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Action and Reaction: Response to Bradford

Mediations of Social Life in the 21st Century

ISBN: 978-1-78441-223-4, eISBN: 978-1-78441-222-7

ISSN: 0278-1204

Publication date: 31 October 2014

Abstract

Purpose

This paper attempts to rebut criticisms of, and give further clarifications to, arguments about the nature of sociological explanation previously made by Martin (2011).

Design/methodology/approach

Here, arguments initially derived through historical reconstruction of theory are instead drawn out from our common stock of experiences. Aspects of the argument that were complex as initially presented are simplified here, and the maximum contrast between this approach and the more conventional is made.

Practical implications

The implications for practice are many; most important, the claim of Martin (2011) – rejected by Bradford (2013), as critiqued herein – to offer a coherent alternative to our current understanding of the task of explanation, if successfully demonstrated, suggests a reorientation of sociological research toward the production of intersubjectively valid cartographies and away from causal or pseudo-causal accounts.

Findings

Social theorists who are willing to seriously think about what lies in between our practice and knowledge as sociologists and as actors – to do the research.

Originality/value

The value of the paper, therefore, derives from its capacity to dispel common misunderstandings of Martin (2011), and to allow social researchers as well as social theorists, to make use of a coherent vocabulary for the development of social research, which otherwise would remain inaccessible to them.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

Acknowledgments

I am grateful to Lawrence Hazelrigg for probing criticism that led to clarification in many places, although he would still not endorse all the arguments here, and to Harry F. Dahms, for making this interchange possible.

Citation

Martin, J.L. (2014), "Action and Reaction: Response to Bradford", Mediations of Social Life in the 21st Century (Current Perspectives in Social Theory, Vol. 32), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 231-258. https://doi.org/10.1108/S0278-120420140000032009

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2014 Emerald Group Publishing Limited