Rahul Sharma

Making Social Science Matter

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Pages  216
Originally published  15 March 2001
Page count  216
Subject  Social science

ISBN  978-0-521-77268-6
Author  Bent Flyvbjerg
Genre  Non-fiction
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Similar  Bent Flyvbjerg books, Non-fiction books, Social science books

Making Social Science Matter: Why Social Inquiry Fails and How It Can Succeed Again is a 2001 book by Bent Flyvbjerg, who is critical of social sciences. First, he argues that social sciences have failed as science. Second, he develops an argument that in order to matter again, social sciences must model themselves after phronesis (as opposed to episteme, which is at the core of natural science). Finally, he develops methodological guidelines and shows practical examples of how a phronetic social science may be employed for research purposes.

Flyvbjerg rejects the natural science model as an ideal for the social sciences and suggests that social sciences are more relevant to people, e.g., ordinary citizens and policy makers. Flyvbjerg argues that to gain relevance, social science must inform practical reason; accordingly, this is best done by a focus on values and power. In terms of philosophy and history of science, Flyvbjerg is influenced by Aristotle rather than by Socrates and Plato.

Flyvbjerg's book Rationality and Power: Democracy in Practice is an example of the methodology and theory developed in Making Social Science Matter employed in practice.

Reception

According to Caterino and Schram, "The special thing about Flyvbjerg's challenge to social science is the way it bridges theory and practice in a way that unites philosophical and empirical subdivisions in the social sciences." In this manner, the book transgresses disciplinary boundaries to make a more compelling call for a social science that people could use to make a difference in their lives.

References

Making Social Science Matter Wikipedia


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