Positive science or interpretive understanding? Transcending legacies of Durkheim and Weber in defining the nature and procedures of social research

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Dr. Mikyas Abera


Social science research has been fraught with presumably ‘irreconcilable’ objectivist versus subjectivist standpoints, which also goes by such names as structure versus agency, determinism versus freewill. Due to their divergent ontological, epistemological, and methodological assumptions and prescriptions, many researchers stressed the difficulty to work with both approaches to understand reality. This review article traces this methodological strain to the writings of Durkheim and Weber by way of understanding it and proposing ways to surmount the incongruity towards better informed and comprehensive social research.

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