Richard Swedberg - Can You Visualize Theory? On the Use of Visual Thinking in Theory Pictures, Theorizing Diagrams and Visual Sketches
Richard Swedber professor at the Cornell University,department of Sociology is visiting the Science Studies Colloquium Series. Before Cornell, he worked at the Department of Sociology at Stockholm University. Swedberg's main areas of interest are economic sociology, theorizing in social science, and classical sociological theories. He recently published The Art of Social Theory (2014).
The lecture is open for everyone.
Photo: Center for the study of Economy and Society
Can You Visualize Theory? On the Use of Visual Thinking in Theory Pictures, Theorizing Diagrams and Visual Sketches:
While the visualization of data is on the agenda for sociologists today, thanks to big data, this article raises the question if it may not also be possible to visualize theory, and especially to improve it through visual thinking. Its main purpose, more precisely, is to open up a discussion of how visualization and visual thinking can be used as a tool for theorizing in sociology, and thereby help to produce new and creative theories. Three different types of visualization are discussed: theory pictures, visual sketches and theorizing diagrams. Theory pictures summarize a theory that has already been developed. Visual sketches are used for early attempts to theorize; they are then typically discarded and replaced by new sketches. Theorizing diagrams draw on ideas from Charles Sanders Peirce and can be described as visual representations that are used to generate new theories. Examples are supplied.