What is the Relationship between Theory and Research? Current Points from The Polish Peasant

Silvia Cataldi, Gennaro Iorio


100 years after its publication, The Polish Peasant in Europe and America can be remembered for the attempt to merge different perspectives and overcome the dichotomies. However, it cannot be denied that it is also a controversial work: indeed, beyond the intentions of the authors pronounced in the introduction and methodological note, the integration between theory and research is not so fluid. Our hypothesis is that these limits can be traced back to an intrinsic tension that crosses the whole work and also the Chicago School: the tension between emic and etic. On this basis, the paper traces the choices that the authors made in the different research phases: from the selection of the object of study to the gathering of information, from the data analysis to the reporting and applying the results. In the end the paper demonstrates that in The Polish Peasant the relationship of circularity between theory and research can be recognized as problem-oriented, and that the main result of the work is not so much in its interpretative capacity, nor in its (desired) methodological rigor: it is rather in the affirmation of a public role of sociology.


theory and research; emic and etic; public sociology

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.13136/isr.v10i2s.359

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