Usable Theory: Analytic Tools for Social and Political Research

Princeton University Press
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The project of twentieth-century sociology and political science--to create predictive scientific theory--resulted in few full-scale theories that can be taken off the shelf and successfully applied to empirical puzzles. Yet focused "theory frames" that formulate problems and point to relevant causal factors and conditions have produced vibrant, insightful, and analytically oriented empirical research. While theory frames alone cannot offer explanation or prediction, they guide empirical theory formation and give direction to inferences from empirical evidence. They are also responsible for much of the progress in the social sciences. In Usable Theory, distinguished sociologist Dietrich Rueschemeyer shows graduate students and researchers how to construct theory frames and use them to develop valid empirical hypotheses in the course of empirical social and political research. Combining new ideas as well as analytic tools derived from classic and recent theoretical traditions, the book enlarges the rationalist model of action by focusing on knowledge, norms, preferences, and emotions, and it discusses larger social formations that shape elementary forms of action. Throughout, Usable Theory seeks to mobilize the implicit theoretical social knowledge used in everyday life.
  • Offers tools for theory building in social and political research
  • Complements the rationalist model of action with discussions of knowledge, norms, preferences, and emotions
  • Relates theoretical ideas to problems of methodology
  • Situates elementary forms of action in relation to larger formations
  • Combines new ideas with themes from classic and more recent theories
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About the author

Dietrich Rueschemeyer is professor emeritus of sociology at Brown University and a research professor at Brown's Watson Institute for International Studies. He is the author of Power and the Division of Labor and the coeditor of Bringing the State Back In, among many other books.
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Additional Information

Publisher
Princeton University Press
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Published on
Aug 3, 2009
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Pages
352
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ISBN
9781400830671
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Language
English
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Genres
Reference / Research
Social Science / Research
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Available on Android devices
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Eligible for Family Library

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Miguel Glatzer

In the last quarter of the twentieth century, the global
political economy has undergone a profound transformation. Democracy has
swept the globe, and both rich and developing nations must compete in
an increasingly integrated world economy.

How are social welfare
policies being affected by this wave of economic globalization? Leading
researchers explore the complex question in this new comparative study.
Shifting their focus from the more commonly studied, established welfare
states of northwestern Europe, the authors of Globalization and the Future of the Welfare State
examine policy development in the middle-income countries of southern
and eastern Europe, Latin America, Russia, and East Asia. 

Previous
investigations into the effects of globalization on welfare states have
generally come to one of two conclusions. The first is that a global
economy undermines existing welfare states and obstructs new
developments in social policy, as generous provisions place a burden on a
nation's resources and its ability to compete in the international
marketplace. In contrast, the second builds on the finding that economic
openness is positively correlated with greater social spending, which
suggests that globalization and welfare states can be mutually
reinforcing.

Here the authors find that globalization and the
success of the welfare state are by no means as incompatible as the
first view implies. The developing countries analyzed demonstrate that
although there is great variability across countries and regions,
domestic political processes and institutions play key roles in managing
the disruptions wrought by globalization.

 

Dietrich Rueschemeyer
From the 1850s to the 1920s, laws regulating the industrial labor process, pensions for the elderly, unemployment insurance, and measures to educate and ensure the welfare of children were enacted in many industrializing capitalist nations. This same period saw the development of modern social sciences. The eight essays collected here examine the reciprocal influence of social policy and academic research in comparative context, ranging across policy areas and encompassing developments in Britain, the United States, Germany, France, Canada, Scandinavia, and Japan. Introduced by the editors, the essays include Part I on the emergence of modern social knowledge by Ira Katznelson, Anson Rabinbach, and Björn Wittrock and Peter Wagner; Part II on reformist social scientists and public policymaking by Dietrich Rueschemeyer and Ronan Van Rossem, Libby Schweber, and John R. Sutton; Part III on state managers and the uses of social knowledge by Stein Kuhnle and Sheldon Garon, and a conclusion by Rueschemeyer and Theda Skocpol.

Originally published in 1995.

The Princeton Legacy Library uses the latest print-on-demand technology to again make available previously out-of-print books from the distinguished backlist of Princeton University Press. These editions preserve the original texts of these important books while presenting them in durable paperback and hardcover editions. The goal of the Princeton Legacy Library is to vastly increase access to the rich scholarly heritage found in the thousands of books published by Princeton University Press since its founding in 1905.

Peter B. Evans
Until recently, dominant theoretical paradigms in the comparative social sciences did not highlight states as organizational structures or as potentially autonomous actors. Indeed, the term 'state' was rarely used. Current work, however, increasingly views the state as an agent which, although influenced by the society that surrounds it, also shapes social and political processes. The contributors to this volume, which includes some of the best recent interdisciplinary scholarship on states in relation to social structures, make use of theoretically engaged comparative and historical investigations to provide improved conceptualizations of states and how they operate. Each of the book's major parts presents a related set of analytical issues about modern states, which are explored in the context of a wide range of times and places, both contemporary and historical, and in developing and advanced-industrial nations. The first part examines state strategies in newly developing countries. The second part analyzes war making and state making in early modern Europe, and discusses states in relation to the post-World War II international economy. The third part pursues new insights into how states influence political cleavages and collective action. In the final chapter, the editors bring together the questions raised by the contributors and suggest tentative conclusions that emerge from an overview of all the articles. As a programmatic work that proposes new directions for the analysis of modern states, the volume will appeal to a wide range of teachers and students of political science, political economy, sociology, history, and anthropology.
Dietrich Rueschemeyer
From the 1850s to the 1920s, laws regulating the industrial labor process, pensions for the elderly, unemployment insurance, and measures to educate and ensure the welfare of children were enacted in many industrializing capitalist nations. This same period saw the development of modern social sciences. The eight essays collected here examine the reciprocal influence of social policy and academic research in comparative context, ranging across policy areas and encompassing developments in Britain, the United States, Germany, France, Canada, Scandinavia, and Japan. Introduced by the editors, the essays include Part I on the emergence of modern social knowledge by Ira Katznelson, Anson Rabinbach, and Björn Wittrock and Peter Wagner; Part II on reformist social scientists and public policymaking by Dietrich Rueschemeyer and Ronan Van Rossem, Libby Schweber, and John R. Sutton; Part III on state managers and the uses of social knowledge by Stein Kuhnle and Sheldon Garon, and a conclusion by Rueschemeyer and Theda Skocpol.

Originally published in 1995.

The Princeton Legacy Library uses the latest print-on-demand technology to again make available previously out-of-print books from the distinguished backlist of Princeton University Press. These editions preserve the original texts of these important books while presenting them in durable paperback and hardcover editions. The goal of the Princeton Legacy Library is to vastly increase access to the rich scholarly heritage found in the thousands of books published by Princeton University Press since its founding in 1905.

Miguel Glatzer

In the last quarter of the twentieth century, the global
political economy has undergone a profound transformation. Democracy has
swept the globe, and both rich and developing nations must compete in
an increasingly integrated world economy.

How are social welfare
policies being affected by this wave of economic globalization? Leading
researchers explore the complex question in this new comparative study.
Shifting their focus from the more commonly studied, established welfare
states of northwestern Europe, the authors of Globalization and the Future of the Welfare State
examine policy development in the middle-income countries of southern
and eastern Europe, Latin America, Russia, and East Asia. 

Previous
investigations into the effects of globalization on welfare states have
generally come to one of two conclusions. The first is that a global
economy undermines existing welfare states and obstructs new
developments in social policy, as generous provisions place a burden on a
nation's resources and its ability to compete in the international
marketplace. In contrast, the second builds on the finding that economic
openness is positively correlated with greater social spending, which
suggests that globalization and welfare states can be mutually
reinforcing.

Here the authors find that globalization and the
success of the welfare state are by no means as incompatible as the
first view implies. The developing countries analyzed demonstrate that
although there is great variability across countries and regions,
domestic political processes and institutions play key roles in managing
the disruptions wrought by globalization.

 

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