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MULTI-PARADIGMATIC SOCIOLOGY: DEBATES PRESENT AND PERENNIAL

Nikolai Genov (genov@zedat.fu-Berlin.de)

Freie Universität Berlin, Germany

Citation: Genov N. (2019) Multi-paradigmatic sociology: debates present and perennial. Zhurnal sotsiologii i sotsialnoy antropologii [The Journal of Sociology and Social Anthropology], 22(1): 24–46. https://doi.org/10.31119/jssa.2019.22.1.2

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Abstract. The multidimensional and rapid changes of contemporary societies provoke the need for a process-oriented and flexible sociology which is strong in explanatory terms. Instead, the general picture of present day international sociology is sobering. Divided into a number of streams, directions, theoretical and methodological orientations it can hardly produce cumulative scientific knowledge. This is the reason why observers define the current situation of sociology as pre-science according to the Kuhnian terminology. The usual stress on the multi-paradigmatic character of sociology only strengthens this theoretical and methodological deadlock. Is there a way to get out of it? The article offers a positive answer to the question. It is focused on the need to develop and apply a new paradigm of sociological theorizing and research. It is expected to meet strategic requirements. They include the correspondence to basic parameters of social reality, the expected epistemic and methodological efficiency and axiological link to practical action. After checking the potentials of major paradigmatic orientations in sociology the conclusion is that the core of the promising paradigmatic innovation could be a broadly defined concept of social interaction. It is intended to support the building and explanatory application of middle-range theories in all action spheres and at all micro-, mezzo- and macro-social structures and processes.

Key words: sociological paradigms; social interaction paradigm; middle-range theories; quality of explanations; quality of expertise.

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