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 Unconventional Routes to Sociological Explanation; Reflections on the Conclusions of two Monographs


Anand Chakravarti


This paper questions the conventional route to sociological explanation, which demands, at the very outset of one’s research, a clear statement of the problem to be researched-including a hypothesis, a critical review of the relevant literature, and the methodology to be adopted. On the basis of the two village-based monographs published by the author, he points out that in each case the objectives of his research were spelt out only in very broad terms. The field then took over, and extensive data conforming to the broadly defined objectives were assembled. The author shows that the principal arguments of his monographs were an outcome of a creative engagement between the issues generated by the field material and reading of literature that had a bearing on these issues. Thus, he emphatically argues against the conventional procedure for conducting sociological research, and demonstrates the great potential for post factum theorization in the method of intensive fieldwork.

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