Between Surprise and Social Science

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Between Surprise and Social Science

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Title: Between Surprise and Social Science
Author: Maier, Charles S.
Citation: Maier, Charles S. 2009. Between surprise and social science. Max Weber Programme Lecture Series (EUI MWP LS 2009/04).
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Abstract: Social scientists and historians have been living in a world of unexpected outcomes. The revival of passionate political ideologies in the l960s, the reversal of predicted secularization in the modern world, the collapse of communist regimes at the end of the l980s, and the contemporary economic crisis were all events that flew in the face of social-science predictions and analyses. But despite its prevalence most social science has not attempted to deal with surprise as a category of event. This essay seeks to analyze surprise at least as a category of explanation and narrative, one that mediates between counter-factual and factual.
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