Sentiments and Acts: 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Sentiments and Acts

1st Edition

By Fred Pestello


279 pages

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Paperback: 9780202304458
pub: 1993-01-03
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Hardback: 9780202304441
pub: 1993-12-31
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The relation between attitudes and behavior has been of enduring concern to social scientists over the past half century. The present volume is a sequel to a landmark theoretical and methodological critique of the literature on that relationship, published by the first author, Dr. Deutscher, in 1973. It is informed throughout by a symbolic interactionist perspective, and turns on issues of validity and credibility of the verbal evidence on which social science still heavily relies in its accounts of behavior.

What Sentiments and Acts provides is a more complex, nuanced, and valid account of the relationship between what we say and what we do. Drawing on the example of Deutscher's earlier research and of cognate work by ethno-methodologists—this book is, in part, the history of a problem—the authors argue for a "double screen," in part methodological and in part conceptual, through which the evidence for inconsistencies must be sifted.

The account here adduced goes well beyond the merely interpersonal level; it insists, instead, on the problematics of the symbolic language used to express or convey the meaning of human behavior. In so doing, it extends the perspective on social organization it embodies, and suggests a relevant and welcome line of investigation for those doing applied work in the nexus of human relations.

Table of Contents



1 Sentiments and Acts: The Sequel
The Four Flaws
Hopeful Signs for the Seventies
The Biography of a Problem
Retrieval and Synthesis: Old and New
The Double Screen
Training and Education and Knowledge
2 A Problem Found and Lost: The Temper of the Times and the Mystique of Science
Epistemology and Research Methods
3 Bits of Evidence
And That's Only the Beginning
Sometimes Consistency
What Else Could You Expect?
4 A Cumulative Science?
The Test of Time
Looking Backward
A Half-Century of "Progress"
A Fourth Study
Conclusion: What Validates What?


5 How Do We Know We Know?
The Validity Problem The Other Side The Last Word Notes
Anyone May Lie a Bit, Cheat a Bit, and Try to Be Helpful
Getting in Our Own Way The Problem with Talking to People: Surveys and Interviews
7 Speaking in Tongues
Language and Social Research
Speaking Out of Context: Questionnaires and Formal Interviews
Speaking in Context: Participant Observation
8 What Can You Believe Nowadays?
Subjects Are People Too
Systematic Distortion: The Ubiquitous Type I Error
Can the Weakness of One Be the Strength of the Other?
9 The Logic of Our Procedures
What Is an Inconsistency?
Methodology as Theory: Are Observed Inconsistencies More Apparent Than Real?


10 The Social Situation: Does Bad Company Cause Naughty Behavior?
Public and Private Opinion
Toward a Situational Sociology
Implications: Take Care of the Company You Keep!
Current Fad or Telling Signpost? The Sociology of Emotions
All the World Is a Stage
11 Stimulus-Response Is for Animals (Symbols Are for People)
It's What's in Between That Counts
The Legacy of Blumer
A Small Step Forward: The Discovery of "Intervening Variables"
12 Rising Expectations and Later Disappointments: Research in the 1980s
The Hopeful Sign of Research in the Late Sixties and the Early Seventies
The Disappointment of Research in the Eighties
13 Concepts and How Their Confusion Can Mess You Up
Making Distinctions and Connections
On Adding Apples and Oranges
Attitude: Something That Cannot Be Defined
Behavior: Something That Should Not Be Observed
Beyond Concepts: A Hatful of Explanations
14 A Phenomenological Approach: Toward a Situational Sociology
Social Reality as a Social Creature
The Subject as Methodologist
It Makes a Difference
15 Toward the Twenty-First Century
How Much Improvement?
Fidding with People's Lives


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Communication & Social Order

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