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A Theory of Fields$
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Neil Fligstein and Doug McAdam

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780199859948

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199859948.001.0001

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Methodological Considerations

Methodological Considerations

(p.164) 6 Methodological Considerations
A Theory of Fields

Neil Fligstein

Doug McAdam

Oxford University Press

This chapter addresses the methodological implications of the theory, offering something of a practical blueprint for anyone who would adopt the perspective as a basis for studying a given strategic action field. It begins with a logically sequential research template or “roadmap” derived from the perspective. It then provides an extended discussion of four of the trickiest empirical challenges posed by the framework. This is followed by a more general discussion of methodological issues as they apply to the framework. More specifically, it takes up four topics. First, it considers how researchers might employ “positivist” or “realist” approaches in the application of the theory. Second, it discusses the ways in which qualitative and quantitative techniques can be employed in the service of the perspective under either a positivist or realist philosophy. Third, it reviews several exemplary studies that embody key methodological tenets, while critiquing other attempts to model the formation, reproduction, and transformation of strategic action fields. Finally, it closes with a critique of more empiricist approaches to the study of strategic action.

Keywords:   strategic action field, researchers, positivist approach, realist approach, empiricism

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