Is a system of more or less explicitly specified linguistic and other signs organised in a distinct
The discourse demarcates, describes, analyses, imagines and explains the social realm and
specifies its relation to the broader cosmos. Its accounts exceed what can be observed…captures
something about something but does not necessarily represent it
Analytically identifiable aspects of Social Theories
1) Concecptual Sytem
4) (refer to slides)
The heart of a asocial theory is the conceptual system. Conceptual theories are typically
examined for their degree of coherence.
There is a significant distance between a theory and the empirical world. This may pose
problems in relating one to the other.
Social Theory Ontology:
Ontology is about what beings exist in the universe including the enquirer…what makes up the
enquirer as well as what makes up what the enquirer is studying.As a human being you
experience and understand things in a certain way. To what degree do you need to apply
different methods of analysis…i.e. there does not seem to be anything in nature equivalent to
the mind so any processes of comparing the mind to organic processes are likely to fail.
Atheory always works with an explicit and/or implicit epistemology. Concerend with what is
believed to be knowable (or not), and knowledge can be produced.
Aquestion frequently posed is: Does it make any difference here that humans are studying
humans…the problem of the participant observer. More interestingly the fact that the researchers affect the form of the conduct of the group is
interesting. It is not just the individual researcher having an affect but there is a social medium
that is involved in the affect…the group reacts in a certain way because of its structure etc.
Therefore participant studies are not irrelevant.
Study of conduct is important. The observation of conduct can infer symbolic or ritualistic
meaning from conduct, conduct can have a reactionary affect on other people etc.
Social Theory D: Normativity
All intellectual practices involve explicit and implicit value orientations towards humanity,
nature and/or the gods. These always include some of the good. These help determine
theoretical practices and need to be identified.
^Think back on what Prof Pearce said about everyone being a bit mad. It is impossible to be
indifferent i.e. scientists saying they are i