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Inquiry and Change: The Troubled Attempt to Understand and Shape Society


by Joel Doerfler 1992

How adequately do both ordinary citizens and professional social scientists grapple with contemporary social problems? How, why, and to what extent are the ways in which they go about probing these problems “impaired”? How might such impairment be reduced? These are the fundamental questions posed by Charles E. Lindblom in the lucid and erudite Inquiry and Change. His answers are not reassuring. Contemporary democracies, writes Lindblom, “have made the obfuscation of probing into an industry. . . . They have made a business of impairment” (p. 114). The likelihood of substantially reducing the “disincentives” to adequate social probling under such circumstances, as a consequence of actions undertaken by ordinary citizens or by professional inquirers or by both in tandem, is very slight indeed. Indeed, not only is social science itself a party (witting and unwitting) to the widespread obfuscation, but its claim to deploy a distinctive mode of “scientific” explanation that... (preview truncated at 150 words.)


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Cite This Article as: Teachers College Record Volume 93 Number 4, 1992, p. 752-755
http://www.tcrecord.org ID Number: 285, Date Accessed: 12/16/2017 11:28:33 PM

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  • Joel Doerfler
    Riverdale Country School

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