This thesis examines, experiments with, and theorizes the value of lyrical sociology as an approach to social scientific research. A lyrical sociology, as proposed by Andrew Abbott, seeks to describe an author's emotional response to a phenomenon rather than explain it. This allows for a researcher's own experience to play a role in the research process in a way that helps the reader to connect emotionally and ethically to both the world they read about and the world they themselves are a part of. It has valuable implications for the way researchers relate to their research, their research subjects, their audience, and ultimately their own lives. I start by situating lyrical sociology within the broader context of the discipline, and the social sciences more generally, and then elaborate upon the specific stance and mechanics required of the writer and reader of lyrical works. Next, I present a series of lyrical vignettes about the time I spent living as a missionary in inner-city Detroit. Lastly, I give an analysis and reflection on what I learned from the process of writing and reading these stories and then conclude with a discussion on future directions lyrical sociology can take.
College and Department
Family, Home, and Social Sciences; Sociology
BYU ScholarsArchive Citation
Wurm, Gregory Joseph, "Doing and Interpreting Lyrical Sociology: Living in Detroit" (2018). All Theses and Dissertations. 6884.
lyrical sociology, narrative, ethics, emotion, ethnography, reading, urban sociology, theory