Fifty Years in the Sociological Enterprise: A Lucky Journey

Fifty Years in the Sociological Enterprise: A Lucky Journey

Fifty Years in the Sociological Enterprise: A Lucky Journey

Fifty Years in the Sociological Enterprise: A Lucky Journey

Excerpt

WRITING THIS ACCOUNT of a long journey in the sociological enterprise has been an indulgence for more than three years. A rationale is needed for such a bold undertaking. Thus in these introductory pages I will try to establish a measure of solid ground for the publication of these personalized and informal essays.

Let me begin, as authors of trivial articles in the sociological journals too often do, by citing scholars of prestige. Only a few American sociologists have given us personal accounts of their professional experiences. We have, for example, from the first of the Fathers, Young Ward's Diary (edited by Bernhard J. Stern), written in French, laden with mundane detail, and ending in 1870--long before Lester F. Ward's sociological eminence (the diary of his later years was destroyed, alas, by his second wife). Charles Horton Cooley left us the modest, though often sprightly, and revelatory Life and the Student . Pitirim Sorokin's three autobiographical accounts tell us a good deal about both the author's sturdy ego and his sociological convictions. My own mentor's autobiography, As a Tale That Is Told , includes Robert MacIver's candid and at times highly critical appraisal of sociology itself. And on a smaller scale and from a later generation, more sharply focused recollections have been provided by Paul Lazarsfeld, George Homans, Talcott Parsons, Robert Bierstedt, Joseph Fichter, and others. These scholarly confessionals, I believe, should enrich a social psychological history of American sociology.

The present undertaking is not such a history; indeed it is . . .

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