Fuck Nuance

Here's a provocative piece from Kieran Healy on the expectation in Sociology to build nuance into our theories of social phenomena. Healy's response, "Fuck it." 

From the introduction: 

It is not that theory should be maximally simple. Generative research programs develop theories that aim for a fruitful combination of simplicity and strength (Lewis 1973, 73). Those theories are built out with the aid of some techniques or rules that actively constrain what one can say. It can be hard to abide by whatever these formal, logical, or methodological rules demand. Yet in practice they are what keep the theory under control. Actually-Existing Nuance is not burdened by this constraint. It is more like a free-floating request that something more be added. When faced with a problem that is hard to solve, or a line of thinking that requires us to commit to some defeasible claim, or a logical dilemma we must bite the bullet on, the nuance-promoting theorist says “But isn’t it more complicated than that?”; or “Isn’t it really both/and?”; or “Aren’t these phenomena mutually constitutive?”; or “How does your theory deal with Structure, or Culture, or Temporality, or Power, or [some other abstract noun]?”. This sort of nuance is fundamentally anti-theoretical. It blocks the process of abstraction that theory depends on. By now it covers large parts of sociological theory much as kudzu covers large parts of the South: it is so widespread and well-established that it seems to be a native feature of the landscape. But in fact it is a pernicious and invasive weed.