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Realism and Social Science by Andrew Sayer


Realism and Social Science by Andrew Sayer

Realism and Social Science offers the reader an authoritative and compelling guide to critical realism and its implications for social theory and for the practice of social science. It offers an alternative both to approaches which are overly confident about the possibility of a successful social science and those which are defeatist about any possibility of progress in understanding the social world. Written by one of the leading social theorists in the field, it demonstrates the virtues of critical realism for theory and empirical research in social science, and provides a critical engagement with leading non-realist approaches.


`Sayer makes a direct contribution to the glaring academic divide between law finding, positivists and relativist post-modernist researchers, providing a middle pathway via critical realism (CR) to scientific explanation. He offers a clear definition of CR and successfully tackles various misunderstandings and critisims of this alternative approach. While this is not cutting edge CR, the arguments contained are well worth repeating to a discipline that is a little hard of hearing.... a number of Sayer's provocative arguments have stayed with me, long after setting his book to rest on the shelf, challenging my own research agenda' -Journal of Economic and Social Geography

`This is a most welcome addition to the growing literature on critical realism and its implications for social science. For some time now a book has been needed that is inter-disciplinary in its content and lucid in its exposition of critical realism. The author is to be congratulated in aiming to fill this gap' - Tim May, Dept of Sociology, University of Durham

About the Author

Andrew Sayer is Professor of Social Theory and Political Economy at Lancaster University.

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Book Info

Publication date

29th December 1999


Andrew Sayer

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SAGE Publications Inc


224 pages


Social theory



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