Making Social Science Matter

Author: Bent Flyvbjerg
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
ISBN: 9780521775687
Format: PDF
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New approach demonstrating how social science can be successful, focusing on context, values, and power.

Making Social Science Matter

Author: Bent Flyvbjerg
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
ISBN: 1139429922
Format: PDF, Docs
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Making Social Science Matter presents an exciting new approach to the social and behavioral sciences including theoretical argument, methodological guidelines, and examples of practical application. Why has social science failed in attempts to emulate natural science and produce normal theory? Bent Flyvbjerg argues that the strength of social sciences lies in its rich, reflexive analysis of values and power, essential to the social and economic development of any society. Richly informed, powerfully argued, and clearly written, this book opens up a new future for the social sciences. Its empowering message will make it required reading for students and academics across the social and behavioral sciences.

Making Political Science Matter

Author: Sanford Schram
Publisher: NYU Press
ISBN: 0814740332
Format: PDF, Kindle
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Voices of Emancipation seeks to recover the lives and words of former slaves in vivid detail, mining the case files of the U.S. Pension Bureau, which administered a huge pension system for Union veterans and their survivors in the decades following the Civil War. The files contain an invaluable, first-hand perspective of slavery, emancipation, black military service, and freedom. Moreover, as Pension Bureau examiners began interviewing black Union veterans and their families shortly after the Civil War, the files are arguably among the earliest sources of ex-slaves reflecting on their lives, occurring decades before better-known WPA Slave Narratives of the 1930s took place. Voices of Emancipation explores the words of former slaves topically, beginning with recollections of slavery, moving on to experiences of military service in the Civil War, the transition to freedom, and finally to reflections on marriage and family before and after emancipation. With an introduction that places the pension files in context and presents the themes of the book, and historical commentary interwoven throughout the excerpts of the interviews themselves, Elizabeth A. Regosin and Donald R. Shaffer effectively introduce the files and the treasures they contain to students and general readers, but also provide specialists with an indispensable research tool.

Real Social Science

Author: Bent Flyvbjerg
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
ISBN: 1107000254
Format: PDF, ePub, Docs
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"Real Social Science presents a new, hands-on approach to social inquiry. The theoretical and methodological ideas behind the book, inspired by Aristotelian phronesis, represent an original perspective within the social sciences, and for the first time this volume gives readers a set of studies exemplifying what applied phronesis looks like in practice. The reflexive analysis of values and power gives new meaning to the impact of research on policy and practice. Real Social Science is a major step forward in a novel and thriving field of research. This book will benefit scholars, researchers, and students who want to make a difference in practice, not just in the academy. Its message will make it essential reading for students and academics across the social sciences"--

Rationality and Power

Author: Bent Flyvbjerg
Publisher: University of Chicago Press
ISBN: 9780226254494
Format: PDF, ePub, Docs
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"It's like the story of Little Town," an influential actor says in Rationality and Power when choosing a metaphor to describe how he manipulated rationality to gain power, "The bell ringer . . . has to set the church clock. So he calls the telephone exchange and asks what time it is, and the telephone operator looks out the window towards the church clock and says, 'It's five o'clock.' 'Good,' says the bell ringer, 'then my clock is correct.'" In the Enlightenment tradition, rationality is considered well-defined, independent of context; we know what rationality is, and its meaning is constant across time and space. Bent Flyvbjerg shows that rationality is context-dependent and that the crucial context is determined by decision-makers' power. Power blurs the dividing line between rationality and rationalization. The result is a rationality that is often as imaginary as the time in Little Town, yet with very real social and environmental consequences. Flyvbjerg takes us behind the scenes to uncover the real politics—and real rationality—of policy-making, administration, and planning in an internationally acclaimed project for environmental improvement, auto traffic reduction, land use, and urban renewal. The action takes place in the Danish city of Aalborg, but it could be anywhere. Aalborg is to Flyvbjerg what Florence was to Machiavelli: a laboratory for understanding power and what it means for our more general concerns of social and political organization. Policy-making, administration, and planning are examined in ways that allow a rare, in-depth understanding. The reader is a firsthand witness to the classic, endless drama that defines what democracy and modernity are, and what they can be. The result is a fascinating narrative that is both concrete and general, current and timeless. Drawing on the ideas of Machiavelli, Nietzsche, Foucault, and Habermas, Flyvbjerg reads the Aalborg case as a metaphor of modernity and of modern politics, administration, and planning. Flyvbjerg uncovers the interplay of power and rationality that distorts policy deliberation. He demonstrates that modern "rationality" is but an ideal when confronted with the real rationalities involved in decision making by central actors in government, economy, and civil society. Flyvbjerg then elaborates on how this problem can be dealt with so that more fruitful deliberation and action can occur. If the new millennium marks a recurrence of the real, Flyvbjerg's Rationality and Power epitomizes this development, setting new standards for social and political inquiry. Richly informed, powerfully argued, and clearly written, this is a book that no one trying to understand policy-making, administration, and planning can afford to overlook. "Flyvbjerg employs a wide-ranging intellect, an enthusiastic and persuasive voice, academic rigor, and great discipline to distill years of research into an outstanding and accessible 250-page civics lesson. It begs for a readership outside academic and professional circles . . . Rationality and Power's value is undeniable as a handbook and forensic tool for anyone seeking a better understanding of and access to the democratic process."—Arkansas Democrat-Gazette "It makes an extremely strong, and to the reviewer's mind incontrovertible, argument for placing the analysis of planning within the context of power relations. As a result it will also make a significant mark on the development of planning theory."—Geographical Journal "A book that is to be recommended doubly, first to all those engaged in planning and implementation in a democratic context, and also to all those interested in empirical power research. Rationality and Power is rewarding even enthralling reading, a seminal contribution to its field."—European Societies "This book is a must for anyone interested in how planning works . . . a reality shock . . . excellent and illuminating."—International Planning Studies

Cultures of Inquiry

Author: John R. Hall
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
ISBN: 9780521659888
Format: PDF, ePub
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A 1999 overview of research methodologies in social science, historical and cultural studies which proposes transdisciplinary approach.

Poverty Knowledge

Author: Alice O'Connor
Publisher: Princeton University Press
ISBN: 1400824745
Format: PDF, ePub, Mobi
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Progressive-era "poverty warriors" cast poverty in America as a problem of unemployment, low wages, labor exploitation, and political disfranchisement. In the 1990s, policy specialists made "dependency" the issue and crafted incentives to get people off welfare. Poverty Knowledge gives the first comprehensive historical account of the thinking behind these very different views of "the poverty problem," in a century-spanning inquiry into the politics, institutions, ideologies, and social science that shaped poverty research and policy. Alice O'Connor chronicles a transformation in the study of poverty, from a reform-minded inquiry into the political economy of industrial capitalism to a detached, highly technical analysis of the demographic and behavioral characteristics of the poor. Along the way, she uncovers the origins of several controversial concepts, including the "culture of poverty" and the "underclass." She shows how such notions emerged not only from trends within the social sciences, but from the central preoccupations of twentieth-century American liberalism: economic growth, the Cold War against communism, the changing fortunes of the welfare state, and the enduring racial divide. The book details important changes in the politics and organization as well as the substance of poverty knowledge. Tracing the genesis of a still-thriving poverty research industry from its roots in the War on Poverty, it demonstrates how research agendas were subsequently influenced by an emerging obsession with welfare reform. Over the course of the twentieth century, O'Connor shows, the study of poverty became more about altering individual behavior and less about addressing structural inequality. The consequences of this steady narrowing of focus came to the fore in the 1990s, when the nation's leading poverty experts helped to end "welfare as we know it." O'Connor shows just how far they had traveled from their field's original aims.

The Three Cultures

Author: Jerome Kagan
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
ISBN: 0521518423
Format: PDF, Mobi
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Examines the basic goals, vocabulary, and assumptions of the natural sciences, social sciences, and humanities, summarizing their unique contributions to our understanding of human nature and its variation.

Megaprojects and Risk

Author: Bent Flyvbjerg
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
ISBN: 9780521009461
Format: PDF, ePub, Mobi
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A fascinating account of the problems and possible solutions involved in managing megaprojects.

Learning in the Field

Author: Gretchen B. Rossman
Publisher: SAGE
ISBN: 1452237565
Format: PDF, Mobi
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This popular text is a true introduction to qualitative research, leading the new researcher into the field by explaining the core concepts through theory, research, and applied examples. The authors introduce each chapter with discussions among three characters - Ruth, Marla, and Anthony - students whose research projects demonstrate the challenges and excitement of qualitative research. Woven into the chapters and the characters' stories are three themes that are the heart of the book: First, research is about learning; second, research can and should be useful; and finally, a researcher should practice the highest ethical standards to ensure that a study is trustworthy.