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Thread by @yungneocon: "What I really like about scholars like Didier Fassin, Lois Wacquant, Phillipe Bourgois, Bruno Latour, Harry Collins, Trevor Pinch, Donald Ma […]"

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What I really like about scholars like Didier Fassin, Lois Wacquant, Phillipe Bourgois, Bruno Latour, Harry Collins, Trevor Pinch, Donald MacKenzie, Alex Preda & others, is the way they approach topics like the state, the law, morality, policing, drug use, knowledge etc
instead of starting with a prior or pre defined demarcation criteria, they look at the actual practices of scientists, labs, politicians, police, courts, inventors, drug users, etc, and describe what they do, say, think, believe, etc
Thus one gets an engaged, messy, historically, culturally & locally contingent picture of the topic being described, that balances both internal descriptions & actions, and outside definitions and interpretations in theorizing the object
Then, once a lot of these accounts have been formulated, one can start to generalize across the different field studies, and do a more inductive & definitional approach to the subject matter
I mean, at the end of the day, if you statistically or computationally analyzed a 1000 case studies or ethnographies, you’d get the same generality you want from statistics but with highly context specific ecologically valid inference
This is why mixed method approaches are so exciting, because especially with the advent of computational social science, were seeing the collaboration of qualitative & quantitative approaches to various topics, accounting for the flaws & drawbacks of both.
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