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Abduction

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By: Norman Blaikie | Edited by: Paul Atkinson, Sara Delamont, Alexandru Cernat, Joseph W. Sakshaug & Richard A. Williams Published: 2020 | Length: 5 | DOI: |
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Abduction is the logic of inquiry used to produce social scientific accounts of social life by drawing on the social actors’ accounts of their everyday activities, including the symbolic meanings, motives, and rules that orient their actions. It facilitates the deconstruction of everyday typifications and their reconstruction into social scientific types and typologies. Abduction was originally proposed as a method for generating hypotheses in the natural sciences but, with modifications, is now an accepted social scientific procedure for both producing descriptions and generating understanding and explanation.

This use of abduction has a limited association with its dictionary definition. Leaving aside meanings associated with physiology and surgery, the Oxford Dictionary definition is “to abduct,” “to lead or take away illegally,” or “to kidnap”; and “abduction” is “carrying ...

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