Upcoming Panel: “What does a ‘theorist’ do?”

At the upcoming 2015 Congress, in addition to the Symposium for Early Career Theorists (SECT), the Social Theory Research Cluster is organizing an invited panel  on the theme of “What does a ‘theorist’ do?”.

This invited panel considers just what, exactly, theory should contribute to sociology as a whole.   The panelists and the audience will address a range of questions, including: Is theory a distinct field of study, with its own methods and its own questions? Is it an aspect of all sociological research? Are there distinctive activities make someone a ‘theorist’? Are all sociologists practicing theorists? Is sociological theory necessarily ideological? If theory exceeds ideology, how does it do so? How important is the tradition of ‘great minds’ taught in standard theory textbooks, and why, and are there new theoretical issues not addressed in that tradition?  How does, or how should, or how could theory inform empirical research, from research design to data collection to analysis of findings?  How could sociologists benefit more from theoretical inquiry? Could theorists do a better job of speaking to the needs and concerns of sociologists in general?

Panel members will each present short statements, followed by a moderated discussion involving the panelists and audience members collectively.

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