In “Why?” (Princeton; $24.95), the Columbia University scholar Charles Tilly sets out to make sense of our reasons for giving reasons. In the tradition of the legendary sociologist Erving Goffman, Tilly seeks to decode the structure of everyday social interaction, and the result is a book that forces readers to reëxamine everything from the way they talk to their children to the way they argue about politics.
Catching up on an some reading Malcolm Gladwell's New Yorker piece on Charles Tilly's new book 'Why' registered. Malcolm continues the conversation over on his weblog in this post talking specifically about focus groups. Some interesting comments follow and are recommended reading. As someone who has been thinking aloud about 2006 the year of why and seeking to explain instead of excuse I look forward to reading Tilly's book.