Radical Sociology

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

PART IV · Critiques of
Radicalism in Sociology

WE close with essays by four critics of radical sociology.1 While their professional interests and mode of contributing to the store of sociological knowledge differ greatly, it seems clear that all place a high premium on sociology as a profession and are committed to the basic ethos of the discipline.

It is unwise to dismiss lightly Philip Hauser's portrayal of the virtues of professional sociologists which stand in such contrast to his depiction of "actionist sociologists" as violent, marginal-type ideologues who have yet to make, or cannot make, the grade as journeymen professionals. The radically inclined sociologist would be well advised to weigh the implications of this appraisal, particularly because of the source. A past president of the ASA and continuing member of its inner circle, Professor Hauser has much to do with both sustaining and shaping the values and practice of mainline sociology.

The remaining three critics are ambivalently sympathetic to the general idea of a radical sociology and to radicals in the profession. The variation in the quality of their sympathy and the nature of their ambivalence no doubt stem largely from differences in their professional as well as personal biographies which in turn affect their appraisals of what sociology is and should be in relation to their perceptions of what the radicals are seeking.

Much of Richard Robbins' essay, although not drawn up as such, can be seen as a rebuttal to the indictment of professional sociology in Part I of this book. (Several pages of his paper, in fact, deal specifically with the attack on the profession embodied in Martin Nicolaus' article, "The Professional Organization of Sociology: A View from Below.") Robbins takes issue with the charges that sociology is an agent of

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