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Logics of Critical Explanation in Social and Political Theory (Routledge Innovations in Political Theory) Hardcover – October 19, 2007

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Editorial Reviews


'Logics of Critical Explanation in Social and Political Theory is an exceptionally valuable contribution to political and social theory from a post-structuralist perspective. Erudite, balanced, and supported by revealing case-studies, the book explores the inner logic of a critical approach and places it convincingly amidst a rich tapestry of methods and strategies. Political scientists, political theorists, and philosophers of the social sciences will find that it enhances their own understanding of the discipline; students and general readers will be indebted to it for a highly accessible and lucid analysis. If anyone doubted the coming of age of post-structural political theory, here is the proof of its maturity.'

Michael Freeden, Professor of Politics, Oxford University, UK

'This is a remarkable book, not only due to its rigour and scope, but also because of its sustained effort to engage with the most important contemporary currents in social explanation and social theory. As for the highly original theoretical approach that the authors present, I can only say that it is the most significant attempt so far at elaborating a general framework for social research from a post-structuralist perspective. The notion of logics, as defended in this text, is bound to have a lasting influence on the work of social and political scientists.'

Ernesto Laclau, Professor of Humanities and Rhetorical Studies, Northwestern University, USA and Professor of Politics, Department of Government, University of Essex, UK

'Logics of Critical Explanation examines positivist, hermeneutic, rational choice and other methods, drawing selective sustenance from several to build a theory of critical explanation reducible to none. The result is a unique book in the philosophy of the social sciences, one that appreciates an element of chanciness in the world as it retains the ambition to explain. An indispensable book for those who are dissatisfied with the options available today.'

William E. Connolly, Professor of Political Science, Johns Hopkins University, USA

'An ambitious and inventive intervention in debates on the methodology of the social sciences. Drawing on the resources of contemporary philosophy of science as well as hermeneutic and poststructuralist philosophy, Glynos and Howarth offer a provocative, but well-grounded, argument for a focus on 'logics' as basic to the tasks of both explanantion and criticism. Their argument is insightful, well illustrated, and should be widely debated.'

David Owen, Professor of Social and Political Philosophy, University of Southampton, UK

'In this path-breaking and commanding text, Glynos and Howarth call for and set out a distinctive approach to a reconstruction of social science. Established and emergent traditions of enquiry – naturalism and hermeneutics – are carefully reviewed and critiqued as a vehicle for elaborating the first systematic and sustained application of poststructuralist insights to a critical analysis of the nature of explanation and method. This is an important, challenging book for researchers across the social sciences, including the fields of management and business. It also has wider relevance for anyone who uses social scientific data, or is curious about how a ‘science’ of the social might be possible.'

Hugh Willmott, Professor in Organizational Studies, University of Cardiff, UK

'This edifying book is a tremendous accomplishment, offering a fresh look at both epistemology (what counts as knowledge) and ontology (our underlying presuppositions about the way the world goes round). But more than that, this book raises poststructuralist discourse theory to a new level of intellectual prestige. The raw material for a coherent poststructuralist discourse theory has been available for some time. And now, thanks to David Howarth and Jason Glynos, the wide ranging poststructuralist literature has been deployed to redescribe social science research as problematization and articulation – a context-sensitive research protocol that challenges positivism’s universalizing causal laws, which have inappropriately colonized the social sciences. This is careful yet imaginative scholarship, worthy of widespread attention across the social sciences.'

Hugh T. Miller, Professor of Public Administration, Florida Atlantic University, USA

'This is one of those exceedingly rare books which is both philosophically astute as well as of considerable practical use. It breaks new, creative ground concerning age-old issues in political theory and the philosophy of the social sciences. At the same time, it offers to the political analyst valuable heuristic strategies for engaging in critical empirical inquiry.'

Henk Wagenaar, Professor of Public Policy. University of Leiden, The Netherlands

'Beginning with a much-needed critique of scientism and the current state of affairs in the social and political sciences, Glynos and Howarth develop an original, sophisticated and rigorous account of discourse theory. Using the guiding idea of ‘logics of critical explanation’, Glynos and Howarth propose nothing less than a new ontology for social and political theory. This is excellent work that should be debated and discussed in the years to come.'

Simon Critchley, Professor of Philosophy, New School for Social Research, USA

About the Author

Jason Glynos is a Lecturer in Political Theory in the Department of Government at the University of Essex, UK. He is also Director of the Masters Programme in Ideology and Discourse Analysis at the University of Essex.

David Howarth is a Senior Lecturer in Political Theory in the Department of Government at the University of Essex, UK. He is also Co-Director of the Centre for Theoretical Studies and Director of the Masters Programme in Political Theory at the University of Essex.


Product Details

  • Series: Routledge Innovations in Political Theory (Book 26)
  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Routledge; 1 edition (October 19, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0415404282
  • ISBN-13: 978-0415404280
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 6.5 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #12,631,336 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By bar-el on July 4, 2010
Format: Paperback
As a sociology student, who also studied psychoanalysis and philosophy, i feel that this book really does the trick!
What trick is that? the trick of evading both ('objective')causal mechanisms and the ('subjective') hermeneutic point-of-view, in favor a discursive perspective - which is based on post-structuralist epistemological notions of logics, and the ontology of social relations.
A Lacanian basis is helpful (both the theory and the reader), for it clarifies many problematic complications such-as the problem of subjectivity or the relation and articulation of structure-and-agency. The relations between all three forms of logics, social-political-fantasmatic, help to make clear the formations and dialectics of Universal-vs.Particular, thus producing a singular critical explanation of social malaise.
Coming from the Ideology and discourse analysis programme of the essex school, and taking a post-positivist approach, the authors succeeded in integrating the insights of Wittgenstein, Althusser, Lacan, and (post)Marxism in the form of Laclau & Mouffe - all in order to provide a very effective method of\for what zizek calls a social-analyst, whose interest are the social symptoms found all-over our (western-capitalist) society. that is the post-structuralist discourse theory.
very useful as a methodological book for anyone interested in social\political investigations.
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Logics of Critical Explanation in Social and Political Theory (Routledge Innovations in Political Theory)
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