Making Social Science Matter: Why Social Inquiry Fails and How it Can Succeed Again

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Citing Literature. Volume 64 , Issue 4 December Pages Related Information. European Journal of Communication 'Flyvbjerg's book is important and I would recommend it to all researchers of urban affairs. Making Social Science Matter is an important milestone in the discussion of how social science research might be undertaken and 'matter'.

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Flyvbjerg's discussion opens out for debate many of the key issues regarding research with social implications. This book is likely to remain a key reference for some time. Why is it relatively so poor in producing cumulative and predictive theories? What kinds of knowledge should it seek and with what methods? His answers, drawing on Nietzsche, Foucault, Bourdieu and others, are worth the close attention of those predisposed to reject them out of hand.

But Flyvberg's suggestive, well-written little book both reviews most of the apparent possibilities and establishes standards practical and political, ethical and methodological by which to measure their progress. It begins with a well-grounded empirical case of the development and application of expert knowledge, then Added to basket.

Philosophy of Social Science. Ted Benton. Steven Lukes. Social theory for beginners. Paul Ransome. The Birth of Biopolitics. Michel Foucault. The Sane Society.


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Feb 22, Shyam Sundar Sridhar rated it it was amazing Shelves: sociology , inter-disciplinary , favorites. It may be a defining book of the social sciences, assuming that social scientists care to read it. His calls for a phronetic social science are timely, and cannot be dismissed. The Aristotelian turn in the social sciences is becoming more and more evident, from International Relations "the practice turn" to Philosophy Macintyre and Gadamer to Sociology and Anthropology Foucault, Bourdieu and Robert Putnam. I personally liked the sections where he elaborated on how the skill-acquisition mod It may be a defining book of the social sciences, assuming that social scientists care to read it.

I personally liked the sections where he elaborated on how the skill-acquisition model is absolutely fundamental to understanding human action. It would be quite interesting to further develop his model within the framework Macintyre proposes and using the hermeneutics of Gadamer. Oct 19, Gabriel rated it it was amazing. As a graduate student, this was a really useful book to read. Flyvbjerg offers a refreshingly practical way out of the post-modern navel gazing that paralyzed many in my generation. It even is a helpful salve against the recurring existential crisis that plagues me as an academic because it offers clear, practical tools for research practice.

Unlike most Foucaultians, he favors practical application over endless, fruitless discourse. Dec 31, Steve Whitney rated it it was ok.

Recensie(s)

I had high hopes for this book, they were not realized. Some original thought but it quickly becomes a defense and apology for qualitative research methods, especially the case study. The end reads like a personal vendetta against how city planning is conducted. It is important to note that the author is not a trained philosopher and it shows in the con I had high hopes for this book, they were not realized.

It is important to note that the author is not a trained philosopher and it shows in the contradiction contained in the argument. If you are looking for a good book on the philosophy of social science, this is not it. Oct 07, Meg Coulson rated it liked it. Content is great if you can get beyond the poorly worded sentences.

Making Social Science Matter by Bent Flyvbjerg (ebook)

Dec 19, Stella rated it it was amazing Shelves: on-philosophy-of-education. Phronetic Research, argues Flyzbjerg, is one that focuses on these four value-rationality questions: 1. Where are we at? Is it desirable? Who loses and who wins? And by what mechanism? What should we do next? My opinion? It is an intriguing book, but definitely not an easy read.

Adding to this is the fact that the professor for this class was a philosopher, so while reading the book I felt like I was studying for a philosophy class instead of a research method. Hm, maybe the class was built to be more of a methodology class rather than a research method one.

Making Social Science Matter

Jul 27, Larry Gallagher rated it really liked it. I recently finished this book, and am still pondering my impressions. Overall, it is well-written, including perhaps the only approachable treatment of Continental Post-Modernists I've come across.


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  4. I highly recommend it for anyone interested in philosophy of [social] science. The book begins with Aristotle's cleavage of "knowing" into three types: episteme, techne, and phronesis. The author argues that natural sciences focus on episteme and techne, following in the footsteps of Plato; phronesis h I recently finished this book, and am still pondering my impressions. The author argues that natural sciences focus on episteme and techne, following in the footsteps of Plato; phronesis has never received the same prominence in Western scientific tradition.

    From this beginning the author makes two assertions and essentially argues if A, then B. First assertion: social sciences can never achieve the same epistemic depth and sophistication as the natural sciences. In my opinion, the weakest part of the book is the argument that social sciences can never achieve superb epistemic knowledge. The author sets up a bit of a straw man argument. Obviously individuals are not predictable in the same way that physical objects are.


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    I have two counters to his argument. First, social sciences have done well with stochastic models, where the expected behavior of groups is relatively predictable, whereas behavior of individuals is not. The entire advertising and political propaganda industry is built on this knowledge. Second, there are plenty of natural sciences such as meteorology where phenomena cannot be predicted with long-term accuracy, but local models of temporally-bound behavior are useful. My argument back to the author is that epistemic social science can provide useful, context-bound knowledge; the definition of epistemic knowledge as "context free" is an unnecessary constraint.