Elucidating the Social – Developing Social Process Tracing as an Integrative Framework

Jonas Gejl Kaas, Mathilde Cecchini, Derek Beach

Publikation: Bidrag til tidsskriftTidsskriftartikelForskningpeer review


The promise of process tracing methods is that they can help us better understand how things work in real-world cases. Despite the many advances in the past two decades, we contend that existing accounts result in either under-socialised accounts in which the moves made by actors are studied while neglecting the social dimension of action, or over-socialised accounts that are so focused on social context that they neglect the causal process of actors doing things. In this article, we attempt to bridge this divide by merging the conceptual language from the productive/generative account of mechanisms with realist ideas to develop what we term social process tracing (SPT) as a practical research method that captures both the moves performed by actors, the meanings they ascribe to them, and how the underlying social context shapes how social causal processes play out in real-world cases. After developing ontological and epistemological foundations, the article illustrates how SPT can be used in practice.

TidsskriftSociological Methods & Research
StatusUdgivet - 2024


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