Advanced

Social Mechanisms in Empirical Sociology : Introduction to Special Issue

Edling, Christofer LU and Rydgren, Jens (2016) In American Behavioral Scientist 60(10). p.1135-1145
Abstract
The social mechanism program has been successful in sociology and neighboring social science disciplines, such as criminology and political science. However, in our view the literature on social mechanisms is still too preoccupied with intratheoretical and metatheoretical discussions, and we find very few empirical applications. This is surprising since one of the basic aims of the social mechanisms approach from the start has been to achieve better integration between theory and empirical analyses. Yet of all the previous edited volumes and special issues dedicated to social mechanisms (or to analytical sociology, for that matter), we find only a small number of chapters that are empirically oriented in the sense that they address and try... (More)
The social mechanism program has been successful in sociology and neighboring social science disciplines, such as criminology and political science. However, in our view the literature on social mechanisms is still too preoccupied with intratheoretical and metatheoretical discussions, and we find very few empirical applications. This is surprising since one of the basic aims of the social mechanisms approach from the start has been to achieve better integration between theory and empirical analyses. Yet of all the previous edited volumes and special issues dedicated to social mechanisms (or to analytical sociology, for that matter), we find only a small number of chapters that are empirically oriented in the sense that they address and try to answer a substantive empirical research question. This is unfortunate: By leaving out the dirty work of empirical analysis, social mechanisms theorists risk surrendering the potential influence of the approach. As a result, new (statistical) methods rather than new approaches to theorizing drive the practice of social science research. Most social scientists are driven by substantial empirical interests, that is, they share a set of questions they want to find answers to, rather than being motivated by abstract methodological and/or theoretical interests. Proponents of the social mechanism approach need to show by example that this approach is a valuable framework for researching broad, mainstream social science issues. This is what we do in this special issue. (Less)
Please use this url to cite or link to this publication:
author
organization
publishing date
type
Contribution to journal
publication status
published
subject
keywords
Social mechanisms
in
American Behavioral Scientist
volume
60
issue
10
pages
11 pages
publisher
SAGE Publications
external identifiers
  • Scopus:84979915630
ISSN
0002-7642
DOI
10.1177/0002764216643128
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
121f35d7-6fae-4727-a30c-f62e8c5397d7
date added to LUP
2016-08-29 10:09:49
date last changed
2017-01-01 08:32:46
@article{121f35d7-6fae-4727-a30c-f62e8c5397d7,
  abstract     = {The social mechanism program has been successful in sociology and neighboring social science disciplines, such as criminology and political science. However, in our view the literature on social mechanisms is still too preoccupied with intratheoretical and metatheoretical discussions, and we find very few empirical applications. This is surprising since one of the basic aims of the social mechanisms approach from the start has been to achieve better integration between theory and empirical analyses. Yet of all the previous edited volumes and special issues dedicated to social mechanisms (or to analytical sociology, for that matter), we find only a small number of chapters that are empirically oriented in the sense that they address and try to answer a substantive empirical research question. This is unfortunate: By leaving out the dirty work of empirical analysis, social mechanisms theorists risk surrendering the potential influence of the approach. As a result, new (statistical) methods rather than new approaches to theorizing drive the practice of social science research. Most social scientists are driven by substantial empirical interests, that is, they share a set of questions they want to find answers to, rather than being motivated by abstract methodological and/or theoretical interests. Proponents of the social mechanism approach need to show by example that this approach is a valuable framework for researching broad, mainstream social science issues. This is what we do in this special issue. },
  author       = {Edling, Christofer and Rydgren, Jens},
  issn         = {0002-7642},
  keyword      = {Social mechanisms},
  language     = {eng},
  number       = {10},
  pages        = {1135--1145},
  publisher    = {SAGE Publications},
  series       = {American Behavioral Scientist},
  title        = {Social Mechanisms in Empirical Sociology : Introduction to Special Issue},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0002764216643128 },
  volume       = {60},
  year         = {2016},
}