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Self, Social Structure, and BeliefsExplorations in Sociology$
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Jeffrey Alexander

Print publication date: 2004

Print ISBN-13: 9780520241367

Published to California Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520241367.001.0001

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Shaping Sociological Imagination: The Importance of Theory

Shaping Sociological Imagination: The Importance of Theory

Chapter:
(p.254) Chapter 13 Shaping Sociological Imagination: The Importance of Theory
Source:
Self, Social Structure, and Beliefs
Author(s):

Piotr Sztompka

Publisher:
University of California Press
DOI:10.1525/california/9780520241367.003.0016

This chapter argues why explanatory theory should remain in the forefront of sociological teaching and not be put aside by other modes of theorizing. Inspired by Smelser's commitment to theorizing as sociological vocation, this chapter embraces the notion that theory provides the sociological apprentice with the “language” and “vision” required to engage in any kind of empirical work. It also crystallizes the different modes of theorizing in which Smelser has so fruitfully engaged. Topics discussed in this chapter include: sociological imagination, sociological theory, explanatory theory, heuristic theory, and exegetic theory.

Keywords:   sociological teaching, theorizing, theory, sociological imagination, sociological theory, explanatory theory, heuristic theory, exegetic theory

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