Title

Sociological theory and the family : The problem of fit between form and content

Keywords

symbols, concepts, Sociology, problem of fit

Abstract

The generic and perhaps insoluble issue in theorizing is the "problem of fit" between man’s symbols, i.e. forms, and the empirical content which he confronts with his manipulative and mensurative instruments of knowing, whether these be his own senses or artifacts such as rulers, scales or descriptive schemas. The problem of fit has recurred recently in many guises : grounded theory (Glaser and Strauss, 1967, p. 261, discussing their disagreement with Merton) : mirroring and isomorphism (Coleman, 1964); fallacy of fit between method and model (Riley, 1964); problem of levels of abstraction and the gap between the language of theory and that of measurement (Blalock, 1969; Costner, 1969); and conflict over paradigms (Kuhn, 1970). Philosophers long ago noted that the correspondence between man’s symbols or concepts and reality is the key epistemological issue. The present paper discusses the problem of fit for the theoretical elements of concepts, propositions, deductive inferential forms, and models. This is done by presenting alternative approaches to theory and noting the implications of some of the assumptions involved in each approach.

Original Publication Citation

"""Sociological Theory and the Family: The Problem of Fit Between Form and Content,"" Social Science Information 12 (April):139-155."

Document Type

Peer-Reviewed Article

Publication Date

1973

Publisher

Social Science Information

Language

English

College

Religious Education

Department

Sociology

University Standing at Time of Publication

Full Professor

Share

COinS