This book, written by a philosopher interested in the problems of social science and scientific method, and a sociologist interested in the philosophy of science, presents a novel conception of how we should think about and carry out the scientific study of social life. This book combines an evaluation of different conceptions of the nature of science with an examination of important sociological theorists and frameworks. This second edition of the work was originally published in 1982.
'Keat and Urry present a battery of cogent and well-organized arguments about the philosophical assumptions informing various styles of sociological theorising' - Sociological Review
'It demonstrates with considerable clarity and scholarship just why sociology should offend people whose work requires the maintenance of authority, whether the authority is that of office or or positivist science.' - The Times Higher Education Supplement
'They are sharp about the snags of existing approaches and theories and their book … is an undoubted aid to interdisciplinary teaching.' - Philosophical Books
Part one Conceptions of science 1. Positivist philosophy of science 2. Realist philosophy of science 3. Forms of conventionalism Part two Conceptions of science as social theory 4. Sociology and positivism 5. Marx and realism 6. Structure and structuralism Part 3 Meaning and ideology 7. The explantion and understanding of social action 8. Reification and realism 9. Values theory and reality