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Disaggregating Structures as an Agenda for Critical Realism: A Reply to McAnulla


Rhodes, RAW and Bevir, M, Disaggregating Structures as an Agenda for Critical Realism: A Reply to McAnulla, British Politics, 1, (3) pp. 397-403. ISSN 1746-918X (2006) [Refereed Article]

DOI: doi:10.1057/palgrave.bp.4200019


This paper offers a commentary on critical realism by proponents of an interpretive political science. It does, in part, by responding to McAnulla's suggestion that critical realists might join the conversation, initiated by interpretive political scientists, about the nature of a post-positivist political science. The paper argues that the critical realist concept of "structure" is too vague to be of much use; it needs to be disaggregated into various types of structure, including "tradition", "dilemma", "practice", and "unintended consequence". The paper also suggests that if critical realists are to disaggregate the concept of structure in a post-positivist manner, they need to avoid philosophical pitfalls such as contrasting the ideational with the material, treating social concepts as natural kinds, and adopting naturalist forms of explanation. © 2006 Palgrave Macmillan Ltd.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Research Division:Human Society
Research Group:Political science
Research Field:Political theory and political philosophy
Objective Division:Law, Politics and Community Services
Objective Group:Government and politics
Objective Field:Government and politics not elsewhere classified
UTAS Author:Rhodes, RAW (Professor Rod Rhodes)
ID Code:58531
Year Published:2006
Deposited By:Government
Deposited On:2009-10-13
Last Modified:2009-10-13

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