9780226001012

Chaos of Disciplines

by
  • ISBN13:

    9780226001012

  • ISBN10:

    0226001016

  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2001-02-15
  • Publisher: Univ of Chicago Pr
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Summary

In this vital new study, Andrew Abbott presents a fresh and daring analysis of the evolution and development of the social sciences. Chaos of Disciplines reconsiders how knowledge actually changes and advances. Challenging the accepted belief that social sciences are in a perpetual state of progress, Abbott contends that disciplines instead cycle around an inevitable pattern of core principles. New schools of thought, then, are less a reaction to an established order than they are a reinvention of fundamental concepts. Chaos of Disciplines uses fractals to explain the patterns of disciplines, and then applies them to key debates that surround the social sciences. Abbott argues that knowledge in different disciplines is organized by common oppositions that function at any level of theoretical or methodological scale. Opposing perspectives of thought and method, then, in fields ranging from history, sociology, and literature, are to the contrary, radically similar; much like fractals, they are each mutual reflections of their own distinctions.

Author Biography

Andrew Abbott is the Ralph Lewis Professor of Sociology at the University of Chicago. He is author of Department and Discipline and The System of Professions.

Table of Contents

Preface ix
Prologue xv
Part 1 Self-Similarity in Social Science
The Chaos of Disciplines
3(31)
The Duality of Stress
34(26)
The Fraction of Construction
60(31)
Appendix: A History of ``Social Construction'' to 1990
89(2)
The Unity of History
91(30)
The Context of Disciplines
121(36)
Part 2 Two Essays on Self-Similarity
Self-Similar Social Structures
157(40)
Appendix: Fractal Scales
186(11)
The Selfishness of Men
197(36)
Epilogue 233(4)
References 237(16)
Index 253

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