Deciding whether an academic discipline has progressed is not easy, while gaining a reputation for oneself and helping the discipline to progress do not seem to be closely related. Many obstacles have prevented sociology from progressing, some of which are beyond the control of sociologists: but many are not. Indeed, if no progress has been made, it is largely because few sociologists have set themselves this goal. Many have given priority to their personal interests rather than tackle difficult theoretical questions, while there has been a tendency to confuse studying social life with adding to sociological understanding. But progress was made in the past (why otherwise would we study the works of Durkheim, Marx and Weber), and so—if more favourable circumstances were to come to pass—there is no reason why this could not happen in the future.
KeywordsDifficulty of identifying progress “Progress in paradigms” thesis Looking back with regret? Sociologists “rarely say anything” Definition of a sociologist Little progress made—yet there is still hope
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