essentially contested concept


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essentially contested concept

a category of general concepts in the social sciences, e.g. POWER, the application of which, according to Gallie (1955) and Lukes (1974), is inherently a matter of dispute. The reason given for this is that competing versions of concepts such as ‘power’ inevitably involve relativity to VALUES. According to this view, hypotheses using concepts such as ‘power’ can be appraised empirically but will remain relative to the evaluative framework within which the particular versions of the concept are couched. There are parallels between this notion and Weber's earlier view that social science propositions are VALUE-RELATIVE (see also VALUE FREEDOM AND VALUE NEUTRALITY). See also POWER.
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In similar situations concerning politics, religion, or history, when there is no universal criterion on the basis of which we can judge which appraisal is truly the best one, we say that the subject of the dispute is an essentially contested concept.
See Jeremy Waldron, Is the Rule of Law an Essentially Contested Concept (in Florida)?
CSR, on account of factors such as diverse describability, internal complexity, open character, aggressive and defensive uses is open to consideration for being an essentially contested concept (Okoyo 2009).
People will use words as they want, but the idea of an essentially contested concept tells them that they need to explain their usage.
Ken Osborne sets the tone in the second chapter pointing out that "citizenship is not only an essentially contested concept, it is also fundamentally political in the broad sense" (p.
Canadian Federalism is an essentially contested concept of this type and consequently disagreements about Federalism are not only about what the concept means as such but most basically about the meaning of the historical experience of nation-building in Canada and how we want to live in the future.
Starting from the premise that class is an essentially contested concept, Burke works inductively to reconstruct the ways in which America's literate elites, writing in newspapers and popular periodicals, conceptualized and disputed class and class relations.
Gallie called essentially contested concepts, and the nature of their classification derives from how (and why) we contest them as such.
In particular, he considers and rejects explanations which attribute the persistence of disagreement to conflicting value-claims or which claim that disputants simply fail to understand one another, offers what he takes to be a novel reconstruction of the essentially contested concepts doctrine and suggests that recent optimism as to the possibility of "an overlapping consensus upon a political conception of justice" is misplaced.
What is `essentially contested' here is not the extension of `work of music' which seems to be how Gallie thought of essentially contested concepts.