Title

De-Intellectualizing American Sociology: A History, of sorts

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

12-2012

Keywords

American sociology, Burawoy, French sociology, Institut International de Sociologie, public sociology, sociology’s relevance, René Worms

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

https://doi.org/10.1177/1440783312458226

Abstract

Sociology once debated ‘the social’ and did so with a public readership. Even as late as the Second World War, sociologists commanded a wide public on questions about the nature of society, altruism and the direction of social evolution. As a result of several waves of professionalization, however, these issues have vanished from academic sociology and from the public writings of sociologists. From the 1960s onwards sociologists instead wrote for the public by supporting social movements. Discussion within sociology became constrained both by ‘professional’ expectations and political taboos. Yet the original motivating concerns of sociology and its public, such as the compatibility of socialism and Darwinism, the nature of society, and the process of social evolution, did not cease to be of public interest. With sociologists showing little interest in satisfying the demand, it was met by non-sociologists, with the result that sociology lost both its intellectual public, as distinct from affinity groups, and its claim on these topics.

Was this content written or created while at USF?

Yes

Citation / Publisher Attribution

Journal of Sociology, v. 48, issue 4, p. 346-363

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