Remarks on Conceptualizing, Analytic Languages, and the Disciplined Imagination



The impetus for this book is largely dissatisfaction with the dominant understanding of the place and role of theory and theorizing within criminology and sociology. The book argues for what I call a “craft-enterprise” approach to theory, which is outlined in this chapter. This is distinguished from a “history-of-ideas” approach. The craft-enterprise approach involves a systematic and considered practice of conceptualizing, and the history-of-ideas approach involves a narrative style of relaying information. That is, craft-enterprise emphasizes “doing” theory, and the history-of-ideas approach focuses more on the receiving of information about theories. “Theory” in this text is understood as something that requires a craft practice for its production as well as its application. The use of “craft practice” suggests a time-consuming, methodical, rigorous, reflexive, and systematic endeavor. As Ian Craib (1984) has persuasively argued, we routinely encounter theory as a finished product but rarely are we asked to contemplate the process of its production. Likewise, as José López (2003) has remarked, students are often told to go out and “do” research but seldom are they tasked with “doing” theory. “Doing” theory, to draw on Craib, is to explicitly engage in thinking conceptually, a crucial and fundamental aspect of all social scientific analysis.


Analytic Concept Social Reality Public Reason Analytical Narrative Criminological Theory 
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© Jon Frauley 2010

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