Making Social Science Matter

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Making Social Science Matter
Cover
Author Bent Flyvbjerg
Subject Social sciences
Genre Non-fiction
Published 2001 (Cambridge University Press)
Pages 216
ISBN 978-0-521-77268-6

Making Social Science Matter: Why Social Inquiry Fails and How It Can Succeed Again is a 2001 book by Bent Flyvbjerg, who is critical of the social sciences. First, he argues that the social sciences have failed as science. Second, he develops the argument that in order to matter again the social sciences must model themselves after phronesis (as opposed to episteme, which is at the core of natural science). Finally, he develops methodological guidelines and shows practical examples of how a phronetic social science may be employed for research purposes.[1]

Flyvbjerg rejects the natural science model as an ideal for the social sciences and suggests that social sciences are more relevant to people, e.g., ordinary citizens and policy makers. Flyvbjerg argues that to gain relevance, social science must inform practical reason; accordingly this is best done by a focus on values and power. In terms of the philosophy and history of science, Flyvbjerg takes his cue from Aristotle rather than from Socrates and Plato.[2][3]

Flyvbjerg's book Rationality and Power: Democracy in Practice is an example of the methodology and theory developed in Making Social Science Matter employed in practice.[4]

Reception[edit]

According to Caterino and Schram, "The special thing about Flyvbjerg's challenge to social science is the way it bridges theory and practice in a way that unites philosophical and empirical subdivisions in the social sciences."[5] In this manner, the book transgresses disciplinary boundaries to make a more compelling call for a social science that people could use to make a difference in their lives.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Bent Flyvbjerg, Making Social Science Matter: Why Social Inquiry Fails and How It Can Succeed Again, (Cambridge University Press, 2001) ISBN 0-521-77568-X
  2. ^ Trish Scott-Wandmaker (2001). "Book review: Making Social Science Matter: Why Social Inquiry Fails and How It Can Succeed Again". Contemporary Nurse. 
  3. ^ William Gorton (2001). "Book review: Making Social Science Matter: Why Social Inquiry Fails and How It Can Succeed Again". Constellations 13 (2). pp. 288–294. 
  4. ^ Bent Flyvbjerg, Rationality and Power: Democracy in Practice, The University of Chicago Press, 1998.
  5. ^ Brian Caterino and Sanford F. Schram, "Introduction: Reframing the Debate," in Sanford F. Schram and Brian Caterino, eds., Making Political Science Matter: Debating Knowledge, Research, and Method. New York: New York University Press, 2006.