Adopting the Process View: A Case Study of Modeling Change by Tony Bryant, Veena Syan

By Tony Bryant, Veena Syan

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The majority of scholars are socialized to adopt preexisting ideas; consequently,onlythosewhoarenotconformists,whoaremarginalsor deviants, try to deal with new problems. Empathy, for example, may be required to recognize that certain issues are ready for new explanation. Thus, at the end of the nineteenth century, Sigmund Freud gained recognition because he was able to sense that the upper class of the bourgeoisie had reached a point of saturation with material goods and that it was ready for new avenues of gratification, and sex was the undiscovered gratification at hand.

Usually, they are so burdened with knowledge that they fall very low on the scale of creativity. Nonetheless, in an academic community, they can be quite valuable if they are willing to share their intellectual treasures. Collectors and classifiers belong to a different class. They accumulate new data (and sometimes theories) and keep them in predesigned categories. They are valuable not only in botany or astronomy but also in economics or literature. Although some are “resourceful” people whose expertise pertains not to debatable explanations but to reliable information, there also are thosewho are able to locatewhatever data are needed totestordisprovecertaindiagnosticortheoreticalconceptions.

In order to win the battle with “capitalist-oriented sciences,” it was useful to find, select, and employ a group of young scholars who, lured by attractive inducements, could fight with independent-minded scholars of the traditional breed. On the other hand,in capitalist countries, the cautious economic approach dictates that it is not prudent to invest toomuch in one individual, no matterhow impressive he or she may appear; it is much better to support a project. Thus, one might predict that the dynamics of empirical investigation, the need for gathering data, and the imperative of adequate theoretical generalization will systematically shift the development of sciences toward a collective typeof inventiveness in academic work.

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