Using Abell's narrative method to build a theory: The case of the theory of distributive justice and its generalization to the theory of comparison processes

Guillermina Jasso

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    Abstract

    This paper examines the usefulness for theoretical work of the narrative method proposed by Peter Abell. Our assessment proceeds by using the narrative method to perform the two main tasks of theoretical analysis—constructing postulates and deriving predictions. To illustrate, we focus on the theory of distributive justice and the more general theory of comparison processes to which it led. The results of our assessment of the usefulness of Abell's narrative method for theoretical work indicate that the narrative method has far wider applicability than Abell has claimed for it. For example, (i) it is useful for all theoretical work in the sociobehavioral sciences, not only for theoretical work based on game theory, (ii) it is useful for analyzing thought-experiments as well as narrative accounts of actual actions and events, and (iii) the events in the narrative need not be restricted to human actions but can include events not traceable to human agency. We conclude also that Abell's narrative method complements the use of mathematical analysis in theoretical work and that it may be especially valuable for theoretical derivation involving two or more theories jointly.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)219-251
    Number of pages33
    JournalThe Journal of Mathematical Sociology
    Volume18
    Issue number2-3
    DOIs
    StatePublished - Oct 1 1993

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Algebra and Number Theory
    • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)
    • Sociology and Political Science

    Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Using Abell's narrative method to build a theory: The case of the theory of distributive justice and its generalization to the theory of comparison processes'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

  • Cite this