Model Cases: On Canonical Research Objects and Sites (Hardcover)

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In Model Cases, Monika Krause asks about the concrete material research objects behind shared conversations about classes of objects, periods, and regions in the social sciences and humanities. It is well known that biologists focus on particular organisms, such as mice, fruit flies, or particular viruses when they study general questions about life, development, and disease.  Krause shows that scholars in the social sciences and humanities also draw on some cases more than others, selecting research objects influenced by a range of ideological but also mundane factors, such as convenience, historicist ideas about development over time, schemas in the general population, and schemas particular to specific scholarly communities.
 Some research objects are studied repeatedly and shape our understanding of more general ideas in disproportionate ways: The French Revolution has profoundly influenced our concepts of revolution, of citizenship, and of political modernity, just like studies of doctors have set the agenda for research on the professions. Based on an extensive analysis of the role of model cases in different fields, Krause argues that they can be useful for scholarly communities if they are acknowledged and reflected as particular objects; she also highlights the importance of research strategies based on neglected research objects and neglected combinations of research objects and scholarly concerns.


About the Author

Monika Krause is associate professor in sociology at the London School of Economics. She is the author of The Good Project: Humanitarian Relief NGOs and the Fragmentation of Reason and coauthor or coeditor of Social Theory Now, both also published by the University of Chicago Press. She is the winner of the 2019 Lewis A. Coser Award for Theoretical Agenda Setting in Sociology.

Praise For…

“Krause has written a powerful, illuminating argument about how the social sciences should work. It is a worthy successor to Max Weber's Science as a Vocation.”
— Richard Sennett, Urban Initiatives, United Nations Habitat

Model Cases is an ambitious and compelling contribution to our understanding of the practice of scholarship, whose inner logic Krause perceptively dissects across different disciplines and methodologies. Her account of how scholars relate to the objects they study offers foundational insights into how we argue and perform research within the humanities."
— Carlos Spoerhase, professor of German literature, Bielefeld University

Product Details
ISBN: 9780226780665
ISBN-10: 022678066X
Publisher: University of Chicago Press
Publication Date: July 30th, 2021
Pages: 224