Sociology as Science
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Raymond Boudon is one of France’s most eminent sociologists. His distinctive contributions on such topics as educational and social inequality, rationality, methodological individualism, and the classical tradition in sociology have been influential. He is one of the few contemporary French social theorists to have played a key role in the wider academic world. Boudon’s perspective moves beyond narrow, parochial and obscure concerns to the broader issues of how best to explain and understand society.
In this entertaining and insightful book, Boudon draws on his personal history and intellectual career, showing how they relate to his distinctive ideas on the claim that contemporary sociology can operate as a true science. He discusses some basic questions raised by the development of sociology, such as “how can the scientific character of sociology be recognised?” and “is it true that there are sociological research studies that follow the same procedures as all the other sciences?”
His answer to these questions is both frank and amusing, and told via some key moments in his intellectual autobiography. Boudon argues convincingly that methodological individualism contains the principles for a soundly based and scientific sociology, to which his own “theory of ordinary rationality” is a major contribution.