How does research in the social sciences happen?
Comprising analyses of how research is conducted in specific areas—through examples of problems on which significant work is being, or have been, done—and focusing on the underlying theoretical and philosophical assumptions, the essays in Knowing the Social World offer bird’s-eye views as well as in-depth studies of existing research methods and practices of social sciences.
This book of twenty essays, divided into four parts, explores a variety of methodological approaches. It focuses on both the ‘canonical’ tradition, which upholds the objective nature of reality and privileges positivistic knowledge, and the ‘non-canonical’ tradition, which believes in the constructed nature of social reality and is concerned with producing an interpretive understanding of it
The book discusses unconventional sources of social science research data, like photographs and autobiographies, and covers a range of topics: changing conditions of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes; changing agricultural practices; youth in organised crime and the underworld; violence against women; journalistic practices; and economic voting, among others.
Drawing on case studies from all parts of India, as well as from Sri Lanka, Scotland and the Gulf, this comprehensive and interdisciplinary volume will be invaluable to any student and scholar of sociology, political science, history and social anthropology.
N. Jayaram is Visiting Professor, National Law School of India University, Bengaluru.
PART I Positivism and the Canonical Tradition: Generalising Social Reality
PART II Beyond Positivism: Understanding Social Reality
PART III Forays into Unconventional Sources: Archives, Court Records, Autobiographies and Photographs
PART IV The Researcher and the Field: Personal Location and Social Experience