Strategies of metatheorizing in sociology

Strategies of metatheorizing in sociology

Dudina V.I.

Dr. Sci. (Sociol.), Assoc. Prof., Faculty of Sociology, St. Petersburg State University, St. Petersburg, Russia

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Dudina V.I. Strategies of metatheorizing in sociology. Sotsiologicheskie issledovaniya [Sociological Studies]. 2017. No 12. P. 10-19


In the article three strategies of metatheorizing are distinguished: integrative, evolutionary and perspectivist metatheorizing. The specific features of these strategies are considered. «Integrative metatheorizing» is aimed at identification of common theoretical logic, standardization of the language of description and/or on the development of an integrated theory. The goal of «evolutionary metatheorizing» is to understand the trends and prospects of sociology in changing social and intellectual context. This strategy is characterized by the identification of stages, phases, shifts, displacements in sociological knowledge, and by the mapping of past achievements in terms of determining the current state and prospects of the discipline. «Perspectivist metatheorizing» is aimed at identification of relatively hermetic and independent configurations, characterized by internal consistency – paradigms, research programs, models of explanation, etc. The proposed classification treats strategies of metatheorizing in terms of solving the problem of disciplinary fragmentation. Integrative metatheorizing is based on the search for the common or integrated social theory, evolutionary metatheorizing recognizes the possibility of creating common theory in the future, perspectivist metatheorizing treats the diversity of sociological knowledge as a natural state and denies assessing the sociological knowledge by universal criteria. The diversity of sociological methods and theories should be accompanied by the variety of models of the knowledge justification, because sociological knowledge performs many functions in different social settings.

metatheory; metatheorizing; social theory; sociological research


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