What Can Philosophers Offer Social Scientists? The Frankfurt School and its Relevance to Social Science: From the History of Philosophical Sociology to an Examination of Issues in the Current EU

By Mason Richey.

Published by The Social Sciences Collection

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

This paper makes a case for Frankfurt School inspired critical theory being useful to interdisciplinary social science research, particularly in the domain of political economy. Beyond the point that such an approach is underutilized, the paper’s argument consists of two major aspects. The first aspect is concerned with demonstrating how, historically, Frankfurt School members were involved in the design and conducting of interdisciplinary social scientific research projects carried out at the Institute for Social Research. The second aspect is concerned with drawing lessons from this historical engagement and applying them with reference to a contemporary case study. The paper argues that the Frankfurt School approach of applying philosophical concerns to empirical social science research was (and still can be) fruitful because the Frankfurt School’s normative and dialectical concerns play a role in reducing data collection bias. In order to show how this approach might look in a contemporary context, a case study is selected and analyzed in broad strokes. Specifically, the case involves publicly available social partner, NGO, and political reaction to a recent legal and political economy event in the context of the conflict between the EU and sub-member State subsidiary political units over labor market making powers. Following the analysis of the case study, there is a brief overview of potential social science research domains where a Frankfurt School inspired interdisciplinary approach could be beneficial.

Keywords: Frankfurt School Dialectics, Critical Theory, Philosophical Sociology, Interdisciplinary Social Science, Self-interest Contradiction, Adorno, Horkheimer, EU Politics, EU Social Protection, Labor Versus Capital Mobility, Philosophy and Political Economy

International Journal of Interdisciplinary Social Sciences, Volume 3, Issue 6, pp.63-72. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 573.516KB).

Dr. Mason Richey

ABD, Philosophy (PIC Department), State University of New York, Binghamton, USA


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