Metatheorizing or philosophy of social sciences?

Deviatko I.F.

Dr. Sci. (Soc.), Full Professor, National Research University Higher School of Economics; Chief Researcher, Institute of Sociology of the Federal Center of Theoretical and Applied Sociology of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Moscow, Russia

DOI: 10.7868/S0132162517120017
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Deviatko I.F. Metatheorizing or philosophy of social sciences?. Sotsiologicheskie issledovaniya [Sociological Studies]. 2017. No 12. P. 3-9


The interdisciplinary origins of the sociological metatheorizing and reasons for a surge in its popularity in 1970s –1990s are discussed in order to describe the passage to a current state of metatheory in sociology. The relationships of different types of meta-theoretical investigations with substantive unit theories as well as with an adjacent field of philosophy of social sciences are exemplified using some “hard problems” relating to sociological theories of actions and normativity. The current state of this problem in sociology is described in the article as a movement from the once initial state of striving for conceptual codification and standardization of the complex of sociological theories to their deconstruction and decentration – and back. The author believes this phenomenon may equally be subject of interest for theoretical sociology and philosophy of social sciences.

мetatheory; object language and meta-language; philosophy of social sciences; postmodernism; theories of action; normativity


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