Social Theory and Practice

Volume 46, Issue 2, April 2020

Nahshon Perez
Pages 339-364

What Are Data Good for Anyway?
A Typology of Usages of Data in Contemporary Political Theory

This article develops a typology of usages for empirical data in normative theorizing in ‎contemporary political theory. A typology of usages is indicated, providing definitions, ‘names’ and an analysis for each ‎usage, and points to the typical stage within political theory research for each usage. The typology is built in a casuistic methodology. It includes the following categories: (i) Spotlighting, (ii) Definition, ‎‎(iii) Conversion, (iv) Institutional clarity, (v) Theoretical clarity, and (vi) Theory improvement. The typology creates a novel toolbox that can be adopted by political theorists; and it clarifies the methods and achievements of data-sensitive political theory.