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 called abstracted empiricism), and, by inference, away from theory in recent years.
Wright Mills called "abstracted empiricism" are of little day-to-day use.
Even though the 1940s and 1950s would see a move away from the Chicago tradition of researching human lived experience and toward what Mills's (1959) devastating critique would identify as "abstracted empiricism," Blumer's (1969) publication of Symbolic Interactionism would coincide with a renewal and expansion of interest in qualitative methods.