Making Social Science Matter : Why Social Inquiry Fails and How it Can Succeed Again, Paperback

Making Social Science Matter : Why Social Inquiry Fails and How it Can Succeed Again Paperback

5 out of 5 (1 rating)


Making Social Science Matter presents an exciting new approach to the social and behavioral sciences including theoretical argument, methodological guidelines, and examples of practical application.

Why has social science failed in attempts to emulate natural science and produce normal theory?

Bent Flyvbjerg argues that the strength of social sciences lies in its rich, reflexive analysis of values and power, essential to the social and economic development of any society.

Richly informed, powerfully argued, and clearly written, this book opens up a new future for the social sciences.

Its empowering message will make it required reading for students and academics across the social and behavioral sciences.


  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 212 pages, illustrations
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press
  • Publication Date:
  • Category: Social theory
  • ISBN: 9780521775687



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The author argues that social science (as far as our current understanding goes) is conceptually different than the natural sciences. The social sciences are more idiographic (subjective/intersubjective and case-based) and the natural sciences are more nomothetic (objective and theoretical). Flyvbjerg also accepts Aristotles's three kinds of knowledge discussed in Nicomachean Ethics: episteme, techne, and phronesis, or scientific knowledge, technological or artistic knowledge, and prudent, practical or ethical knowledge. Flyvbjerg argues that the humanities and social sciences are more properly based on technical and phronetic knowledge, both pragmatic, variable and context-dependent, rather than episteme, which is universal, invariable, and context-independent.

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