The Americanization of Social Science: Intellectuals and Public Responsibility in the Postwar United States

Synopsis

In this, a unique history of the America's post-war intellectual, David Paul Haney outlines the development of sociology as a discipline and why, given its focus of study, it failed to develop into a force in the intellectual currents of the United States. Arguing that sociologists attempted to develop both a science and an instrument for the spread of humanistic concern about society, Haney shows how both attempts failed to connect sociology with larger questions of policy and social progress. More than a history of ideas, Haney's book also discusses in depth the major players in sociology, and how their fame obscured the debate over sociology's future in American universities. Reintroducing readers to such luminaries as Talcott Parsons, C. Wright Mills, David Riesman, and others, Haney illustrates how their struggle to define a discipline reflected the discipline's own development in this country, and how competing claims for sociology's role in the public debate about the future of American society helped define the future of the university and of the role of the public intellectual in the United States.

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