There is No Such Thing as a Social Science : In Defence of Peter Winch book cover
1st Edition

There is No Such Thing as a Social Science
In Defence of Peter Winch

ISBN 9781138256033
Published November 10, 2016 by Routledge
156 Pages

USD $62.95

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Book Description

The death of Peter Winch in 1997 sparked a revived interest in his work with this book arguing his work suffered misrepresentation in both recent literature and in contemporary critiques of his writing. Debates in philosophy and sociology about foundational questions of social ontology and methodology often claim to have adequately incorporated and moved beyond Winch's concerns. Re-establishing a Winchian voice, the authors examine how such contentions involve a failure to understand central themes in Winch's writings and that the issues which occupied him in his Idea of a Social Science and its Relation to Philosophy and later papers remain central to social studies. The volume offers a careful reading of the text in alliance with Wittgensteinian insights and alongside a focus on the nature and results of social thought and inquiry. It draws parallels with other movements in the social studies, notably ethnomethodology, to demonstrate how Winch's central claim is both more significant and more difficult to transcend than sociologists and philosophers have hitherto imagined.

Table of Contents

Contents: Preface; Introduction: the legendary Peter Winch and the myth of 'social science'; Beyond pluralism, monism, relativism, realism etc: reassessing Peter Winch; Winch and linguistic idealism; Seeing for themselves: Winch, ethnography, ethnomethodology and social studies; Winch and conservatism: the question of philosophical quietism; Conclusion; Bibliography; Index.

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Phil Hutchinson, Senior Lecturer in Philosophy, Manchester Metropolitan University, UK, Rupert Read, Reader in Philosophy, University of East Anglia, UK and Wes Sharrock, Professor of Sociology, University of Manchester, UK.


'The authors perform the invaluable service of reminding us of the continuing relevance of Peter Winch's groundbreaking book The Idea of a Social Science and Its Relation to Philosophy. Correcting many of the persistent misunderstandings of Winch's work, they make a powerful case for the claim that there is as much need for its lessons today as there was when it was first published 50 years ago.' David Cockburn, University of Wales Lampeter,UK 'There is No Such Thing as a Social Science is far more than an interpretation and appraisal of Peter Winch’s Idea of a Social Science, fifty years after its initial publication. Hutchinson, Read and Sharrock offer a bold and a forceful reminder that the implications of Winch’s arguments are no less devastating for social and cultural theory today than they were for deterministic and ethnocentric social science a half-century ago.' Michael Lynch, Cornell University, USA