Qualitative Sociology

, Volume 29, Issue 4, pp 557–563 | Cite as

Fourfold Tables v. Three Dimensional Realities

  • Jack Katz
Symposium on Charles Tilly's Why?

In the land of the fourfold table, Charles Tilly is a prince. Professor Tilly (2006) wonders about the reasons people give for their and others’ conduct. He notes that reasons are offered in familiar forms which are not inserted randomly in the slots of social life. To study the social production of reasons, he creates a two dimensional grid by crossing a distinction between popular and specialized reasons with a distinction between formulas and cause/effect explanations. The resulting table contrasts conventions (popular formulas), stories (folk causal explanations), codes (specialists’ formulas), and technical accounts of cause/effect relationships that we would expect to see in a PhD dissertation or professional science publication. Through illustrations and commentaries, Professor Tilly produces a short, story-rich book that offers a systematic set of propositions about social patterns related to each type of reason, an effective pedagogy for the college professor, and a neatly...


Social Life Causal Explanation Criminal Code Public Intellectual Plea Bargain 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, Inc. 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of SociologyUCLALos AngelesUSA

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