Explaining Society is a clear, jargon-free introduction to the practice and theory of critical realism in the social sciences. This is the first ever book to comprehensively present critical realism and its methodological implications for social science. The authors argue for an ontology where a social reality exists independently of the knowledge of social scientists - where it is not immediately given and empirically accessible, but where it is always conceptually mediated. The book emphasises the importance of concept formation, and suggests techniques for this in the social sciences: methodological principles are presented as a part of a practical model for an explanatory social science. In order to relate theory and empirical observations, the authors stress developing and applying abstract theories of social structures and mechanisms. The book reveals that the question is not what type of method is best, but rather what different methods can do, and how can they be combined. This book will be immensely valuable for students and researchers in social science, sociology and philosophy in that it connects methodology, theory and empirical research.
It provides an innovative picture of what society and social science is, with methods used to study and explain social phenomena.
Berth Danermark is Professor of Sociology in the department of Social Science, and of Caring Sciences, University of Orebro, Sweden. Mats Ekstrom is Professor in Sociology in the Communication and Media Studies department, University of Orebro, Sweden. Liselotte Jakobsen is Senior Researcher at Karlstad University. Jan Ch. Karlsson is Professor of Sociology, in Working Life Science, Karlstad University.