Andrew Perrin, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill
In my last letter, I explored the different ways we do “theory” in sociology. I suggested that that diversity—not just of theoretical approaches, but of the very roles of theory itself—is a kind of productive dissonance, rather than chaos, at the core. The fact that these disparate projects come together under the theory umbrella—and that, therefore, the same people often read and engage with all of them—results in intellectual cross-fertilization that would not have happened with a more organized core. This mirrors my view of our discipline in general: if our weakness is the fact that we have no stable core of topics, methods, or theories, it is also our strength. The relatively free—maybe even chaotic—interplay of ideas fosters creativity.
To pursue this idea further, I decided to ask some colleagues who do “theory” in other disciplines what “theory” meant to them and to their disciplines.
Using, Making, and Recovering “The Classics”: A Conversation between ASA Theory Section Award Winners
Sociological Theory Meets “Folk” Theory: Randall Collins’s “Four Sociological Traditions” in an American Classroom
Read about some of the fascinating dissertations under way by advanced graduate student members of the Section on Theory.
The conference program for the 2015 JTS, hosted at the University of Chicago on August 21, 2015
Joint Reception: Theory Section and Section on History of Sociology
Saturday, August 22, 6:30-8:30PM
Offsite: Roosevelt University, Room 418, Wabash Building, 425 South Wabash Avenue, Chicago, IL 60605
Theory Section Roundtables
Organizers: Fiona Rose-Greenland (Chicago) and Daniel Hirschman (Michigan)
Monday, August 24, 8:30-9:30AM
Theory Section Business Meeting
Monday, August 24, 9:30-10:30AM
The 8th Analytical Sociology Conference of the International Network of Analytical Sociologists (INAS) is being held this year from June 12-13, 2015 at Harvard University. Conference theme: “Causal Inference and Mechanism-Based Explanation: Friends or Foes?” Conference website: http://hwpi.harvard.edu/inas2015/home
“Critical Realism: Reimagining Social Science.” International Association for Critical Realism (IACR) 2015 Annual Meeting, July 28-30, 2015, University of Notre Dame, IN (USA). For more information on registration, location, costs, and travel arrangements, visit http://csrs.nd.edu/events/iacr2015/.