Expert Answer:Znaniecki Method of Sociology Selection of Social

  

Solved by verified expert:Attached document is about Znaniecki. Method of Sociology. Read the document and summarize. Answer this question as well
Know Znaniecki’s general definition of social systems
(starting page 130). How social agent is heuristically theorized? How social
system is heuristically theorized? What does it mean to classify social system
by similarity of composition? What are social tendencies?
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THE METHOD OF
SOCIOLOGY
BY
Florian Znaniecki
EMERITUS PROFESSOR OF SOCIOLOGY
UNIVERSITY OF ILLINOIS
RINEHART & COMPANY,
NEW YORK
INC.
PREFACE
changes continually. Not only
discovered
and new theories conbeing
structed all the time, but the ways of searching for
facts and the methods of constructing theories undergo
a ceaseless evolution. This evolution is always more or
Every
are
new
vital science
facts
less conscious
and
intentional,
which means that
it
is
-reflection.
accompanied by methodological
Sometimes changes are so rapid and profound
as to
bring a crisis. The essential principles of investigation
and systematization which were universally recognized
during a certain period cease to be regarded as valid
and other principles must be elaborated. At such times,
methodological reflection assumes a leading role in
formulating new ideals of scientific achievement. It did
this for the entire knowledge of antiquity during the
period extending from Protagoras to Aristotle. It performed a similar function for all natural science from
the middle of the sixteenth to the middle of the seventeenth century. Recently, at the beginning of this century, its influence assisted powerfully in bringing about
the radical reconstruction which the physical and chemical sciences
have undergone.
sociology is passing through a crisis as deep as
any science ever passed through. It was established as a
synthetic science of “society” or “civilization,” using
the results of several other sciences to draw such
Now,
comprehensive generalizations as none of those sciences
could or cared to draw for itself. It is changing into an
PREFACE
Vi
analytic science investigating directly and independently
particular empirical data, formulating its own results
in a vast monographic literature, and not only avoiding
hasty conclusions, but often mistrusting generalization
sciences do, and more than is good for
In
this
crisis it needs all the light which
science.
any
and discussions can throw on
studies
methodological
more than other
present and future.
Many students absorbed in special research are inclined to undervalue the importance of methodology
or even to deny it altogether. Science, they claim, is only
advanced by positive investigation. What is the use of
its
them. It
who
things ought to be done? Go and do
the artist and not the philosopher of art
how
discussing
is
creates
new
aesthetic values, the
who
moral leader and
new standards
of conduct, the statesman and not the political scientist
who leads political life, the business man and not the
economist who makes wealth.
But there is an obvious fallacy in this argument.
Art, morality, politics, business are not theoretic pursuits. Theoretic study is not a part of their function: it
is at best an instrument which
they use in defining their
not the student of ethics
practical aims.
Whereas
introduces
scientific activity is theoretic
and methodological
reflection is inseparably
plays the same part in scientific
progress as the conscious expression of new aesthetic
ideals in the evolution of art, as the formulation of new
moral ideals in the progress of practical morality, as
critical and reflective consideration of new political posactivity,
associated with
sibilities in
it.
It
statesmanship, as outlining
new
enterprises
and new ways of management in business. A science
directed by methodology in contrast to a science proceeding by undirected monographic contributions rep-
PREFACE
Vll
resents a stage of intellectual development parallel to
modern planful technology in contrast to the trial-and-
error techniques of the past.
Among those scientists who realize that methodological reflection is useful and even necessary, there are
some who demand that it be always connected with instances showing how certain methods are actually applied in scientific research. The famous collective book,
Methods in the Social Sciences, edited by Stuart F.
1931), originated in such demands.
no doubt as to the great value of this kind of
critical and constructive analysis of the ways in which
scientific problems are really defined and solved in the
original work of individual scientists. But there is one
function which this type of methodology fails to fulfil.
Rice
(Chicago,
There
is
It does not attempt to formulate general scientific ideals
for the future. However successful may be a particular
scientific achievement, it always and inevitably falls
short of the scientist’s highest standards of perfection,
and it is essential to know those standards as the goal
is striving. However important and
be an individual’s scientific contribution,
the use which will be made of it for the advance of
science depends on the common or prevalent direction
in which the work of other scientists in the same and
toward which he
original
may
is moving. In addition, therefore,
to critical reflection about methodological innovations
as exemplified in concrete studies, sociology (like every
neighboring fields
other science) needs fundamental discussion concerning
the general possibilities and conditions of its future
development.
The present book embodies the result of long and
strenuous efforts to harmonize ideals with reality,
to reconcile the standards of highest scientific perfec-
Vlll
PREFACE
derived partly from philosophy, partly from the
methodologies of physical and biological sciences, with
the need for preserving intact those characteristics which
concrete social facts possess in our experience. It has been
worked out in a continual conflict between the interests
of exact analysis and strictly rational systematization
on the one hand, and the interests of unprejudiced observation and empirical research with their inexhaustible
variety of materials, on the other.
This conflict has driven the author to exclude from
the field of sociology all but one specific category of
data, in contrast to the more comprehensive ambitions
of most sociologists, and while rejecting the “formalistic” views of Simmel and his followers, to conceive of it
as a special science, limited to those facts it can successfully cope with. Under the same conflicting influences the author has been forced to emphasize, in
tion,
opposition to materialistic schematism, the primary and
meaningfulness of social reality, to accept
values and activities as facts, just as human
agents themselves accept them, but to study them objectively and with the application of the same formal
principles as the physicist and the biologist apply to
material nature. The same conflict has made the author
aware that at the present stage of scientific analysis attempts to rationalize social reality quantitatively often
sacrifice the substances of valuable knowledge and true
discovery for the shadow of mathematical formulae
devoid of significant content; but at the same time it
made him strive to maintain in his qualitative studies
the highest standard of logical exactness compatible
with the nature of social data.
The ideal thus reached, as expressed in the present
essential
human
book, will probably be judged by some insufficiently
PREFACE
strict
and
objective, leaving too
IX
much
free play to the
so-
“subjective” experience and interpretation of the
ciologist; while others may think it too scholastic, impossible to apply in actually dealing with the mass of
concrete facts. I should answer the
first objection by
as yet to elimout
has
found
no
been
that
pointing
way
inate from the study of human facts the individual understanding of the student, without eliminating that
which makes those
facts real to all
men. The second
objection ought to be met by showing the results of
research carried on in accordance with the principles
here laid down. And, indeed, the present book was
originally written as a mere introductory part of a large
work summarizing the results of the author’s sociolog-
now
being published as a separate
reasons, not the least of which is
the consciousness of the author that in his positive work
ical
studies.
It
is
volume for several
living up to his own standards. Let,
therefore, this abstract expression of a scientific ideal
stand by itself, to be followed by a series of more or
he
is
far
from
less imperfect, partial attempts at realization.
obligations as a sociologist are too numerous to
My
recorded. But there are two
men
to
whom
above
be
all
others I wish to express my gratitude at the commencement of the publication of my sociological results. One
is William I. Thomas, a long and intimate collaboration with
whom
was the best possible introduction a
philosopher could have had into sociological reality.
The other is Robert M. Maclver, whose constructive
criticism
helped
me most
in the final
formulation of
my theories.
F. Z.
Columbia University
May, 1934
CONTENTS
PAGE
PREFACE
I.
THE
v
SELECTION
AND
DETERMINATION
OF
SCIENTIFIC DATA
3
1.
Practical Standards of Selection in Sociology
2.
Concrete Reality Inexhaustible
The Principle of Closed Systems
3.
4. Description
5.
7.
II.
8
1 1
of Systems and Elements
14
16
Explanation of Changes
6. Historical
Knowledge as Opposed
Knowledge
Tacts and Theories in Sociology
to Generalizing
2
i
26
THE PRINCIPLES OF SELECTION OF CULTURAL
DATA
34
1.
The
2.
The Humanistic
3.
Values as Cultural Objects
39
4.
The Problem of Human
43
5.
Experiencing Activities
49
6. Activity,
57
7.
Tendency , and Attitude
The Duration and Extension of Cultural Systems
69
Distinction
between Natural and Cultural
Data
III.
3
34
Coefficient of Cultural
Data
Activities
THE DATA OF SOCIOLOGY
1.
Sociology as Theory of “Societies” or of
90
“Com-
munities’*
2.
36
90
Sociology as a General Theory of Cultural Data
xi
101
CONTENTS
Xll
FAOE
a Special Science
Theory of Social Actions
3. Sociology as
4.
5.
6.
7.
8.
IV.
The
105
107
The Theory of Social Relations
The Theory of Social Persons
The Theory of Social Groups
1 1 1
117
120
General Definition of Social Systems
THE SOURCES OF SOCIOLOGICAL MATERIAL
Inadequate Utilization of Sociological Material
154
2.
Personal Experience of the Sociologist: Original
157
3.
Personal Experiences of the Sociologist: Vicarious
167
172
5.
Personal Experiences of Other People
186
6.
Observations by Other People
193
7.
Generalizations Used as Materials
198
CRITICISM OF SOME METHODOLOGICAL TENDENCIES
1
VI.
154
1.
4. Observation by the Sociologist
V.
130
.
Preparation of Material for Scientific Use
an Independent Inductive Science
213
2
1
3
2.
Sociology
3.
Enumerative Induction
221
4.
The
Statistical
225
5.
The
Origins and Difficulties of Analytic Induction
as
Method
ANALYTIC INDUCTION IN SOCIOLOGY
1.
Abstraction
2. Structural
and Generalization
Dependence and
Static
Law
217
235
249
249
262
3.
Ontogenetic Analysis
275
4.
Phylo genetic Classification
282
5.
Causal Changes of Social Systems
295
6.
The Problem of
307
Quantification
THE METHOD OF
SOCIOLOGY
CHAPTER
THE
SELECTION AND DETERMINATION OF
SCIENTIFIC
j.
I
DATA
Practical Standards of Selection in Sociology
Every one of the sciences dealing with empirical
makes in the course of its development a continuous selection of those objects and facts which it
means to study as belonging to its particular field of
reality
research. This selection
is
in part the result of previous
research, which has left certain hypotheses to test and
certain problems to solve; it is chiefly due, however, to
methodological reflection as to the possibilities and
limits of future discovery and systematization. In “practical” sciences, like engineering, medicine and jurisprudence, which aim at a direct application of their results
to the achievement of technical ends, the selection is
determined primarily by the supposed bearing of certain data on these ends. All the objects and facts
deemed
necessary for the construction of roads and
bridges, the healing of diseases, or state control of
human relations are studied together, to the exclusion
of all such as are considered irrelevant to the purpose
In a theoretic science, like physics, biology,
or comparative philology, the standard of selection is
the possibility of continually extending and improving
the abstract knowledge of objects and facts selected,
so as to make it with every step empirically more exhaustive and logically more coherent.
in question.
3
THE METHOD OF SOCIOLOGY
4
In that part of scientific reflection about human life
which since Comte has been called sociology, the
standards of selection were originally practical, chiefly
political and moral, and they have remained so in a very
large measure. Social students are continually selecting
and grouping together for comprehensive research the
data that seem to them relevant for such ends as the
prevention and control of crime, the welfare of the
destitute, the promotion of harmonious relations between various races or classes within a territorial community, the substitution of peaceful understanding for
military antagonism between states, and so on. For a
long time, indeed in Europe nearly up to the present
day, purely theoretic interest in social data was kept
up mainly by philosophers of history and ethnologists j
to most of those absorbed in solving practical problems
of the concrete social world, sociology seemed either
speculative or dealing with matters almost as remote
from their vital problems as the satellites of Jupiter.
The knowledge thus agglomerated for practical
purposes is by no means worthless theoretically.
owe to the ethical and political reflection of thousands
of years, beginning with popular proverbs and the secret lore of savages and ending with modern works
on the conditions and possibilities of social betterment,
a store of sociological information which we have not
even begun to appreciate. Sociology, like every ambitious upstart, is inclined to consider everything the
past has left us in its domain as worthless dross. This
is rank ingratitude, for as a matter of fact sociology still
lives chiefly on the achievements of former genera-
We
and it is very fortunate for it at its present stage
mankind already knows incomparably more about
tions j
that
social reality
than
it
knew about nature
at the
time
SELECTION AND DETERMINATION OF SCIENTIFIC DATA
5
when
the physical and biological sciences commenced
tremendous advance.
This vast mass of knowledge cannot, however, become a part of theoretic sociology until it is comtheir
reorganized. For in a theoretic science all
knowledge already achieved is deemed unsatisfactory
and used only as an instrument to achieve more and
better knowledge, whereas a practical science treats the
pletely
knowledge it possesses as final as long as it serves its
ends, and does not attempt to improve it unless forced
by
practical failure.
The knowledge agglomerated
in
the course of practical pursuits thus remains scientifically unproductive, and nowhere is this more manifest
than in the domain of sociology.
cal generalizations has, indeed,
The bulk of sociologibeen growing since an-
tiquity, but only under the pressure of new practical
needs and purposes. In those lines in which our conscious
practical ends have remained essentially similar to what
they were two thousand years ago, such as social control
of private relations, education and politics, we have little
better knowledge of the means than the Greeks and
Romans had. Not until quite recently is a slight theoretic progress in these fields noticeable, and this is entirely due to the beginnings of positive and disinterested
however hesitating and imperfect
these beginnings may yet be.
Since the whole content of a science obviously depends on the data it studies, the first task of those who
sociological research,
started to build a theoretic science of sociology in a
field where formerly practical science reigned supreme
a task which was and still is rather neglected
should
have been to change the standards determining the
selection of the objects and facts to be investigated. The
attainment of a practical end requires in most cases a
THE METHOD OF SOCIOLOGY
6
great variety of information which cannot possibly be
included within the limits of one theoretic science, but
must be dealt with by several special sciences. Engineers
who build a bridge use a fund of general information
to
which
chemistry, mineralogy, geology,
have contributed their respececonomics,
meteorology,
tive shares.
physician who wishes to heal a patient
physics,
A
knowledge whose theoretic sources lie
within the domains of biology (subdivided into anatomy, physiology, bacteriology, cytology, etc.), psychology, chemistry. An educated farmer wields general
must
utilize
truths belonging severally to botany, zoology, organic
and inorganic chemistry, geology, meteorology, eco-
nomics. Judging by these examples, it seems highly
improbable that all the knowledge needed say, to
diminish crime or prostitution, to assimilate a foreign
population, to raise the cultural or hedonistic level of a
rural community, or to prevent wars between states
should pertain to one theoretic science, however comprehensive this science may be.
On the other hand, we find that a theoretic science
always furnishes information to several distinct practical
sciences, none of which utilizes all the knowledge that
might be drawn from the common source. Thus, chemical knowledge is used in the dyeing industry as well
as in agriculture, in the production of explosive and
poisonous gases as well as in pharmacology and medicine. Similarly, theoretic sociology will be
and even
now is beginning to be used for the purposes of
politics and practical ethics, education and business en-
and war, class struggle and class accomurban
and rural organization, etc. However,
modation,
at every stage of its progress a theoretic science contains
much knowledge that is not yet utilized by any practical
terprise, peace
SELECTION AND DETERMINATION OF SCIENTIFIC DATA
science.
in the
Some
of
it
J
will be used sooner or later, but
will have reached new results
meantime theory
and again practice will be lagging behind. A certain
amount of theoretic knowledge may even remain for
ever practically useless, though indispensable as a component part of the total body, the greater part of which
sooner or later finds practical application.
No
theoretic science can, therefore, afford to have
its object-matter prescribed to it by any
the selection of
practical considerations. It may, indeed, and often does
undertake to study problems suggested by practical
science, but these problems must lie within its field as
circumscribed by theoretic criteria. There is no reason
why a sociologist should not at the instigation of a
statesman, a moralist, a social reformer, study some of
the data involved in peace or war, in contacts between
races, in crime, poverty, class struggle or family disorganization, in order to reach conclusions which will
help the practical scientist to outline plans for social
betterment. But he must have definite theoretic
standards to judge which of the innumerable and varied
on a given practical end belong to his
proper domain j and he must limit himself to these.
Everything outside must be left to other specialists for
study, while the task of unifying and organizing the
results reached by the various specialists belongs to the
facts bearing

practical scientist, the “social engineer.
Theoretic sociology being still, as its
confess,
much
older and
own
adherents
than many
should obviously
less efficient in its research
more developed sciences, it
by their example in
establishing the
standards for selecting its data out of the enormous
wealth and complexity of human experience. In this
matter the actual process of scientific pro …
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