TITLE

Measure, value and the current crises of sociology

AUTHOR(S)
Gane, Nicholas
PUB. DATE
December 2011
SOURCE
Sociological Review;Dec2011 Supplement, Vol. 59 Issue 2, p151
SOURCE TYPE
Academic Journal
DOC. TYPE
Article
ABSTRACT
This paper returns to C. Wright Mills' The Sociological Imagination to make an argument about the crisis of sociological method and theory today. Mills' famous text opens with a stinging critique of abstracted empiricism and grand theory on the grounds that they fetishize either methods or concepts. It is argued that Mills' critique can be applied to current sociological practices and thinking. The first part of this paper centres on questions of method, and reads between Mills' critique of abstracted empiricism and a recent debate over what Mike Savage and Roger Burrows call the 'coming crisis of empirical sociology'. In the light of this, it is argued that two crises currently haunt empirical sociology: a crisis of imagination and measurement. The second part of the paper then moves to the analysis of what Mills calls 'grand theory'. Here, two parallel crises are identified: a generational crisis within social theory that is tied in turn to what might be called a crisis of the concept. The conclusion of the paper returns to Mills in order to rethink his vision of the promise or value of sociology. It is argued that innovative conceptual work must lie at the heart of future sociological thinking if it is to move beyond the parallel traps of what Mills calls abstracted empiricism and grand theory.
ACCESSION #
131518475

 

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