Contemporary articles citing Bhaskar R (1979) Possibility Naturali

concept, understanding, them, out, reflexive, incompatible, bourdieu's, science, claim, process

Demetriou, Chares. 2012. "Processual Comparative Sociology: Building on the Approach of Charles Tilly." Sociological Theory. 30:1 51-65. Link
Charles Tilly's work on process analysis offers a methodological approach to comparative-historical sociology that can be considered paradigmatic. Yet the approach has been widely criticized for lack of rigor. This paper maintains that the problem lies in insufficient clarification of the approach's central concept: mechanism. Once scrutinized, the concept reveals a tension between its connotation and its denotation. This can be addressed in two ways: either by maintaining what the concept connotes according to Tilly but limiting what it denotes (thus limiting the paradigm's scope conditions) or by limiting what it connotes and maintaining what it was intended by Tilly to denote (thus maintaining wide scope conditions). Elucidating the possibilities of processual comparison is particularly important for comparative-historical sociology because the subfield rests upon processual presuppositions.

Steinmetz, George. 2009. "Feminism and the Abyss of Freedom." Sociological Theory. 27:1 85-89. Link

Decoteau, Claire. 2008. "The Specter of Aids: Testimonial Activism in the Aftermath of the Epidemic." Sociological Theory. 26:3 230-257. Link
Reporting on a study of activists living with HIV/AIDS who give testimonials of their experiences with the disease in various educational settings, this article employs the notion of `haunting' as a means of analyzing the effect of social justice activism in the ``aftermath'' of the HIV/AIDS epidemic. Because of a shift in both the discursive construction of AIDS and the material symptoms of the disease (due to widespread availability of anti-retroviral medication), the signified of AIDS is ``out of joint'' with the signification of the disease in the public sphere. AIDS, as a social phenomena and a personal, traumatic experience has been rendered spectral through processes of social othering, structural disenfranchisement, and cultural denialism. Most of the presenters included in this study utilize a strategy of ``survivorhood'' in order to promote prevention and combat stigma. In doing so, they inadvertently buttress dominant discourses that claim that the disease is now ``manageable,'' normalized, and under control. By contrast, one presenter utilizes a completely different performative approach. In order to confront and subvert the ``aftermath'' discourse and thereby presence the living trauma of AIDS, this presenter embodies the specter of AIDS. As such, his presentation forces the audience to reckon with processes of social exclusion and cultural otherness.

Reed, Isaac. 2008. "Justifying Sociological Knowledge: From Realism to Interpretation." Sociological Theory. 26:2 101-129. Link
In the context of calls for ``postpositivist'' sociology, realism has emerged as a powerful and compelling epistemology for social science. In transferring and transforming scientific realism-a philosophy of natural science-into a justificatory discourse for social science, realism splits into two parts: a strict, highly naturalistic realism and a reflexive, more mediated, and critical realism. Both forms of realism, however, suffer from conceptual ambiguities, omissions, and elisions that make them an inappropriate epistemology for social science. Examination of these problems in detail reveals how a different perspective-centered on the interpretation of meaning-could provide a better justification for social inquiry, and in particular a better understanding of sociological theory and the construction of sociological explanations.

Vandenberghe, Frederic. 2007. "Avatars of the Collective: a Realist Theory of Collective Subjectivities." Sociological Theory. 25:4 295-324. Link

Elder-Vass, Dave. 2007. "Reconciling Archer and Bourdieu in an Emergentist Theory of Action." Sociological Theory. 25:4 325-346. Link
Margaret Archer and Pierre Bourdieu have advanced what seem at first sight to be incompatible theories of human agency. While Archer places heavy stress on conscious reflexive deliberation and the consequent choices of identity and projects that individuals make, Bourdieu's concept of habitus places equally heavy stress on the role of social conditioning in determining our behavior, and downplays the contribution of conscious deliberation. Despite this, I argue that these two approaches, with some modification, can be reconciled in a single emergentist theory of human action that is sketched out in this article. It examines how human dispositions and our reflexive decisions are related to the determination of human action, linking dispositions and decisions to their neural base in human physiology and to the social factors that influence them. As a result, it argues, we can see human action as the outcome of a continuous interaction between dispositions and reflexivity. The article goes on to relate this explanation back to Bourdieu's concept of the habitus and Archer's account of reflexivity. It argues that the weaknesses in Bourdieu's theory of action can be resolved by a reasonable reinterpretation of the habitus that makes it consistent with the emergentist theory and creates space for human choices as well as social influences on our behavior. This opens up a role for the sort of reflexive deliberations advocated by Archer and thus to a reconciliation of the key contributions of both Archer and Bourdieu.

Steinmetz, G. 2004. "Odious Comparisons: Incommensurability, the Case Study, and ``small N's'' in Sociology." Sociological Theory. 22:3 371-400. Link
Case studies and ``small-N comparisons'' have been attacked from two directions, positivist and incommensurabilist. At the same time, some authors have defended small-N comparisons as allowing qualitative researchers to attain a degree of scientificity, yet they also have rejected the case study as merely ``idiographic.'' Practitioners of the case study sometimes agree with these critics, disavowing all claims to scientificity. A related set of disagreements concerns the role and nature of social theory in sociology, which sometimes is described as useless and parasitic and other times as evolving in splendid isolation from empirical research. These three forms of sociological activity-comparative analysis, studies of individual cases, and social theory-are defended here from the standpoint of critical realism. In this article I first reconstruct, in very broad strokes, the dominant epistemological and ontological framework of postwar U.S. sociology. The next two sections discuss several positivist and incommensurabilist criticisms of comparison and case studies. The last two sections propose an understanding of comparison as operating along two dimensions, events and structures, and offer an illustration of the difference and relationship between the two.

King, A. 2000. "Thinking With Bourdieu Against Bourdieu: a `practical' Critique of the Habitus." Sociological Theory. 18:3 417-433. Link
There are two strands in Bourclieu's sociological writings. On the one hand Bourdieu argues for a theoretical position one might term his `practical theory'' which emphasizes virtuosic interactions between individuals. On the other hand, and most frequently, Bourdieu appeals to the concept of the habitus according to which society consists of objective structures and determined-and isolated-individuals. Although Bourdieu believes that the habitus is compatible with his practical theory and overcomes the impasse of objectivism and subjectivism in social theory, neither claim is the case; the habitus is incompatible with his practical theory, and it retreats quickly into objectivism. However Bourdieu's practical theory does offer a way out of the impasse of objectivism and subjectivism by focussing on the intersubjective interactions between individuals.

Burawoy, M. 1998. "The Extended Case Method." Sociological Theory. 16:1 4-33. Link
In this article I elaborate and codify the extended case method. which deploys participant observation to locate everyday life in its extralocal and historical context. The extended case method emulates a reflexive model of science that takes as its premise the intersubjectivity of scientist and subject of study: Reflexive science valorizes intervention, process, structuration, and theory reconstruction. It is the Siamese twin of positive science that proscribes reactivity but upholds reliability replicability, and representativeness. Positive science, exemplified by survey research, works on the principle of the separation between scientists and the subjects they examine. Positive science is limited by ``context effects'' (interview: respondent, field, and situational effects) while reflex ive science is limited by ``power effects'' (domination, silencing, objectification, and normalization). The article concludes by considering the implications of having two models of science rather than one, both of which are necessarily flawed. Throughout I use a study of postcolonialism to illustrate both the virtues and the shortcomings of the extended case method. Methodology can only bring us reflective understanding of the means which have demonstrated their value in practice by raising them to the level of explicit consciousness; it is no more the precondition of fruitful intellectual work than the knowledge of anatomy is the precondition of ``correct'' walking.