João Carlos Graça 1
  • 1 University of Lisbon, Gabinete 213, 20 Rua Miguel Lupi, Lisbon, 1249-078, Portugal

Writing Sociology: Writing History

2023, vol. 22, No. 2, pp. 50–70 [issue contents]
French historian and archaeologist Paul Veyne argued for what he saw as the fundamental lack of object in sociology in 1971. This academic field would definitely not be a science, but, at most, an auxiliary to historiography, itself devoid of any scientific condition since it refers to sublunary causalities, not allowing predictions, only “retrodictions”. Conversely, a set of “praxeologies” could be identified, the core of a future science of man, radically different from both sociology and history, including instead pure economics, operational research, and game theory. While history (and sociology) would inevitably be “Aristotelian”, that is, sublunary and imprecise, scientific disciplines could and should be predominantly “Platonic”, aiming at formal logical elegance. Veyne was only partly right, since economics itself cannot be considered a science stricto sensu. Admittedly, sociology is going through a state of multilevel crisis, allowing us to confront this situation with important recent trends for the emergence of socio-historical grand narratives, sometimes officially called history, less often historical sociology, but all eminently trans-disciplinary. The aim of this research is to overcome the limitations associated with the biographical, elitist, and Eurocentric biases characteristic of traditional historiography. On the whole, the tendency of these studies is nomothetic, but the “laws” identified are at best, approximate. Therefore, they, like economics, are condemned to operate on a mere “Aristotelian” level, and thus, the great “novel of humanity” is bound to remain essentially indeterminate.
Citation: Graça J. (2023) Writing Sociology: Writing History [Writing Sociology: Writing History]. The Russian Sociological Review, vol. 22, no 2, pp. 50-70 (in Russian)
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