Rens Bod, Jaap Maat, Thijs Weststeijn (eds.): The Making of the Humanities, Vol. 3: The Modern Humanities (2014)

13 December 2014, dusan

“This comprehensive history of the humanities focuses on the modern period (1850-2000). The contributors, including Floris Cohen, Lorraine Daston and Ingrid Rowland, survey the rise of the humanities in interaction with the natural and social sciences, offering new perspectives on the interaction between disciplines in Europe and Asia and new insights generated by digital humanities.”

Publisher Amsterdam University Press, 2014
Creative Commons BY-NC 3.0 License
ISBN 9789089645166
724 pages

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OAPEN

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Volumes 1-2

Harold Garfinkel: Studies in Ethnomethodology (1967/2006) [English/Spanish]

19 August 2012, dusan

This is one of the major classics of contemporary sociology. Studies in Ethnomethodology has inspired a wide range of important theoretical and empirical work in the social sciences and linguistics. It is one of the most original and controversial works in modern social science and it remains at the centre of debate about the current trends and tasks of sociology and social theory.

Ethnomethodology – the study of the ways in which ordinary people construct a stable social world through everyday utterances and actions – is now a major component of all sociology and linguistics courses. Garfinkel’s formidable reputation as one of the worlds leading sociologists rest largely on the work contained in this book.

Publisher Prentice-Hall, New Jersey, 1967, 288 pages
Translated to Spanish by Hugo Antonio Perez Hernaiz, published under the title Estudios en Etnometodologia by Anthropos Editorial, Barcelona, 2006. ISBN 8476587856, 331 pages.

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Charles Bazerman: Shaping Written Knowledge: The Genre and Activity of the Experimental Article in Science (1988)

5 May 2012, dusan

The immense force of scientific knowledge in our world has in recent years commanded the attention of a number of scholarly disciplines, ranging from the history of science to literary theory, from philosophy to the teaching of writing. Each foray into the language of science, however, has been motivated by the discipline and school of the researcher. Shaping Written Knowledge confronts scientific language more directly, by making its special character the real center of the inquiry. Original and extensive, this work will be of great interest to scholars concerned with the sociology and history of science, language theory, the history of literacy, the rhetoric of knowledge, technical writing, and the teaching of composition.

The emergence of the experimental article in science, Bazerman shows, is a response to the social and rhetorical situation of seventeenth- and eighteenth-century natural philosophy activated by the need to communicate findings and the exigencies of conflict that arise from communication. The appearance of the argumentative forms of scientific writing are coincident with the rise of the scientific community and the development of experimental procedures. All three interactively structure each other. Bazerman shows that later developments of the experimental article, in both the physical and social sciences of the twentieth century, have been made within the contexts of various disciplines. An understanding of what forces have shaped the experimental report, what functions the features were designed to serve, and the impact of rhetoric on the rest of scientific activity help to evaluate all statements of knowledge and increase our ability to make intelligent writing choices.

Edited for digital presentation by Patricia Klei
Publisher University of Wisconsin Press, Madison, Wisconsin, 1988
ISBN 0299116905, 9780299116903
356 pages

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Christopher Kullenberg: The Quantification of Society: A Study of a Swedish Research Institute and Survey-based Social Science (2012)

25 April 2012, dusan

This thesis is concerned with the contemporary history of quantitative surveys in Sweden. The core epistemic practice of constructing surveys is examined empirically through a case study of the SOM Institute (Samhälle, Opinion, Medier) at University of Gothenburg. The SOM Institute has performed surveys in Sweden since 1986. However, the methodology of quantitative surveys with representative sampling techniques dates back to the 1940s. A central theme in this theses is to follow how these methods and techniques have been made to work under different historical circumstances.

Theoretically, this thesis relies on concepts that are derived from classical Actor-Network Theory (ANT) and then further developed. This conceptual tool-box is then utilized to select moments in the history of surveys that are of special importance for understanding how Swedish society has been quantified.

Special attention is drawn to how the accuracy of surveys is established through mutual reinforcement with previous data. By closely studying how the SOM Institute conducted their first postal surveys in the 1980s, the relation and importance of other, contemporary surveys is emphasized. Moreover, the creation of a state-science interface is described by going back in time to the 1950s and the creation of the first academic surveys. This was also the moment in history when random samples were established. Here, the impact of the creation of the welfare state and the role of science in this political project is discussed and related to the expansion of the social sciences.

To further understand the border between academic science and pollster research, a controversy that took place during the elections of 1985 is studied. The controversy was ignited because pollster data predicted that the conservative party (Moderaterna) would win the elections. However, this turned out to be false. What followed was a debate concerning both the accuracy of different methodologies and the political bias of different surveys. Academic scientists succeeded in creating a position that guaranteed value-free social science, which later would have an impact on the future of social scientific investigations.

The dissertation concludes that the way social phenomena are quantified today, must be understood in a historical context that includes the epistemic practice of social scientists. The creation of large-scale quantitative surveys not only presupposes certain aspects of modern society, it also transforms these societies.

Keywords: Quantification, survey, SOM Institute, social science, epistemic practice, Actor-Network Theory, welfare state, center of calculation.

Dissertation thesis
Department of Philosophy, Linguistics, and Theory of Science, University of Gothenburg
ISBN 978-91-628-8458-1
Kopimi
225 pages

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Sanford Schram, Brian Caterino (eds.): Making Political Science Matter: Debating Knowledge, Research, and Method (2006)

16 March 2012, dusan

Making Political Science Matter brings together a number of prominent scholars to discuss the state of the field of Political Science. In particular, these scholars are interested in ways to reinvigorate the discipline by connecting it to present day political struggles. Uniformly well-written and steeped in a strong sense of history, the contributors consider such important topics as: the usefulness of rational choice theory; the ethical limits of pluralism; the use (and misuse) of empirical research in political science; the present-day divorce between political theory and empirical science; the connection between political science scholarship and political struggles, and the future of the discipline. This volume builds on the debate in the discipline over the significance of the work of Bent Flyvbjerg, whose book Making Social Science Matter has been characterized as a manifesto for the Perestroika Movement that has roiled the field in recent years.

Contributors include: Brian Caterino, Stewart Clegg, Bent Flyvbjerg, Mary Hawkesworth, Patrick Thaddeus Jackson, Gregory J. Kasza, David Kettler, David D. Laitin, Timothy W. Luke, Theodore R. Schatzki, Sanford F. Schram, Peregrine Schwartz-Shea, Corey S. Shdaimah, Roland W. Stahl, and Leslie Paul Thiele.

Publisher NYU Press, 2006
ISBN 0814740332, 9780814740330
304 pages

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