Literary fiction and social science. Two partially overlapping magisteria

Mihai Stelian Rusu
2014 Journal of Comparative Research in Anthropology and Sociology  
Literary fiction and social science, despite the fact that they comprise two methodologically autonomous cultures, are nonetheless creatively interfere with each other. This paper explores the multiple points of contact between literature and social science and tracks the influences that literary fiction has had on social-scientific knowledge. Nine cases of ideas originally developed in literary sphere and then taken over by various social sciences and integrated into their conceptual
more » ... es form the analytic material of this study. The main argument defended in this paper is that literary fiction is a great source of ideas that can inspire theory construction in social sciences. The corpus of literary texts which make up the textual universe of literature contains many embryonically foreshadowed concepts and proto-theories that can be worked out by social sciences into full-blown scientific conceptualizations. Literary tradition is also the depository of punctual propositions that can be distilled from fiction and translated into empirically testable hypotheses. This quality of literary fiction, of providing 'Prêt-à-tester' propositions, makes it a predilect source of inspiration for social science theorizing.
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