sociology: accounts

“An account is a linguistic device employed whenever an action is subjected to valuative inquiry.” (as cited in Scott & Lyman, 1968, p. 46).


(e.g., denial of injury, denial of victim, condemnation of condemners, and appeal to loyalties [p. 51])

sad tales

operational definition

“selected (often distorted) arrangement of facts that highlight an extremely dismal past, and thus ‘explain’ the individual’s present state.” (p. 52)


operational definition

“… an indicat[ion of] either a desire to be left alone or to enlighten what… [is] considered to be the unenlightened establishment.” (p. 52; MDL refactoring applied)


appeal to accidents

appeal to defeasibility

appeal to biological drives



Scott, M. B., & Lyman, S. M. (1968). Accounts. American Sociological Review, 33(1), 46-62.