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theory for the working sociologist: title explanation

with 2 comments

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People like to make the following joke about Theory for the Working Sociologist. “It’s too bad, Fabio – most sociologist are unemployed!” Good one, Groucho. But I’ll take the opportunity to talk about the origin and meaning of the title.

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Honestly, the title is a rip-off of an old math text book called Categories for the Working Mathematician by the late Saunders Mac Lane. His book was the first attempt to explain category theory – perhaps the most “meta” and abstract approach to mathematics – to the typical mathematician. Thus, the title conveyed something very important – category theory wasn’t some weird type of math for an elite group of scientists. Rather, it could be used to solve every day scientific problems.

While pondering my theory book  in progress, I wanted to convey that this is for “everyone” but I wanted to avoid a trite title (e.g., “Theory Today” or “Modern Social Theory”). My book’s title needed to say that anyone interested in social science could really benefit from a simple and useful explanation of social theory. So I did what all right thinking people do when stuck with a problem – copy someone way more successful than you!

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Written by fabiorojas

January 8, 2019 at 5:01 am

Posted in uncategorized

2 Responses

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  1. Thanks for providing this explanation. I offered to share my copy of the book with a couple friends in my doctoral program and they turned up their nose because the title gave the impression that it would “dumb down” the theory for folks who are working in the field (i.e, not academics who need to use big words and allude to important theoretical foundations in order to have work accepted to journals). Although I loved my more traditional “history of social theory” courses, I’ve found the book useful in applying theory to modern scholarship. Next time I offer to lend someone my book, I’ll give them the above explanation for the title.

    Like

    CDF

    January 13, 2019 at 11:08 pm

  2. Thanks for the support!

    Like

    fabiorojas

    January 14, 2019 at 2:07 am


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