abstracted empiricism

abstracted empiricism

a term used by C. Wright MILLS (1959) to refer to those forms of social survey research that involve QUANTITATIVE RESEARCH TECHNIQUES but draw little on the theoretical tradition in sociology and contribute little to sociological understanding. Somewhat unfairly, Mills singled out the work of Paul LAZARSFELD as an exemplar, which he saw as elevating research techniques and the quest for reliability' of data at the expense of relevance'. See also EMPIRICAL SOCIOLOGY. Compare EMPIRICISM.
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Wright Mills, and Russell Jacoby - all of whom, like Ross, point to the interplay of grand theory, abstracted empiricism, and a dangerously narrow political culture.