Radical Sociology

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

(2)
The Professional Organization
of Sociology: A View
from Below *

MARTIN NICOLAUS

THE trunk of political power has many branches. One of these is the professional organization of sociology, the American Sociological Association. The upper, fatter portion of this branch is grafted seamlessly, with contractual cement, to the civil, economic and military sovereignty which constitutes the trunk. From that source, the organization spreads outward and downward along the institutional scaffolding, carrying the authoritative views on matters of social reality into the universities, junior colleges, and high schools. In addition to the general dissemination of propaganda, professional sociology has the major specific functions of aiding industrial, civil, and military authorities in the solution of manpower control problems of a limited order, and of preparing university candidates for careers in the official bureaucracies. As a source of legitimation for the existing sovereignty, and as a laboratory of refinements in the processes by which a tribute of blood, labor, and taxation is extracted from the subject population, the professional organization of sociology today represents the concrete fulfillment of the charter vision of its founding fathers.

Sociology is not alone among the professions which are an extension of sovereignty by other means. That it shares this constituent function with the organizations of other disciplines is affirmed in the authoritative International Encyclopedia of the Social Sciences (1968), by a sociologist of world repute, who has long played the role of advocate general for all the postwar professions. Under the rubric "Professions," Talcott

____________________
*
Reprinted from The Antioch Review, xxix, no. 3, by permission of the editors.

-45-

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