What is the relationship between philosophy, social theory and empirical research? In what ways can we claim to 'know' the social world? What properties does the social world possess and what are their implications? This ground-breaking and multi-disciplinary book brings together a distinguished team of leading thinkers to discuss issues surrounding and informing questions such as: what is the 'social', in what ways can we 'know' it, and how can our findings be validated? These issues are discussed in an accessible way, including the relationship of philosophical and research issues to each other, the nature of social reality, properties that may be ascribed to the social, research accounts and rhetorical 'persuasion', and the relations between 'gender and knowing'. The overall concern of the book is to clarify how and in what ways we can claim to know the social world and what implications and consequences this may have for social scientific practice. For too long philosophers, social theorists and methodologists have talked past each other, often unaware of the mutually beneficial insights that each offers the other.
This book is intended to contribute to a more constructive encounter and dialogue in order to advance understanding of the problems and possibilities surrounding the quest to know the social world. With this overall aim in mind, it will be essential reading for advanced undergraduates and postgraduate students in the social sciences, as well as philosophers, social theorists, methodologists and social researchers in general.
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"...of particular relevance when exploring race and culture as significant dimensionsin therapeutic work." - Race and Cultural Education in Counselling "Readers interested in cross-cultural issues will find this book particularly useful." - Counselling