Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
Home
Hostname: page-component-56f9d74cfd-89lq7 Total loading time: 0.369 Render date: 2022-06-26T21:32:46.574Z Has data issue: true Feature Flags: { "shouldUseShareProductTool": true, "shouldUseHypothesis": true, "isUnsiloEnabled": true, "useRatesEcommerce": false, "useNewApi": true }

Introduction

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  22 July 2017

Derek Robbins
Affiliation:
University of East London
Get access

Summary

We are familiar with the tension between quantitative and qualitative research in sociology, between data collection and analysis on the one hand and the recording of narrative on the other. One way to situate Pierre Bourdieu's work in these terms is to understand it as an alternative response to the situation of the natural and cultural sciences identified by Jürgen Habermas.

Habermas's Identification of the Problem and

His Proposed Solution

Just less than half a century ago, Habermas bemoaned the fact that a gulf had developed between the natural sciences, which are taken to be concerned with the formulation of explanatory laws (‘nomological sciences’), and the human sciences, which are taken to be concerned with understanding the historically contingent behaviour of people (‘historical- hermeneutic sciences’) (1988, 1). Even worse, Habermas contended, there was an increasing tendency for nomological science to invade the territory of the hermeneutic. The disposition of economists to generate laws of economic behaviour that are independent of the cultural assumptions of human agents was just one example of this creeping scientistic encroachment. Habermas's perception was a consequence of his immersion in previous German intellectual struggles – firstly the Methodenstreit (struggle about method), which pitted scientific and cultural economists against each other in the 1880s and 1890s (Carl Menger versus Gustav von Schmoller) for which Max Weber's economic sociology was an attempted resolution, and, secondly, the Positivissmusstreit (struggle about positivism) of the 1960s, which set Karl Popper against Habermas's mentor, Theodore Adorno.

Habermas argued that the non- communication between the natural and human sciences that he detected was particularly unacceptable in respect of the social sciences, which by definition seek to find law- like explanations of human behaviour that do justice to human free will and also offer guidelines to inform social policy making. Accordingly, Habermas was motivated to write Zur Logik der Sozialwissenschaften (On the Logic of the Social Sciences; [1970], 1988). Habermas had previously written a social- historical account of the function and meaning of the ‘public sphere’, which was first published in 1962 as Strukturwandel der Öff entlichkeit (The Structural Transformation of the Public Sphere; [1962], 1989).

Type
Chapter
Information
Publisher: Anthem Press
Print publication year: 2016

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below. (Log in options will check for institutional or personal access. Content may require purchase if you do not have access.)

Save book to Kindle

To save this book to your Kindle, first ensure coreplatform@cambridge.org is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about saving to your Kindle.

Note you can select to save to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations. ‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be saved to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

Available formats
×

Save book to Dropbox

To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Dropbox.

Available formats
×

Save book to Google Drive

To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Google Drive.

Available formats
×