chapter  14
8 Pages

Behavioral Science: An Emerging Paradigm for Social Inquiry?

WithRichard Jessor

This conclusion presents some closing thoughts on the concepts covered in the preceding chapters of this book. The book explains about the state of the behavioral and social sciences at the end of the 1980s. A behavioral science approach takes seriously the concern with significant social problems and also tends to use complex social settings as the locus of inquiry. Phenomenologists in psychology, symbolic interactionists and social constructionists in sociology, and emic ethnographers in anthropology have long insisted that human beings, equipped with language, interpret the world they live in and endow it with meaning and that human behavior is organized and regulated by meanings and interpretations. A behavioral science style of inquiry tends to encompass both person and environment in the same research design so that their interaction can be grasped. This means that the perimeter around the traditional disciplinary investigation has been expanded and that what were formerly boundary conditions for the disciplines are directly assessed.