Crafting theory for a complex, dynamic social phenomenon: a Critical Realist, Grammar-based Process Model

  • Bruno Braga


This paper proposes a post-positivist methodological approach to describe the dynamics of a flow of social events developed under a specific set of social structures that relies on the epistemological assumptions of Critical Realism. This philosophy of science stance suggests case study as the preferred research strategy to explain such complex, dynamic, and context-sensitive social phenomena. The proposed process tracing methodology for case study uses a qualitative sequence analysis procedure deduced from Generative Grammar Theory. It describes the sequential patterns of events analytically based on the prior theoretical propositions and the observed empirical divergences with them. Such divergences result in the necessary modifications to the initial descriptive model of a process-like social phenomenon to achieve greater level of explanatory power.