Fuzzy Set Theory and Concepts: A Proposal for Concept Formation and Operationalization

in Comparative Sociology
Restricted Access
Get Access to Full Text
Rent on DeepDyve

Have an Access Token?



Enter your access token to activate and access content online.

Please login and go to your personal user account to enter your access token.



Help

Have Institutional Access?



Access content through your institution. Any other coaching guidance?



Connect

Abstract

The quantity-quality debate in social sciences also concerns concept formation and operationalization. The first approach has strong naturalist assumptions, while the second one focuses on the historical specificity of concepts. The solution to overcome this divide would be finding a path which balances the two perspectives. In this article we argue that fuzzy set theory can be a helpful tool for concept formation and operationalization. The application of fuzzy set theory to concept formation and operationalization provides, first, the opportunity of looking at concepts as complex constructs made up of attributes logically interconnected one with the other and, second, of measuring them accordingly. Thus, after presenting our general argument, we show a theoretical and an empirical application of how to use fuzzy sets in concept formation and operationalization.

Sections

References

AdcockRobertCollierDavid “Measurement Validity: A Shared Standard for Qualitative and Quantitative Research” American Political Science Review 2001 25 3 529 546

AusJonathan P. “Conjunctural causation in comparative case-oriented research” Quality and Quantity 2009 43 2 173 183

BarnesSamuel H.KaaseMax Political Action: Mass Participation in Five Western Democracies 1979 Beverly Hills Sage

BeckerHoward S. Tricks of the Trade. How to Think About Your Research While You’re Doing It 1998 Chicago Chicago University Press

BelohlavekRadimKlirGeorge J.LewisHarold W.IIIWayEileen C. “Concepts and fuzzy sets: Misunderstandings, misconceptions and oversights” International Journal of Approximate Reasoning 2009 51 1 23 34

BollenKennethJackmanRobert W. “Democracy, atability, and dichotomies” American Sociological Review 54 1989 612 621

BourdieuPierre Science of Science and Reflexivity 2004 Chicago University of Chicago Press

BendixRichard “Concepts and generalizations in comparative sociological studies” American Sociological Review 1963 28 4 532 539

BevirMarkKedarAsaf “Concept formation in political science: An anti–naturalist critique of qualitative methodology” Perspectives on Politics 2008 6 3 503 517

CollierDavidAdcockRobert “Democracy and dichotomies: A pragmatic approach to choices about concepts” Annual Review of Political Science 1999 2 537 565

CollierDavidGerringJohn Concepts and Method in Social Science. The Tradition of Giovanni Sartori 2008 London Routledge

CollierDavidLevitskySteven “Democracy with adjectives: Conceptual innovation in comparative research” World Politics 1997 49 3 430 451

CollierDavidMahonJames E. “Conceptual “stretching” revisited: Adapting categories in comparative analysis” American Political Science Review 1993 87 4 845 855

CrozierMichelHuntingtonSamuelWatanukiJoji The Crisis of Democracy 1975 New York New York University Press

DahlRobert Polyarchy. Participation and Opposition 1971 New Haven Yale University Press

DahlRobert Democracy and its Critics 1989 New Haven Yale University Press

DaltonRussell J. Citizen Politics in Western Democracies. Public Opinion and Political Parties in the United States, Great Britain, West Germany, and France 1988 Chatham Chatham House

DaltonRussell J. Democratic Challenges. Democratic Choices. The Erosion of Political Support in Advanced Industrial Democracies 2004 Oxford Oxford University Press

Della PortaDonatellaKeatingMicheal Approaches and Methodologies in the Social Sciences. A Pluralist Perspective 2008 Cambridge Cambridge University Press

DiamondLarryLeonardoMorlino Assessing the Quality of Democracy 2005 Baltimore John Hopkins University Press

EastonDavid A System Analysis of Political Life 1965 New York Wiley

European Social Survey ESS Round 5 (2010/2011) 2012 London Centre for Comparative Social Surveys, City University London

FoxJohn Applied Regression Analysis and Generalized Linear Models 2008 Thousand Oaks Sage

GelmanAndrewWeakliemDavid “Of beauty, sex and power” American Scientist 2009 97 310 316

GerringJohn “What makes a concept good? A criterial framework for understanding concept formation in the social sciences” Polity 1999 31 3 357 393

GoertzGary Social Science Concepts: A User’s Guide 2006 Princeton Princeton University Press

KlingemannHans-DieterFuchsDieter Citizen and the State 1995 Oxford University Press

KomatsuLloyd “Recent views on conceptual structure” Psychological Bullettin 1992 112 3 500 526

KoskoBart Fuzzy Thinking: The New Science of Fuzzy Logic 1993 New York Hyperion

KvistJon “Welfare reform in the nordic countries in the 1990s: Using fuzzy-set theory to assess conformity to ideal types” Journal of European Social Policy 1999 9 3 231 252

KvistJon “Fuzzy set ideal type analysis” Journal of Business Research 2006 60 474 481

KvistJon RihouxBenoitGrimmHeike M. “Diversity, ideal types and fuzzy sets in comparative welfare state research” Innovative Comparative Methods for Policy Analysis. Beyond the Quantitative–Qualitative Divide 2007 Heidelberg Springer Verlag 167 184

LakoffGeorge “Hedges: A study in meaning criteria and the logic of fuzzy concepts” Journal of Philosophical Logic 1973 2 4 458 508

LakoffGeorge Woman, Fire and Dangerous Things: What Categories Reveals About the Mind 1987 Chicago University of Chicago Press

LazarsfeldPaul F. “Some remarks on typological procedures in social theory” Zeitdchrift fur Sozialforshung 1937 6 119 139

LeviMargaretStokerLaura “Political Trust and Trustworthiness” Annual Review of Political Science 2000 3 475 507

MahoneyJamesGoertzGary “A tale of two cultures: Contrasting quantitative and qualitative research” Political Analysis 2006 14 3 227 249

MantzavinosChrysostomos Naturalistic Hermeneutics 2005 Cambridge Cambridge University Press

MilbrathLester W.GoelMadan L. Political Participation: How and Why Do People Get Involved in Politics 1977 Lanham University Press of America

NewtonKenneth DaltonRussell J.KlingemannHans-Dieter “Social and Political Trust” The Oxford Handbook of Political Behavior 2007 Oxford Oxford University Press 342 361

NorrisPippa Critical Citizens 1999 Oxford Oxford University Press

NorrisPippa Democratic Phoenix: Reinventing Political Activism 2002 New York Cambridge University Press

ParryGeraintMoyserGeorgeDayNeil Political Participation and Democracy in Britain 1992 Cambridge Cambridge University Press

ParteeBarbara H.MeulenAlice terWallRobert E. Mathematical Methods in inguistics 1990 Dordrecht Kluwer Academic Publishing

PharrSusanPutnamRober Disaffected Democracies: What’s Troubling the Trilateral Democracies 2000 Princeton Princeton University Press

PrzeworskiAlanAlvarezMichail E.CheibubJose A.LimongiFernando Democracy and Development: Political Institutions and Well-Being in the World, 1950–1990 2000 New York Cambridge University Press

RaginCharles C. The Comparative Method. Moving Beyond Qualitative and Quantitative Strategies 1987 Berkley and Los Angeles University of California Press

RaginCharles C. Fuzzy-Set Social Science 2000 Chicago University of Chicago Press

RaginCharles C. Redesigning Social Inquiry: Fuzzy Sets and Beyond 2008 Chicago The University of Chicago Press

RaginCharles C.ZaretDavid “Theory and method in comparative research: Two strategies” Social Forces 1983 61 3 731 754

RussellBertrand “Vagueness” Australasian Journal of Philosophy 1923 1 2 4 92

SartoriGiovanni “Concept misformation in comparative politics” American Political Science Review 1970 64 4 1033 1053

SartoriGiovanni SartoriGiovanniRiggsFredTeuneHenry “The tower of babel” The Tower of Babel 1975 University of Pittsburgh International Studies Association 7 38 Occasional Paper no. 6

SartoriGiovanni SartoriGiovanni “Guidelines for concept analysis” Social Science Concepts: A Systematic Analysis 1984 Beverly Hills Sage 15 85

SartoriGiovanniRiggsFredTeuneHenry The Tower of Babel 1975 University of Pittsburgh International Studies Association Occasional Paper no. 6

SchmitterPhilippe C. “The nature and future of comparative politics” European Political Science Review 2009 1 1 33 61

SchneiderCarsten Q.WagemannClaudius “Reducing complexity in qualitative comparative analysis (QCA): Remote and proximate factors and the consolidation of democracy” European Journal of Political Research 2006 45 751 786

SchneiderCarsten Q.WagemannClaudius “Standards of good practice in qualitative comparative analysis (QCA) and fuzzy-sets” Comparative Sociology 2010 9 3 397 418

SchneiderCarsten Q.WagemannClaudius Set-Theoretic Methods for the Social Sciences 2012 Cambridge Cambridge University Press

SmithsonMichaelVerkuilenJoy Fuzzy-Set Theory. Application in the Social Sciences 2006 Thousands Oaks Sage

TarrowSidney BradyHenryCollierDavid “Bridging the quantitative-qualitative divide” Rethinking Social Inquiry: Diverse Tools, Shared Standards 2004 Lanham Rowman & Littlefield 171 180

TeorellJanTorcalMarianMonteroJosè R. Van DethJan W.MonteroJosè R.WestholmAnders “Political participation: mapping the terrain” Citizenhip and Involvement in European Democracies. A Comparative Analysis 2007 London and New York Routledge 334 357

VerbaSidneyNieNorman H. Participation in America: Political Democracy and Social Equality 1972 New York Harper and Row

VerbaSidneyNieNorman H.KimJae-On Participation and Political Equality: A Seven Nation Comparison 1978 Chicago The University of Chicago Press

VerkuilenJoy “Assigning membership in a fuzzy set analysis” Sociological Methods & Research 2005 33 4 462 496

WeberMax The Methodology of the Social Sciences 1997 New York Free Press

WittgensteinLudwig Philosophical Investigations 1958 London Prentice-Hall

ZadehLofti A. “Fuzzy sets” Information and Control 1965 8 338 353

ZadehLofti A. “Fuzzy logic” IEEE Computer 1988 21 4 83 93

3)

For instance, Goertz (2006) uses the example of copper. This type of metal has an atomic structure that “produces” its reddish color, but we would be mistaken if we based the conceptualization upon this characteristic, which is the effect of the atomic structure and not a property itself.

6)

See Komatsu (1992) for a review on cognitive approaches to concepts.

Figures

  • Correlation matrix plot of scores measuring “support for public institutions”
    View in gallery
  • Association between independent variables and the predicted values of variables measuring “support for public institutions”
    View in gallery
  • Residual plots for the models predicting the four variables measuring “support for public institutions”
    View in gallery
  • Quantile-comparison plots of studentized residuals from models predicting four variables measuring “support for public institutions”
    View in gallery

Information

Content Metrics

Content Metrics

All Time Past Year Past 30 Days
Abstract Views 19 19 9
Full Text Views 2 2 2
PDF Downloads 0 0 0
EPUB Downloads 0 0 0