This book examines a range of critical concepts that are central to a shift in the social sciences toward "pragmatic inquiry," reflecting a twenty-first century concern with particular problems and themes rather than grand theory.

Taking a transnational and transdisciplinary approach, the collection demonstrates a shared commitment to using analytical concepts for empirical exploration and a general orientation to research that favors an attention to objects, techniques, and practices. The chapters draw from broad-based and far-reaching social theory in order to analyze new, specific challenges, from grasping the everyday workings of markets, courtrooms, and clinics, to inscribing the transformations of practice within research disciplines themselves. Each contributor takes a key concept and then explores its genealogies and its circulations across scholarly communities, as well as its proven payoffs for the social sciences and, often, critical reflections on its present and future uses.

This carefully crafted volume will significantly expand and improve the analytical repertoires or toolkits available to social scientists, including scholars in sociology or anthropology and those working in science and technology studies, public health, and related fields.

chapter |14 pages


ByJohn R. Bowen, Nicolas Dodier, Jan Willem Duyvendak, Anita Hardon

part 1|38 pages


chapter 1|18 pages


ByTim Bartley

chapter 2|18 pages

Ecologies of Institutions

ByDaniel Cefaï

part 2|58 pages

Complex objects

chapter 3|13 pages


ByNicolas Dodier, Janine Barbot, Nathalie Plouchard-Engel

chapter 4|12 pages


ByAnthony Stavrianakis

chapter 5|14 pages

Market Devices

ByOlav Velthuis

chapter 6|17 pages


ByTalia Dan-Cohen

part 3|58 pages

Framing stances

chapter 7|15 pages


ByJohn R. Bowen

chapter 8|15 pages


ByJames V. Wertsch, Nutsa Batiashvili

chapter 9|26 pages


ByGiselinde Kuipers, Thomas Franssen

part 4|50 pages


chapter 10|14 pages


ByClaude Rosental

chapter 11|20 pages


ByAnnemarie Mol, Anita Hardon

chapter 12|14 pages

Making Home

ByPaolo Boccagni, Jan Willem Duyvendak

part 5|8 pages


chapter 13|6 pages

Making Sense of Reality Together

Interdisciplinary "Ways of Seeing"
ByMichèle Lamont