The Search for a Methodology of Social Science: Durkheim, Weber, and the Nineteenth-Century Problem of Cause, Probability and Action


The writings of Durkheim and Weber have canonical status in sociology, and their place in this canon sometimes obscures their place in the historical stream of the development of problems. Perhaps this is especially true in the case of the methodological texts, where the precursors and sources of their writings are to be found in the traditions of disciplines other than the discipline for which the texts were meant to serve as a foundation.

The aim of this book is to show how the dispute over cause, law, and probability developed during the nineteenth century and to locate Durkheim's and Weber's arguments in this stream of discourse. The roots of the later writings, and therefore their deeper connection s and the connections between these writings and such figures as Pearson, cannot be fully grasped without this history. Part of this book covers well-traveled ground. Mill, and to a lesser extent Whewell and Comte, all of whom are essential to this story, are familiar to the twentieth-century reader , and I will present them in a compressed fashion, designed to capture the skeletal form of their relevant methodological arguments, and the atmosphere in which they wrote. The discussions of Durkheim and Weber cover ground that is also well travelled and here again I will assume an elementary familiarity with the issues that arise in connection with their methodological works. The peculiar boundaries between these regions of familiarity and unfamiliarity are not merely incidental to the book. Bits and pieces of the story of the dispute are extremely well-known. Other parts of the story are shrouded. So the book is necessarily an attempt to relate the familiar to the unfamiliar. In doing this, the familiar is usually transformed - and in the case of some of Durkheim's and Weber's most familiar statements and themes - substantially transformed.


An Agenda for Europe

Institutional Reform for Innovation and Entrepreneurship

Omslag 2017 Institutional Reform for Innovation and Entrepreneurship.jpg

The authors of this book, Niklas Elert, Magnus Henrekson and Mikael Stenkula, advise the economies of the European Union to become more entrepreneurial in promoting innovation and economic growth. The authors propose a reform strategy with respect to several aspects to achieve this goal.


Seminars organized by IFN


To present ongoing research informal brown-bag seminars are held on Mondays at 11:30 am. This is an opportunity for IFN researchers to test ideas and results.

Academically oriented seminars are most of the time held on Wednesdays at 10 am. At these events researchers from IFN and other institutions present their research.

In addition, IFN organizes seminars open to the public. Topics for these are derived from the IFN research.

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