In the two previous posts about ‘rules of method’, I focused on rules surrounding the actor: which seem to be ideas appropriate to work with the social partners. What we will do now is to devote ourselves to another aspect of what, to my understanding, should be part of an explanation sociological appropriate: no rules on who counts as a good explanation, but rules about who is what you would have to explain.
The starting point is -as they should be discussions on rules of method – Durkheim. And even if something it hurts me, the starting point is the critique of Durkheim. The Suicide began the most dismal of the customs sociological: sociology is based on to explain the behaviors of people around social factors.
In fact, the mere existence of the discipline depends on the above: If you, say anything, to happen such that all the individual behavior be explained by genes -that there are social factors in intelligence, in the different between men and women and in what may be-then there would be no place for sociology. The Suicide, in the end, it was not a treaty of method of applying and show that it consists of sociological research – but had a theoretical point central: take Heed, that what we took for eminently individual, the decision to commit suicide, in reality has to be explained away by the society. Take heed, then, that the sociology is science important.
And what was a tour de force quickly turned on our central task, and cover letter. What initially was a way of saying that the social is important in other issues, became our source of legitimacy: why it makes sense to work in a discipline like ours? Because our behavior depends, fundamentally, on social factors.
The reader may imagine that the whole idea of this text is to deny the above. The idea is, precisely, to say that even though all the individual behavior outside explainable without making any mention -or make mention relevant – of social factors, of all ways would make sense for a discipline such as sociology.
It sounds strange that the legitimacy of a discipline from a theoretical point: That the discipline is dependent on the truth of a particular theory about a phenomenon. And in particular, that the discipline on the social world depends on the truth of a statement about individuals.
What difference and based on the sociology ought to be, in reality, a part of the reality. Because, even if there were no social factors on the behavior of people, it still would be many phenomena that are specifically social work: why and how that certain social interactions people talk and others use violence? Why and how in certain societies, there are thousands of different jobs and not in others? Why and how in certain societies, the ‘workers’ have contracts and other are the property of their ’employers’? Why and how in some societies, people reach the fullness of their rights at puberty and in others there are special categories such as adolescence? Why and how is it the case that the ‘scandals’ for which politicians lose their positions are different between societies? And so with many other topics, upon which -to tell the truth – we are limited in good part to describe, and not to wonder about how and why they happen.
To put it another way, the way of the explanation, and the sociological research is not in The Suicide, is in The Social Division of Labour. Because, even if there is nothing social in the suicide, it still would make sense to analyze, it would still be interesting to find out and realize that there are certain societies with a high number of different roles, and in others where the number is small; and that there are certain societies where it will outweigh the civil law and the criminal (repressive); and that both elements are related.
On the other hand, this type of rambling gives me a little hope for the poor discipline: Because, then, if we have not achieved much, in part because we have not dedicated to what should be our central place of work and analysis: In other words, that we have not addressed the world of the social. Perhaps, by pursuing what should be our task, we can finally do something worthwhile.