THERE is today a growing current of dissatisfaction with the state of contemporary sociology. Sociologists throughout the country seem to be realizing that something is amiss. Young professors formulate or reformulate virtually every conceivable approach to sociological methodology and theory. Older professors defensively rewrite their earlier work. Students rebel against established notions, disrespectfully rejecting the work of teachers.
In this paper I first analyze, from the viewpoint of the sociology of knowledge, the dominant trends in the field, and second, outline an alternative approach that I feel sociology must take if it is to regain its relevance to the understanding of man and society. 1
Following the analysis of Paul Baran and Paul Sweezy in Monopoly Capital, 2 and John Kenneth Galbraith in The New Industrial State, 3 it is our view that American society can best be categorized as corporate capitalism. Private corporations are the dominant institution in contemporary Western society, and their functional needs for security, control, and expansion determine the broad outlines of the social structure, government policy, beliefs, and values. We accept this analysis for the purposes of this paper, and will examine its implications for the sociological study of contemporary sociology.
The basic methodology that I shall use is functionalism, supplemented____________________