Many "Mechanisms", no "Mechanism". The Lack of Sense of the Term "Analytical Sociology"

Author/s Maurizio Bonolis
Publishing Year 2012 Issue 2011/95
Language Italian Pages 36 P. 13-48 File size 356 KB
DOI 10.3280/SR2011-095002
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This study aims to evaluate whether, within the more general field of sociology, it is justifiable to set a boundary line for a specific orientation called «analytical sociology». The task is faced by showing that - as happens to all empirical disciplines that borrow this term - the qualification of analytical is a conceptual approximation, essentially a metaphor, which can not be tied to Kant’s definition. Furthermore, the essay highlights that the trait claimed specifically by the would-be «analytical sociology» orientation, that is defining things through «mechanisms», does not in any way differ from sociological explanations tout court. «Explaining» means reconstructing causative links through the use of models, theoretical constructions, or principles of connecting regularity. Since the supporters of the so-called analytical sociology define «mechanism» in these very terms, this means that in sociological tradition the explanations have always used a similar path and therefore the text offers a significant explanation as proof. However, this also means that there are no valid assumptions to distinguish, in sociology, such a specific epistemological or theoretical orientation as the «analytical» one.

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Maurizio Bonolis, Molti "meccanismi", nessun "meccanismo". Il non senso del termine "sociologia analitica" in "SOCIOLOGIA E RICERCA SOCIALE " 95/2011, pp 13-48, DOI: 10.3280/SR2011-095002