The Meaning of ‘Theory’*

  title={The Meaning of ‘Theory’*},
  author={Gabriel Abend},
  journal={Sociological Theory},
  pages={173 - 199}
  • Gabriel Abend
  • Published 1 June 2008
  • Philosophy, Sociology
  • Sociological Theory
‘Theory’ is one of the most important words in the lexicon of contemporary sociology. Yet, their ubiquity notwithstanding, it is quite unclear what sociologists mean by the words ‘theory,’ ‘theoretical,’ and ‘theorize.’ I argue that confusions about the meaning of ‘theory’ have brought about undesirable consequences, including conceptual muddles and even downright miscommunication. In this paper I tackle two questions: (a) what does ‘theory’ mean in the sociological language?; and (b) what… 

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