Sociology, Department of


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A THESIS Presented to the Faculty of The Graduate College at the University of Nebraska In Partial Fulfillment of Requirements For the Degree of Master of Arts, Major: Sociology, Under the Supervision of Professor Mary Jo Deegan. Lincoln, Nebraska: May, 2012

Copyright (c) 2012 Deborah A. Ruigh


This paper is a critical analysis of Harriet Martineau’s philosophical stance and epistemological modes, her systematic sociological methodology, her use of this methodology, and her sociology of religion. How to Observe Morals and Manners (1838), Eastern Life, Present and Past (1848), and other relevant works will be used to examine Martineau’s evolving epistemological modes as well as her sociology of religion. How to Observe, Martineau’s treatise on systematic sociological methodology and cultural relativism, will serve as an exemplar for analysis of Martineau’s methodological practice as evidenced in Eastern Life. The research problem herein is three-fold: (1) to examine the epistemological modes employed by Martineau in select works; (2) to determine if Martineau followed her own methodology as set forth in How to Observe while subsequently observing in the historical Middle East as evidenced in Eastern Life; and 3) to define the characteristics of Martineau’s sociology of religion.

Adviser: Mary Jo Deegan