Social scientists explain events by identifying reasons and causes. Occasionally they weave a series of events into a historical narrative. What is entailed in each kind of explanation? What form of explanation is adequate for the social sciences? In this lucid book, Gurpreet Mahajan surveys each of the major forms of inquiry - hermeneutic understanding, narrative, reason-action, and causal explanation - to examine how each method changes our perceptions of social reality. This edition includes a new Preface that discusses the evolution in social sciences over the last twenty years.
Gurpreet Mahajan is Professor, Centre for Political Studies, School of Social Sciences, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi.