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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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Imagination and Art

Imagination and Art

(p.188) Chapter 9 Imagination and Art
The Art of Social Theory

Richard Swedberg

Princeton University Press

This chapter examines the role of imagination and the arts in helping social scientists to theorize well. However deep one's basic knowledge of social theory is, and however many concepts, mechanisms, and theories one knows, unless this knowledge is used in an imaginative way, the result will be dull and noncreative. A good research topic should among other things operate as an analogon—that is, it should be able to set off the theoretical imagination of the social scientist. Then, when a social scientist writes, he or she may want to write in such a way that the reader's theoretical imagination is stirred. Besides imagination, the chapter also discusses the relationship of social theory to art. There are a number of reason for this, including the fact that in modern society, art is perceived as the height of imagination and creativity.

Keywords:   imagination, art, social theory, analogon, theoretical imagination, social scientists, creativity

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