@LarsJohannessen@sciences.social

@LarsJohannessen@sciences.social

15-08-2022

16:51

Sociology has seen increased interest in *theorizing*: the practical work of developing theory. Having recently immersed myself in this literature, I decided to make a list of 20 of my favorite publications🧵⬇️ #SocTwitter #AcademicTwitter

BOOKS Swedberg - The Art of Social Theory The most obvious reference on this list. Discusses every aspect of theorizing, from observation and naming to concept formation and explanation

Tavory & Timmermans - Abductive Analysis Lays out the epistemological and methodological basis for 'abductive analysis', one of the more exciting approaches to theory-development

Abbott - Methods of Discovery Overflowing with techniques for how to come up with innovate research questions and arguments

Becker - Tricks of the Trade Similar to Abbott's 'Methods', this text is a treasure trove of techniques for doing cool stuff with your data

Alvesson & Kärreman - Qualitative Research and Theory Development Resembles 'Abductive Analysis' but puts more emphasis on creativity and less emphasis on 'dataistic' approaches to theory development

Zerubavel - 'An invitation to concept-driven sociology' Introduces Zerubavel's 'Simmelian' method of theorizing, designed to reveal fundamental and/or hidden social patterns

@soenke_ahrens - How to Take Smart Notes Not about theory development per se, but details the note-taking method that Niklas Luhmann used in constructing his theoretical system

JOURNAL ARTICLES Alvesson & Sandberg - Generating research questions through problematization Argues against 'gap finding' and proposes 'problematization' as a more fruitful methodology for generating theory-informed research questions

Davis - That's interesting! Traces the differences between interesting and non-interesting theories in sociology. A classic

@HereisMears - Puzzling in Sociology Discusses the perils and promises of 'puzzles' as drivers of sociological research

@kjhealy - Fuck Nuance Discusses how we can generate interesting, empirically generative, and/or practically successful theories (hint: not by way of 'nuance')

Swedberg - On the use of definitions in sociology Highlights different types of definitions and their role in sociological theorizing

Vaughan - Theorizing Disaster Details the approach to theory-development that Vaughan applied in her classic study of the Challenger Launch Decision

SPECIAL ISSUES . @SocTheory has devoted an entire issue to ‘good theorizing’

British Journal of Sociology has devoted an issue to discussions of Swedberg's Art of Social Theory

THE ‘THEORY’ IN ‘THEORIZING’ Since it's hard to discuss theorizing without a clear conception of theory, I close with three additional works: First, Abend's near-canonical "The meaning of theory"

Second, Abend’s "Styles of Sociological Thought", which highlights the epistemological differences between theorizing in US and Mexican sociology

And finally, Sandberg and Alvesson’s "Meanings of Theory", which builds on Abend's work and distinguishes five types of theory in organization and management studies

That's all! Do you miss any key texts? Let me know in the comments below!

Oops, @StefanTimmerma6 and Iddo Tavory's "Data Analysis in Qualitative Research" fell out of the list. Following up on "Abductive Analysis", this book looks more closely at the practical details of *doing* an abductive analysis

Looking for more key works? Check out this follow-up thread 🔥


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