View Full Version : The Art of Nonfiction Writing

08-29-2001, 09:03 PM
On the outside of the door to my office, back in my days as a Sociology graduate student, at a university where the Sociology Department was part of a larger unit known as the Center for Social-Behavioral Sciences:

You are leaving the CENTER for SOCIAL-BEHAVIORAL SCIENCE and entering the Antisocial Misbehavioral Periphery of the Social Arts.

OK, but seriously folks...social theory, or perhaps by extension most other forms of nonfiction that are not circumscribed by a requirement that they do no more than describe the data set...art?

In many cases, our collective lack of comprehension is NOT due to lack of data; if anything we have too damn much data to know what to do with, to know how to make sense of it all in a summary fashion.

As this forum is still in its infancy, I do not know whether it makes more sense to throw out the question for consideration, a la GQ, or to quickly direct you to my theory pages and ask what you think of them, as per IMHO. I think what I'd like to do is FIRST solicit some opinions in general, regarding the validity of social theory (and other nonfiction) and how much of it stems from the art of making sense and how much from the science of data gathering and summarization & analysis, + the extent to which you agree with my not-so-hidden premise that the weaving of theoretical explanatory structures is more artistic than scientific and should be (and in reality IS) assessed in those terms, or disagree with same; ......

...and then, at some point later on, solicit some opinions with regards to my artwork (if you will) as a social theorist.

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