By S. Aronowitz
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Additional resources for Against Orthodoxy: Social Theory and Its Discontents
The literature is there from the beginning as a practice in the society. Indeed until it and other practices are present, the society cannot be said to have fully formed . . we cannot separate literature and art from other kinds of social practice. ”5 To be sure, literature does not correspond to an independent reality of which it is a (mediated) reflection. Instead, Williams’s texts and those he examines—the poetry of Goldsmith and Wordsworth no less than the novels of Jane Austen and George Eliot—are interpretive recordings which are themselves part of the historical conjunction within which they occur.
Instead, theory is imported from (mostly French) philosophy, and the focus on method turns most social scientists into glorified technicians. Critique of Qualitative Method Popper’s methodological solution to the problem of indeterminacy dominated social science for much of the twentieth century. By the 1960s, things began to 40 Against Orthodoxy ● change. Norwood Hanson (1965), Thomas Kuhn (1996) and Paul Feyerabend (1996), among others, challenged the inherent rationality of positivist methodologies as well as its conventionalized division between theory and observation.
Even important heuristics such as “complexity” or “systems” are suspect. Moreover, in the case of complexity—of which Marx’s concept of “multiple determinations,” Freud’s (1977) invocation in The Interpretation of Dreams of “overdetermination,” and ecological science (Levins and Lewontin 1986), which traces evolutionary change and reproduction to the systemic triadic relations between organisms and their genetic propensities, their own species, and the “external” environment, can be shown to be precursors— the imperative of linear and single causal agents, a major posit of conventional scientific method, is overthrown.
Against Orthodoxy: Social Theory and Its Discontents by S. Aronowitz