Oisin sent around his Amazon wish list, a fine list of books that I wish I not only owned, but also had read and crucially remembered. One of the things on the list is Charles Tilly's "Big Structures, Large Processes, Huge Comparisons", but his friends can save themselves a bit of money by downloading this delightfully retro version of the text (I'm that cheap that I'm just posting him the link here). A nice companion gift might be the latest issue of Social Research Online (2009, Volume 14, issue 5), which is dedicated to the book. The article by Ernesto Castaneda provides a good overview of Tilly's work.
I like Tilly's approach to publishing, he seemed very much a believer in "better is the enemy of good" . Get it written. Enter a debate, If you are wrong, write a correction.Â I am in themiddle of revising my dissertation for publication so this quote in particular from the Castaneda article spoke to me:
"Tilly was willing to publish fast in order to be proven wrong (or only partially right), and thus rendered perfectible. Indeed, why wait for someone else to fix his models? He often came back and improved his previous ideas. This is exemplified by the story he loved to tell about how his first book The VendÃ©e (1964) was a refutation of his doctoral dissertation. One could argue that despite his sociability, Tilly was often in discussion mainly with himself."