The Meaning of ‘Theory’*

@article{Abend2008TheMO,
  title={The Meaning of ‘Theory’*},
  author={Gabriel Abend},
  journal={Sociological Theory},
  year={2008},
  volume={26},
  pages={173 - 199}
}
‘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… Expand

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