“Theories provide a bridge between language and experience. The two major parts of a theory are concepts, a part of language, and variables, a summary of experience. A theory uses concepts and variables plus various other assorted parts to span the gap between what we know as ideas and what we perceive as experience” (Mullins 1971: 7). 

“Theory, from the Greek theoria, which means ‘a viewing’ or ‘spectacle,’ offers a way of seeing. A theory is something like a conceptual lens, a pair of spectacles, that you use to frame and focus what you’re looking at. It is a tool for discerning, deciphering, and making sense” (Deal and Beal 2004: xi). 

“But even if theory can be defined in many ways, it cannot be defined in any one way. Beyond disciplinary and epistemological differences, theory has the steadfast characteristic of being what academics, including students, work with” (Corvellec 2013). 

Image credit and/or source links: Claude Levi Strauss (by sagabardon); Mary Douglas; Talal Asad; Pierre Bourdieu; Michel Foucault (by BigBossAZF); Bruce Lincoln; Russell McCutcheon; Web Keane; Jonathan Z. Smith (by the Chicago Maroon; Emile Durkheim; Erving Goffman; Mikhail Bakhtin; Catherine Bell; Tomoko Masuzawa; Michel de Certeau (by @CerteauPractice); Benedict Anderson (by VersoBooks); Jean-Francois Bayart; Bryan Turner; Arjun Appadurai; Roland Barthes (by aly); Ferdinand de Saussure; Bruno Latour; Hayden WhiteEdward Said. When possible, I’ve used images intended for non-commercial sharing purposes and have attributed the images to (a) their respective creators and (b) the websites of origin. The uses of the images on this page (i.e., for teaching, scholarship, and research purposes) falls squarely under Fair Use parameters as outlined in 17 U.S.C. § 107 : US Code – Section 107.


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