Pre-Academic Reformism and the Conflict between Advocacy and Objectivity until 1920

  • Stephen Turner
Part of the Sociology Transformed book series (SOTR)


American sociology emerged out of a large universe of non-academic reform organizations, primarily in connection with measures to reduce ‘dependency’, but including a vast array of ‘progressive’ causes. These organizations and the movements they represented made knowledge claims and presented themselves as experts, but were oriented to public education, standards, and regulation. Early attempts to use universities as advocates of reform produced hostile responses; skepticism about the possibility of mixing advocacy with scholarly objectivity persisted. Academics themselves attempted to distinguish themselves from reformers, and to claim rights as ‘professionals’. An attempt to create a reform’ school’ in New York did, however, have impact, but at the same time showed that this model could not be applied within universities.


American Social Science Association Bemis affair Chautauqua Christian sociology Columbia sociology Progressive Party Rand School of Social Science Women’s Christian Temperance Union 


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Copyright information

© Stephen Turner 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Stephen Turner
    • 1
  1. 1.University of South FloridaUS

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