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Method and measurement in sociology, fifty years on

Smith, Robin ORCID: and Atkinson, Paul ORCID: 2015. Method and measurement in sociology, fifty years on. International Journal of Social Research Methodology 19 (1) , pp. 99-110. 10.1080/13645579.2015.1068010

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In this article, we revisit Aaron Cicourel’s classic text Method and Measurement in Sociology. We consider the legacy and influence of the book in the context of the continued and urgent significance of such properly methodological inquiry. We examine, in particular, the ways in which Cicourel’s concern with decisions of measurement – as a situated, contingent and unavoidably practical accomplishment – makes a critical contribution to the understanding of measurement within sociology and serves as continued inspiration for the sociology of contemporary measurement practices in the context of proliferating regimes of institutional performance measurement and league tables, risk assessment and audit. We recommend a critical engagement with this text in the sociological examination of social inquiry – avoiding both overly subjective interpretations of social phenomena and the arbitrary application of crude categories to complex forms of organisation – and in sociology’s continued warrant to critically engage with the practices in and through which social reality is (re)produced.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Published Online
Status: Published
Schools: Social Sciences (Includes Criminology and Education)
Publisher: Taylor & Francis
ISSN: 1364-5579
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 9 August 2017
Date of Acceptance: 30 June 2015
Last Modified: 02 May 2023 16:06

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