Advertisement

Sociology as “Just an Academic Pursuit”

  • Colin Campbell
Chapter

Abstract

Sociology has long been regarded as in crisis, with sociologists repeatedly agonizing over its status, nature and role. One of the main disputes has been over whether being a sociologist means that one is should aim to change social life rather than merely explain it. However, the role of academic is specifically to interpret the world, not to change it. Unfortunately, all too often sociologists have ignored their duty in this regard and engaged in either ideological advocacy or moralizing, thereby preventing the discipline from making progress. Although this has been a feature of UK sociology for 50 years, a disturbing recent trend has been for some sociologists to claim that re-dressing grievances justify rejecting the very idea of impartial scientific inquiry.

Keywords

Discipline in crisis Academic trumps sociologist Adding to knowledge as higher purpose Ideological advocacy Grievance studies 

Bibliography

  1. Abrams, P. (1981). The Collapse of British Sociology? In P. Abrams, R. Deem, J. Finch, & P. Rock (Eds.), Practice and Progress: British Sociology 1950–1980 (pp. 53–69). London: Allen & Unwin.Google Scholar
  2. Australian and New Zealand Journal of Sociology. (1983, July). Special Issue devoted to, Dialogue: Crisis in Sociology. 19(2).Google Scholar
  3. Back, L. (2016). Academic Diary: Or Why Higher Education Still Matters. London: Goldsmiths Press.Google Scholar
  4. Beer, D. (2014). Punk Sociology. Cham, Switzerland: Palgrave Macmillan.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Berger, P. (1963). Invitation to Sociology: A Humanistic Perspective. Garden City, NY: Doubleday & Co.Google Scholar
  6. Berger, P. (2002, October). Whatever Happened to Sociology? First Things. https://www.firstthings.com/article/2002/10/whatever-happened-to-sociology. Accessed 12 December 2018.
  7. Black, D. (2000). The Purification of Sociology. Contemporary Sociology, 29(5), 704–709.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Boudon, R. (1971). The Crisis in Sociology: Problems of Sociological Epistemology. Cham, Switzerland: Palgrave Macmillan.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Burrows, R., & Gane, N. (2006). Geodemographics, Software and Class. Sociology, 40(5), 793–812.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Burrows, R., & Savage, M. (2014, April 1). After the Crisis? Big Data and the Methodological Challenges of Empirical Sociology. Big Data and Society, 1(1).Google Scholar
  11. Delbanco, A. (1999, November 4). The Decline and Fall of Literature. New York Review of Books.Google Scholar
  12. Ellis, J. M. (1999). Literature Lost: Social Agendas and the Corruption of the Humanities. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press.Google Scholar
  13. Fish, S. (2004, May 21). Why We Built the Ivory Tower. New York Times.Google Scholar
  14. Gouldner, A. W. (1970). Coming Crisis of Western Sociology. New York: Basic Books.Google Scholar
  15. Halsey, A. H. (2004). A History of Sociology in Britain: Science, Literature, and Society. Oxford: Oxford University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Horowitz, I. L. (1995). The Decomposition of Sociology. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  17. Lindsay, J. A., Boghossian, P., & Pluckrose, H. (2018, October 2). Academic Grievance Studies and the Corruption of Scholarship. Areo Magazine. https://areomagazine.com/2018/10/02/academic-grievance-studies-and-the-corruption-of-scholarship/. Accessed 20 December 2018.
  18. Lopreato, J., & Crippin, T. (2002). Crisis in Sociology: The Need for Darwin. New Brunswick, NJ: Transaction Publishers.Google Scholar
  19. Nisbet, R. (1971). The Degradation of the Academic Dogma: The University in America 1945–1970. London: Heinemann.Google Scholar
  20. Oakley, A. (2004). Epilogue in Eight Essays. In A. H. Halsey (Ed.), A History of Sociology in Britain: Science, Literature, and Society (pp. 214–217). Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  21. Osborne, T., Rose, N., & Savage, M. (2008). Editors’ Introduction: Reinscribing British Sociology: Some Critical Reflections. Sociological Review, 56(4), 519–534.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Platt, J. (2008). British Sociology Textbooks from 1949. Current Sociology, 56, 165–182.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Savage, M., & Burrows, R. (2007). The Coming Crisis of Empirical Sociology. Sociology, 41(5), 885–899.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Savage, M., & Burrows, R. (2009). Some Further Reflections on the Coming Crisis of Empirical Sociology. Sociology, 43(4), 762–772.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Shaw, M. (1974). Marxism Versus Sociology: A Guide to Reading. London: Pluto Press.Google Scholar
  26. Skirbekk, S. (2008). ‘Crisis of Sociology’—And the Consequences for an Adequate Understanding of Contemporary Cultural Conflicts. Journal of Sociology (Sosiologisk Tidsskrift) (3), 281–291.Google Scholar
  27. Sociological Forum. (1994). Issue Devoted to the Topic, What’s Wrong with Sociology? 9(2).Google Scholar
  28. Szelenyi, I. (2015). The Triple Crisis of Sociology. Guest Post, Contexts (2017, Summer). https://contexts.org/blog/the-triple-crisis-of-sociology/. Accessed 12 October 2018.
  29. Thiele, S. (2005, October). The Problem with Sociology. Quadrant, 49(10), 11–19.Google Scholar
  30. Travers, M. (1997). The Decomposition of Sociology. Sociological Research Online. http://www.socresonline.org.uk/2/4/travers.html. Accessed 10 December 2018.
  31. van der Vossen, B. (2015). In Defence of the Ivory Tower: Why Philosophers Should Stay Out of Politics. Philosophical Psychology, 28(7), 1045–1063.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Weber, M. (2004 [1919]). The Vocation Lectures: ‘Science as a Vocation’; ‘Politics as a Vocation’. Indianapolis: Hackett Publishing.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Colin Campbell
    • 1
  1. 1.University of YorkYorkUK

Personalised recommendations