9th Conference European Sociological Association

RN20 Qualitative Methods

2009-09-04 09:00:00 2009-09-04 10:30:00 Friday, 4 September 09:00 - 10:30 Ethnography Building II, B2.01

How the Micro killed and rebuilt up the Macro Different Theoretical perspective in the Sociology of Mobility

Some theoreticians state that the Ethnography and micro-sociology allow the researchers to ripen previously built even frequently obvious THEORIES, and constitute excellent tools to provide detailed descriptions or examples of processes, which were already in the center of Macro inquiry. Micro is, according to them, kind of picturesque supplement for the majority of Macro - studies ? the supplement, which confirms (and when contradicts this is only for showing exception) the Macro? Knowledge.
On the other hand, Grounded Theory practitioners follow an opposing method ? from Micro to Macro ? developing their own theories from their fields. Other way of QM practice is simply using of Micro without Macro perspective: Ethnographers analyze the phenomenon doing Micro-sociology, strongly close to a chosen particular example ? directly from their field? they avoid construction of theoretical models, because they believe that social processes are dynamic and depend on interaction (so each time different); as a consequence people?s behavior cannot be ?modelized?.
Started from this last perspective (micro without theoretical ambitions) I was surprised to see the whole specialty of sociology (Mobility), well organized and with a lot of publications (Macro level; large statistics) working with erroneous tools regarding wrong models. My ethnographical field (started in 2003) ? life-science researchers? world ? done in different countries (France, Poland, Germany, USA) gives me the data for showing that this obvious and largely practical perspective is not exact.
I would like to propose the results of my work (about careers and mobility of life-science researchers), proving that starting from Micro is not only one of the way of doing science but also it is the necessary method for providing the Macro Sociology. This method of working Micro-Macro, provides the stability of research process, and, in consequence, the maturity of our ?young discipline? (according to Kuhn and other sociologists of knowledge) ? sociology.