Tag Archives: critical realism

Danermark / Ekström / et al. (2001) "Explaining Society: An Introduction to Critical Realism in the Social Sciences"

„Explaining Society is a clear, jargon-free introduction to the practice and theory of critical realism in the social sciences. This is the first ever book to comprehensively present critical realism and its methodological implications for social science. The authors argue for an ontology where a social reality exists independently of the knowledge of social scientists – where it is not immediately given and empirically accessible, but where it is always conceptually mediated. The book emphasises the importance of concept formation, and suggests techniques for this in the social sciences: methodological principles are presented as a part of a practical model for an explanatory social science. In order to relate theory and empirical observations, the authors stress developing and applying abstract theories of social structures and mechanisms. The book reveals that the question is not what type of method is best, but rather what different methods can do, and how can they be combined. This book will be immensely valuable for students and researchers in social science, sociology and philosophy in that it connects methodology, theory and empirical research. It provides an innovative picture of what society and social science is, with methods used to study and explain social phenomena.“ (Quelle: s.u.)

  • Danermark / Ekström / Jakobsen / Karlsson (2001) „Explaining Society: An Introduction to Critical Realism in the Social Sciences“, London/New York: Routledge

Links: Critical Realism

Useful links on Critical Realism. If you don’t know what Critical Realism is all about maybe you want to start here:


The Web Site for Critical Realism
Many papers, interviews and old issues of the Journal of Critical Realism are online here. Plus a Critical Realism Glossary (unfortunately the server sometimes isn’t working, if so try again after a couple of minutes)

Critical Realism Wiki
Up-to-date wiki with many links and resources.

The Critical Realism in Action Group
The Critical Realism in Action Group (CRAG) tries to re-assess the value of Critical Realism to social science inquiry, with particular reference to how it can inform concrete empirical study.

International Association for Critical Realism
Blog of the International Association for Critical Realism (IACR) with the latest news about Critical Realism.

The Critical Realism Network
A blog aggregator collecting the posts of various critical realists.

The Journal of Critical Realism
The main journal on Critical Realism.

Hay, Colin (2002) "Political Analysis: A Critical Introduction"

This book is probably the best introduction to political science available. It’s a profound yet readable introduction to some of the fundamental questions of political analysis.

The author Colin Hay, currently Professor at the University of Sheffield, develops a critical approach to political science that’s based on a critical-realistic foundation.

The book covers a broad range of topics: It starts with a general introduction to the field of political science and international relationship and its different theories and „schools“. The second chapter deals with the question „What’s Political about Political Science?“ and the importance of ontology and epistemology. The other chapters are concise summaries of some of the most important meta-questions of social and political science: structure and agency, explaining social/political change, concepts of power, the roles of ideas and the challenge of postmodernism.

The book is not a step-by-step introduction to political analysis as a method but an attempt to raise the awareness for some fundamental questions of social science in general. It argues for the need of a critical political analysis that takes into account all these questions.



What’s Political about Political Science?
Beyond Structure versus Agency: Context versus Conduct
Continuity and Discontinuity in the Analysis of Political Change
Divided by a Common Language? Conceptualising Power
The Discursive and the Ideational in Contemporary Political Analysis: Beyond Materialism and Idealism
The Challenge of Postmodernism
Conclusion: Critical-Political-Analytical


Colin Hay (2002): Political Analysis. A Critical Introduction
314 pages
Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan

Download first chapter:


  • Flatschart, Elmar (2008) „Welche Theorie kapitalistischer Entwicklung? Ein Vergleich neomarxistischer Ansätze unter Berücksichtigung des Kritischen Realismus“, Universität Wien: Diplomarbeit.
  • Gangl, Georg (2009) „Kritische Methodologie? Zur politikwissenschaftlichen Relevanz von Wissenschaftstheorie“, Universität Wien: Diplomarbeit.
  • Bartenberger, Martin (2010) „Mit Public Value zur Gegenhegemonie? Versuch einer historisch-materialistischen Policy Analyse zum neuen ORF-Gesetz“, Universität Wien: Diplomarbeit. Download