After Positivism: Critical Realism and Historical Sociology

Critical Realism, History, and Philosophy in the Social Sciences

ISBN: 978-1-78756-604-0, eISBN: 978-1-78756-603-3

ISSN: 0198-8719

Publication date: 27 July 2018

Abstract

Since its resurrection during the 1980s, comparative-historical sociology has been repeatedly critiqued on two fronts. Quantitative methodologists have argued that its “causal inferences” are unreliable due to its “small n.” And methodological individualists have argued its explanatory accounts are unacceptable because they do not specify “microfoundations.” But these critiques are built on faulty foundations, namely, a regularity theory of causation and a reductionist social ontology. In this article, I propose an alternative foundation derived from Critical Realism: a production theory of causation and an emergentist account of social structure.

Keywords

Citation

Gorski, P.S. (2018), "After Positivism: Critical Realism and Historical Sociology", Critical Realism, History, and Philosophy in the Social Sciences (Political Power and Social Theory, Vol. 34), Emerald Publishing Limited, pp. 23-45. https://doi.org/10.1108/S0198-871920180000034002

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2018 Emerald Publishing Limited

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