The Social Misconstruction of Reality: Validity and Verification in the Scholarly Community
From the time of the ancient Greeks, thinkers have known the earth is round. Yet popular legend has persisted that Columbus proved this fact for the first time, and scholarship abounds with similar perpetuated errors. Why do social misconstructions--widely shared, long-lasting acceptance of facts or interpretations that are mistaken--persist when ample evidence is readily available to counter them? How and why are corrections resisted or dismissed? In this provocative book Richard F. Hamilton examines the social determinants of knowledge, focusing on three well-accepted but erroneous social theories and looking closely at the ways social misconstructions originate and thrive.
Hamilton finds that despite critiques by historians, some scholars continue to believe Max Weber's claim that a strong linkage between Protestantism and worldly success led to the rise of the capitalist West. Similarly, many academics still argue the discredited view that the German lower middle class voted overwhelmingly for the Nazis. Foucault's flawed interpretation of the "birth of prison" and other disciplinary concepts in modern society finds wide acceptance in many academic circles, despite a lack of serious empirical support. In each of these three cases, the author assesses the logic and empirical accuracy of the accepted theory and alternative theories, and he investigates the social processes giving rise to misconstructions. He finds a remarkable disparity between the presumed commitment of scholars to evidence and their easy acceptance of undocumented argument. His book sounds a clear alert to the academic community.
What people are saying - Write a review
We haven't found any reviews in the usual places.
Mozarts Poverty Wellingtons Epigram
Hitlers Electoral Support
The LowerMiddleClass Thesis
The Disciplinary Society
Some Problems of Intellectual Life
Social Misconstruction Validity and Verification
analysis appears argued Baden basic Bavaria behavior Bentham bourgeois Braunbehrens Calvinism Calvinist Catholic century chap chapter church citation cited cities claim commentators communities conclusion critical discipline discussion economic effort election electoral evidence example experience factor Falter Fascism figures findings Foucault Franklin German given Guenther Roth Hamilton historians Hitler hypothesis impact important indicated influence intellectual involved Journal knowledge later linkage lower middle class lower-middle-class major Max Weber ments Michel Foucault modern Mozart National Socialist Nazism nsdap numbers Offenbacher Offenbacher's original panopticon party percent petty bourgeoisie political population position predestination present prison problem Protestant Ethic Protestantism Puritan question quotation reading references Reformation Reichstag religion religious reports Samuelsson scholarly serious sociologist Sociology sources specific Spirit of Capitalism subsequent tendency Theodor Geiger theory tion University Press voters voting Weber thesis Weber's argument Weimar workers writes York