Contemporary articles citing Glaser B (1967) Discovery Grounded T
life, action, ethnographic, context, others, subject, everyday, actors, religious, insights
- Timmermans, Stefan & Iddo Tavory. 2012. "Theory Construction in Qualitative Research: From Grounded Theory to Abductive Analysis." Sociological Theory. 30:3 167-186.
- A critical pathway for conceptual innovation in the social is the construction of theoretical ideas based on empirical data. Grounded theory has become a leading approach promising the construction of novel theories. Yet grounded theory-based theoretical innovation has been scarce in part because of its commitment to let theories emerge inductively rather than imposing analytic frameworks a priori. We note, along with a long philosophical tradition, that induction does not logically lead to novel theoretical insights. Drawing from the theory of inference, meaning, and action of pragmatist philosopher Charles S. Peirce, we argue that abduction, rather than induction, should be the guiding principle of empirically based theory construction. Abduction refers to a creative inferential process aimed at producing new hypotheses and theories based on surprising research evidence. We propose that abductive analysis arises from actors' social and intellectual positions but can be further aided by careful methodological data analysis. We outline how formal methodological steps enrich abductive analysis through the processes of revisiting, defamiliarization, and alternative casing.
- Lichterman, Paul. 2012. "Religion in Public Action: From Actors to Settings." Sociological Theory. 30:1 15-36.
- Contemporary social research often has located religion's public influence by focusing on individual or collective religious actors. In this unitary actor model, religion is a stable, uniform feature of an individual or collectivity. However, recent research shows that people's religious expression outside religious congregations varies by context. Building on this new work, along with insights from Erving Goffman and cultural sociology, an alternative, ``cultural-interactionist model'' of religious expression focuses on how group styles enable and constrain religious expression in public settings. Illustrating the model are two ethnographic cases, a religiously sponsored homeless advocacy organization and a secondary comparison setting from an activist campaign for housing, both from a U.S. metropolitan area. Shifting from actors to settings and group styles clarifies the interplay between religious and nonreligious culture over time. The shift refines our understanding of how religion's civic or political effects work, as in the case of building social capital for collective action. The cultural-interactionist model enables us to track historical change in everyday group settings. It promotes further research on historically changing ways of managing religious diversity, and diverse ways of constructing a religious self.
- Fine, Gary. 2010. "The Sociology of the Local: Action and Its Publics." Sociological Theory. 28:4 355-376.
- Sociology requires a robust theory of how local circumstances create social order. When we analyze social structures not recognizing that they depend on groups with collective pasts and futures that are spatially situated and that are based on personal relations, we avoid a core sociological dimension: the importance of local context in constituting social worlds. Too often this has been the sociological stance, both in micro-sociological studies that examine interaction as untethered from local traditions and in research that treats culture as autonomous from action and choice. Building on theories of action, group dynamics, and micro-cultures, I argue that a sociology of the local solves critical theoretical problems. The local is a stage on which social order gets produced and a lens for understanding how particular forms of action are selected. Treating ethnographic studies as readings of ongoing cultures, I examine how the continuing and referential features of group life (spatial arenas, relations, shared pasts) generate action and argue that local practices provide the basis for cultural extension, influencing societal expectations through the linkages among groups.
- Reed, Isaac. 2010. "Epistemology Contextualized: Social-scientific Knowledge in a Postpositivist Era." Sociological Theory. 28:1 20-39.
- In the production of knowledge about social life, two social contexts come together: the context of investigation, consisting of the social world of the investigator, and the context of explanation, consisting of the social world of the actors who are the subject of study. The nature of, and relationship between, these contexts is imagined in philosophy; managed, rewarded, and sanctioned in graduate seminars, journal reviews, and tenure cases; and practiced in research. Positivism proposed to produce objective knowledge by suppressing the nonlogical and nonobservational aspects of the contexts. Attacks on positivism disputed the effectiveness and rationality of this strategy. Thus ``postpositivism'' can be understood as a series of attempts to reconstitute the relation between the contexts as the basis for accurate social knowledge. Two of the most important of these attempts-grounded theory and postmodern anthropology-are considered, and a synthesis, which draws from the insights of cultural sociology, is proposed.
- Hoffman, SG. 2006. "How to Punch Someone and Stay Friends: an Inductive Theory of Simulation." Sociological Theory. 24:2 170-193.
- One way to study ontology is to assess how people differentiate real activities from others, and a good case is how groups organize simulation. However, social scientists have tended to discuss simulation in more limited ways, either as a symptom of postmodernism or as an instrumental artifact. Missing is how groups organize simulations to prepare for the future. First, I formulate a definition of simulation as a group-level technique, which includes the qualities of everyday ontology, playfulness, risk and consequence reduction, constrained innovation, and transportability. Next, I use ethnographic data collected at an amateur boxing gym to argue that simulations simplify the most risky, unpredictable, and interpersonal aspects of a consequential performance. The problem is that a simulation can rarely proceed exactly like the reality it is derived from. For example, boxers hold back in sparring but should not in competition. The effectiveness of a simulation therefore depends on how robust the model is and how well members translate the imperfect fit between the contextual norms of the simulation and its reality.
- Black, D. 2000. "Dreams of Pure Sociology." Sociological Theory. 18:3 343-367.
- Unlike older sciences such as physics and biology, sociology has never had a revolution. Modern sociology is still classical-largely psychological, teleological, and individualistic-and evert less scientific than classical sociology. But pure sociology is different: It predicts and explains the behavior of social life with its location and direction in social space-its geometry. Here I illustrate pure sociology with formulations about the behavior of ideas, ideas, including a theory of scienticity that predicts and explains the degree to which an idea is likely to be scientific (testable, general, simple, valid, and original). For example: Scienticity is a curvilinear function of social distance from the subject. This formulation explains numerous facts about the history and practice of science, such as why some sciences evolved earlier and faster than others and why so much sociology is so unscientific. Because scientific theory is the most scientific science, the theory of scienticity also implies a theory of theory and a methodology far the development of theory.
- Burawoy, M. 1998. "The Extended Case Method." Sociological Theory. 16:1 4-33.
- 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.
- Eliasoph, N. 1997. "`'close to Home'': the Work of Avoiding Politics." Theory and Society. 26:5 605-647.
- Tavory, Iddo. 2010. "Of Yarmulkes and Categories: Delegating Boundaries and the Phenomenology of Interactional Expectation." Theory and Society. 39:1 49-68.
- Based on ethnographic fieldwork and interviews, this article delineates a process through which members of an Orthodox Jewish neighborhood in Los Angeles unintentionally delegate boundary work and membership-identification to anonymous others in everyday life. Living in the midst of a non-Jewish world, orthodox men are often approached by others, both Jews and non-Jews, who categorize them as ``religious Jews'' based on external marks such as the yarmulke and attire. These interactions, varying from mundane interactions to anti-Semitic incidents, are then tacitly anticipated by members even when they are not attending to their ``Jewishness''aEuro''when being a ``Jew'' is interactionally invisible. Through this case, I argue that, in addition to conceptualizing boundaries and identifications as either emerging in performance or institutionally given and stable, the study of boundaries should also chart the sites in which members anticipate categorization and the way these anticipations play out in everyday life.
- Franzosi, Roberto. 2010. "Sociology, Narrative, and the Quality Versus Quantity Debate (goethe Versus Newton): Can Computer-assisted Story Grammars Help Us Understand the Rise of Italian Fascism (1919-1922)?." Theory and Society. 39:6 593-629.
- At the heart of this article is a structural approach to narrative, based on the work of Propp, Labov, van Dijk, Halliday, and others. The article highlights the structural features of narrative-basically, the organization of the genre around the semantic template actor-action-actor (syntactically rendered as subject-verb-object but where, in narrative, the subject is typically a social actor and the verb a social action) and the modifiers of each element of this triplet, such as time and space of action-and shows how to implement this structure in a computer environment and how to use this methodological tool in socio-historical research (namely, the rise of Italian fascism, 1919-22). But, taking a cue from Halliday's cover jacket of his An Introduction to Functional Grammar, with its representation of a color circle, the paper takes the reader on an intellectual journey from Newton to Goethe-and the quality versus quantity debate-to Goethe and Propp, to end, back home, with Simmel and Weber.
- Sgourev, Stoyan. 2011. "``wall Street'' Meets Wagner: Harnessing Institutional Heterogeneity." Theory and Society. 40:4 385-416.
- If institutional heterogeneity tends overall to reduce survival chances, it may also persist and be harnessed to good use. This article investigates this ambivalence by looking at how institutional heterogeneity emerges, develops, and survives. An inductive study of the ``Metropolitan Opera'' archives suggests that what enables heterogeneity to survive and to withstand the pressure for homogenization is its inherent potential for ``multivocality.'' The analysis shows how institutional discrepancies were bridged over through an opportunistic, ``multivocal'' action pattern, whereby the organization maneuvered between conflicting institutional demands, seeking to minimize dependence on any single constituency or evaluation principle. Maintaining discretionary options is essential in multi-dimensional space, where ambiguity makes optimization impractical. The trade-off in this action pattern includes remarkable adaptability and operational inefficiencies.
- Swedberg, Richard. 2012. "Theorizing in Sociology and Social Science: Turning to the Context of Discovery." Theory and Society. 41:1 1-40.
- Since World War II methods have advanced very quickly in sociology and social science, while this has not been the case with theory. In this article I suggest that one way of beginning to close the gap between the two is to focus on theorizing rather than on theory. The place where theorizing can be used in the most effective way, I suggest, is in the context of discovery. What needs to be discussed are especially ways for how to develop theory before hypotheses are formulated and tested. To be successful in this, we need to assign an independent place to theorizing and also to develop some basic rules for how to theorize. An attempt is made to formulate such rules; it is also argued that theorizing can only be successful if it is done in close unison with observation in what is called a prestudy. Theorizing has turned into a skill when it is iterative, draws on intuitive ways of thinking, and goes beyond the basic rules for theorizing.
- Tavory, Iddo & Daniel Winchester. 2012. "Experiential Careers: the Routinization and De-routinization of Religious Life." Theory and Society. 41:4 351-373.
- This article develops the concept of experiential careers, drawing theoretical attention to the routinization and de-routinization of specific experiences as they unfold over social career trajectories. Based on interviews and ethnographic fieldwork in two religious communities, we compare the social-temporal patterning of religious experience among newly religious Orthodox Jews and converted Muslims in two cities in the United States. In both cases, we find that as newly religious people work to transform their previous bodily habits and take on newly prescribed religious acts, the beginning of their religious careers becomes marked by what practitioners describe as potent religious experiences in situations of religious practice. However, over time, these once novel practices become routinized and religious experiences in these situations diminish, thus provoking actors and institutions in both fields to work to re-enchant religious life. Through this ethnographic comparison, we demonstrate the utility of focusing on experiential careers as a sociological unit of analysis. Doing so allows sociologists to use a non-reductive phenomenological approach to chart the shifting manifestations of experiences people deeply care about, along with the patterned enchantments, disenchantments, and possible re-enchantments these social careers entail. As such, this approach contributes to the analysis of social careers and experiences of ``becoming'' across both religious and non-religious domains.