired by critical realism, this new edition of Explaining Society constitutes an up-to-date resource connecting methodology, theory, and empirical research. Including discussions of more recent scholarship in the field which connects critical realism with interdisciplinary research, this second edition also clarifies concepts – such as retroduction and retrodiction – so as to render them consistent with developments within critical realism, which are covered in a new chapter. An accessible account of the nature of society and social science, together with the methods used to study and explain social phenomena, Explaining Society will appeal to scholars of sociology, philosophy, and the social sciences more broadly.
Part I: Introduction to Critical Realism
2. Science and Reality
3. Conceptual Abstraction and Causality
Part II: Methodological Implications
4. Social Structures and Human Agency
5. Generalization, Scientific Inference and Models for Explanatory Social Science
6. Theory in the Methodology of Social Science
7. Critical Methodological Pluralism – Intensive and Extensive Research Design and Interdisciplinarity
8. Social Science and Practice
Critical Realism is a broad movement within philosophy and social science. It is a movement that began in British philosophy and sociology following the founding work of Roy Bhaskar, Margaret Archer and others. Critical Realism emerged from the desire to realise an adequate realist philosophy of science, social science, and of critique. Against empiricism, positivism and various idealisms (interpretivism, radical social constructionism), Critical Realism argues for the necessity of ontology. The pursuit of ontology is the attempt to understand and say something about ‘the things themselves’ and not simply about our beliefs, experiences, or our current knowledge and understanding of those things. Critical Realism also argues against the implicit ontology of the empiricists and idealists of events and regularities, reducing reality to thought, language, belief, custom, or experience. Instead Critical Realism advocates a structural realist and causal powers approach to natural and social ontology, with a focus upon social relations and process of social transformation.
Important movements within Critical Realism include the morphogenetic approach developed by Margaret Archer; Critical Realist economics developed by Tony Lawson; as well as dialectical Critical Realism (embracing being, becoming and absence) and the philosophy of metaReality (emphasising priority of the non-dual) developed by Roy Bhaskar.
For over thirty years, Routledge has been closely associated with Critical Realism and, in particular, the work of Roy Bhaskar, publishing well over fifty works in, or informed by, Critical Realism (in series including Critical Realism: Interventions; Ontological Explorations; New Studies in Critical Realism and Education). These have all now been brought together under one series dedicated to Critical Realism.
The Centre for Critical Realism is the advisory editorial board for the series. If you would like to know more about the Centre for Critical Realism, or to submit a book proposal, please visit www.centreforcriticalrealism.com.