The Notion of ‘Depth of Historical Field’
The history of sociology (now in movement again after a period of disaffection) has been essentially linked to the question of describing sequences, drawing up balance sheets and inventories, and sometimes of setting out a prospective problematic. With a few very rare exceptions this history of sociology has remained historicist, in the classical sense of the word. Constantly and quite rightly concerned to lose nothing of what they see as the living tissue of their science, and aware of the challenge of neighbouring and clearly older disciplines, the historians of sociology have not so far sufficiently stressed the sociological interpretation of sociology. The economic dimension is clearly perceived, sometimes even as directly and schematically determining; the political dimension has come to be recognised as central to any theoretical reflection in the field of the social sciences as a whole. What are not yet clearly perceived are the relations of interaction between the sociology of a society or a given national-cultural sphere at a given phase of its historical evolution, and the specificity of that society in its historical persistence and its re-emergence under the impact of contemporary society.
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