Radical Sociology

By J. David Colfax; Jack L. Roach | Go to book overview
Save to active project

(29)
Empirical Methods and Radical
Sociology: A Liberal Critique

ALLEN H. BARTON

WHAT should be the relationship between radical sociology and the work done over the last thirty-five years since the "survey revolution" in methods and the development of "structural-functional" theory?

One answer is wholesale rejection. Some radical critics claim that sociology today is basically engaged in legitimating the existing system and in producing practical knowledge to permit the dominant institutions to control the people against their interests. Survey methods, it is claimed, are incapable of studying major social problems, but are powerful tools in the hands of the ruling groups for manipulating the workers, the poor, the potentially dangerous classes. Middle-range theories developed over the last two decades—role-set theory, reference group theory, theories of interpersonal influence, of crosscutting status sets, of functional analysis—are useful only in support of control and manipulation. Sociology is "corporate sociology" and that is all there is to it. 1 Radical sociology has to start fresh, with completely different theories and methods (or, alternately, has to go back to historical analysis and Marxist-Leninist theories).

This type of analysis is an extreme form of functionalism itself, assuming a total functional link between what academic men do and the needs of the corporate system. Perhaps these oversimplifications serve a function for young sociologists trying to liberate themselves from the Old Men of the field, permitting themselves to establish a distinctive image as Radical Good Guys in contrast to Liberal Sell-Outs. But there is a cost to oversimplification. It makes those who believe it incapable of dealing critically with a complex reality; it cuts radical sociologists off from methods and theories which could help them; and it makes it easy

-460-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
Radical Sociology
Table of contents

Table of contents

Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen
/ 492

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?