By S. Aronowitz
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Additional resources for Against Orthodoxy: Social Theory and Its Discontents
Among the clearest expositions of what he means by the notions “cultural materialism,” “structure of feeling,” and perhaps most importantly his celebrated distinction between emergent, dominant, and residual cultures is expressed in his otherwise failed, even if well-known, essay “Base and Superstructure in Marxist Theory”: Now if we go back to the cultural question in its most usual form—what are the relations between art and society? —in the light of the preceding discussion [in which Williams develops his proposition that the dominant mode of production, therefore dominant society, therefore the dominant culture, exhausts the full range of human practice], we have to say first that there are no relations between literature and society in that abstracted way.
Chapter 3 A Critique of Methodological Reason Stanley Aronowitz and Robert Ausch A merican social science has always been preoccupied with methodology. In the last twenty-five years, however, it has become a near obsession. S. social science is, for the most part, unique in its desire to use methodology as natural science does, to ground its claims to truth. Although social inquiry always employs various techniques—statistical, historical, ethnographic, for example—the effort to emulate what many consider the rigorous methodologies of the natural sciences continues within sociology, psychology, and other disciplines in the human sciences.
Accordingly, the positivist proceeds from an epistemological framework, retaining the Kantian distance between the knowing subject and the object of knowledge. In its most sophisticated Popperian version, the object before us is approached by means of presuppositions that themselves must be addressed; in the end, we can achieve positive knowledge of the object only by means of method. Popper goes so far as to understand that the “object” of science is constructed by the terms of the experiment.