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The Coming Crisis of Empirical Sociology

Savage, M. and Burrows, R. (2007) The Coming Crisis of Empirical Sociology. Sociology: A Journal of the British Sociological Association, 41 (5). pp. 885-899. ISSN 0038-0385

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This ar ticle argues that in an age of knowing capitalism, sociologists have not adequately thought about the challenges posed to their expertise by the proliferation of `social' transactional data which are now routinely collected, processed and analysed by a wide variety of private and public institutions. Drawing on British examples, we argue that whereas over the past 40 years sociologists championed innovative methodological resources, notably the sample survey and the in-depth interviews, which reasonably allowed them to claim distinctive expertise to access the `social' in powerful ways, such claims are now much less secure. We argue that both the sample survey and the in-depth interview are increasingly dated research methods, which are unlikely to provide a robust base for the jurisdiction of empirical sociologists in coming decades. We conclude by speculating how sociology might respond to this coming crisis through taking up new interests in the `politics of method'.

Item Type: Article
Institution: The University of York
Academic Units: The University of York > Sociology (York)
Depositing User: York RAE Import
Date Deposited: 10 Feb 2009 14:24
Last Modified: 10 Feb 2009 14:24
Published Version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0038038507080443
Status: Published
Publisher: Sage Publications
Identification Number: 10.1177/0038038507080443
URI: http://eprints.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/7529

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