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The Art of Social Theory$
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Richard Swedberg

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780691155227

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691155227.001.0001

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The Role of Theory

The Role of Theory

(p.169) Chapter 8 The Role of Theory
The Art of Social Theory

Richard Swedberg

Princeton University Press

This chapter looks at the role of theory in theorizing. Knowing theory, in order to be good at theorizing in social science, is not the same as having a knowledge of the history of social theory. It is true that it is helpful to have some of the skills of an intellectual historian when one tries to figure out what a concept means, why a theory looks the way it does today, and similar issues. However, this is not the kind of knowledge that one basically needs to have in order to be good at theorizing. The two types of knowledge that are needed in order to theorize well are knowledge of the basics of social theory and knowledge of a number of concepts, mechanisms, and theories.

Keywords:   theory, theorizing, social science, social theory, knowledge

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