The myth of sociology as a «multiparadigmatic» science

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Abstract

Contemporary sociology and social theory are deeply penetrated by the idea that sociology is by its own nature a «multi-paradigm» science or discipline, and that it is not possible nor desirable to advance towards a higher degree of integration. This article argues against that belief, and defends the possibility and desirability of establishing a set of shared «rules of the game», as a logical and institutional condition in order to produce sociological knowledge in a fruitful and critical way. To that aim, some useful analytical distinctions are made: first, between genuine theoretical pluralism and pseudo-pluralism; second, between lexical, semantical, methodological, epistemic, and theoretical integration; and third, between «simple» and «complex» integration (or «consilience»). Additionally, the article presents some hypothesis to explain the popularity of this myth among sociologist; it is stressed that the myth may be used as a shield against criticism.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)31-53
JournalIsegoria
Volume42
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2010

Keywords

  • Analytical sociology
  • Epistemology
  • Paradigms
  • Sociological theory
  • Theoretical integration
  • Theoretical pluralism

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