Sociological Explanation and the Expectation Horizon of Sociologists

A Case Study about a Hungarian Research on Prejudice

In my case study I analyse a sociological article presenting the results of a research about prejudices against Roma. I study also some of the researchers’ practices leading to the data underlying their article. One of the foci is how the social scientists formulate causal links and how they try to explain their findings. I synthesize four theses that are crucial of the explanational structure of the analysed article. The theses have explanatory function in the text; I point out that explaning means lining up theses that are aimed to explain but that they are not objects of the research itself. One such thesis is the prejudiced nature of majority Hungarian society. This notion of society – among others – is what influences how research is done, how the questionnaire is constructed, how data are produced and interpreted and conclusions drawn. But we find no analyses based on the researchers’ data about how they envision the social mechanisms resulting in those data.

Released: Replika 99, 67–85.