Sunday, May 23, 2010

Daniel Little's advice

in "Social Theory and the Empirical Social World":
"So my advice goes along these lines: allow Marxism, or Weber or Durkheim or Tilly, to function as a suggestive program of research for empirical investigation. Let it be a source of hypotheses, hunches, and avenues of inquiry. But be prepared as well for the discovery of surprising outcomes, and don't look at the theory as a prescription for the unfolding of the social reality. Most importantly, don't look to theory as a deductive basis for explaining and predicting social phenomena. (Here is an article on the role of Marxism as a method of research rather than a comprehensive theory; link.)"
From the link ('Marxism and Method' by Daniel Little):
" Marx provides a “style of inquiry” based on a family of hypotheses, hunches, and ontological commitments. Through this inquiry he provides a substantive contribution to social science, in the form of a series of descriptive and theoretical insights; particularly about the institutional anatomy and dynamics of capitalism and social behavior. Dialectical thinking is not a part of Marx’s method of social inquiry; at most, a source of hypotheses about “finding contradictions”. Finally, the tools of rational choice theory and neo-classical economics are highly consonant with Marxist thinking."

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