The Reading Plan

An introduction to critical realism in six simple steps

1. Begin with an introductory overview:

Margaret Archer, Claire Decoteau. Philip Gorski. Daniel Little, Douglas Porpora, Timothy Rutzou, Christian Smith, George Steinmetz, and Frederic Vandenberghe “What is Critical Realism”. Perspectives, 2016, (38, 2), pp. 4-9 [Click Here]

Gorski, P (2013), “What is Critical Realism? And Why Should You Care?”, Contemporary Sociology, 42: 658ff

Sayer, A (2000) Realism and Social Science, London: SAGE [Part 1 Introducing Critical Realism, pp 1 – 29]

Bhaskar, Roy (2011) “Realism in the Natural Sciences”, Reclaiming Reality. London: Routledge pp. 9-20

3. Ground this in the implications of CR for methods

Gorski, P (2004). ‘The Poverty of Deductivism: A Constructive Realist Model of Sociological Explanation’, Sociological Methodology, 34.1. pp 1-33

Porpora, D (2001) ‘Do Realists Run Regressions?’ in Potter and Jose Lopez (eds.), After Postmodernism London: Continuum.

Danermark, B. Ekström, M. Jakobsen, L. Karlsson. J.C. (1997) “Critical Methodological Pluralism” in Explaining Society: An Introduction to Critical Realism in the Social Sciences. London: Routledge. [150 – 176]

5. Now move onto the question of structure, agency, society and culture

Porpora, D. (1998) ‘Four Concepts of Social Structure’ in Critical Realism Essential Readings, London: Routledge [pp 339 – 356]

Archer, M, (2003) “The Process of Mediation between Structure and Agency” in Structure, Agency and the Internal Conversation, [pp. 130 – 150]

Bhaskar, R. (1998) “3.1 Introduction” & “3.2 Against Individualism” in The Possibility of Naturalism, 3rd edition. London: Routledge. [pp 27-47]

2. Understand what science entails and explore the relationship between causes, powers, laws and mechanisms:

Bhaskar, R. (2008) “On the Actuality of the Casual Connection’ A Realist Theory of Science. London: Routledge. [pp 53-59]

Collier, A (1994) ‘Experiment and Depth Realism’ in Critical Realism: An Introduction to Roy Bhaskar’s Philosophy, [pp 31- 69]

4. Deepen this by exploring the concepts of emergence and stratification and their implications for how we understanding social structure and human persons

Steinmetz, G “Odious Comparisons: Incommensurability, the Case Study, and “Small N’s in Sociology.” Sociological Theory, Vol. 22, number 3 (2003), pp. 371-400.

Lawson, T (2013) Emergence and Morphogenesis: Causal Reduction and Downward Causation? In Archer, M [Ed.] Social Morphogensis . Springer, New York

Collier, A (1994) ‘Stratification and Emergence’ Critical Realism: An Introduction to Roy Bhaskar’s Philosophy, [pp 107- 136]

6. And from here to questions of ethics, values and human flourishing  

Gorski, P. (2013) ‘Beyond the Fact-Value Distinction: Ethical Naturalism and the Social Sciences’ in Soc 50. pp 543-553

Sayer, A. (2011) “Chapter 2: Values within Reason” in Why Things Matter to People: Social Science, Values and Ethical Life. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press [23-58]

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