Experimental methods in sociology

An earlier post noted the increasing importance of experimentation in some areas of economics (link), and posed the question of whether there is a place for experimentation in sociology as well. Here I'd like to examine that question a bit further. Let's begin by asking the simple question: what is an experiment? An experiment is …

Youth studies

One of the smaller sub-fields within sociology is "youth studies." This strikes me as an intriguing area of research, and it seems as though the possible questions for inquiry here have only begun to be tapped. Youth issues have come up in earlier posts, including disaffected youth (link), engaged youth (link), and the problem of …

The street and the ring

Loïc Wacquant offers a fascinating piece of urban ethnography in Body & Soul: Notebooks of an Apprentice Boxer. It is his account of his three-year experience while a sociology graduate student at the University of Chicago of participating in the Woodlawn Boys and Girls Club, a boxing club for young men who are serious about …

Alford Young on race and sociology

Alford Young is professor of sociology at the University of Michigan and an expert on the life experience of inner-city African-American men. He is also chair of the department of sociology at Michigan. His 2006 book, The Minds of Marginalized Black Men: Making Sense of Mobility, Opportunity, and Future Life Chances, is based on several …

Raymond Aron as historian of sociology

    How can we best tell the story of the development of sociology as an empirical social science? Raymond Aron undertook to do so in Main Currents in Sociological Thought (2 volumes) by reviewing the main sociological ideas of the greats: Montesquieu, Comte, Marx, Tocqueville, Durkheim, Pareto, and Weber. The book was first published in France in …

Marketing Wittgenstein

Who made Wittgenstein a great philosopher?  Why is the eccentric Austrian now regarded as one of the twentieth century's greatest philosophers? What conjunction of events in his life history and the world of philosophy in the early twentieth century led to this accumulating recognition and respect?We might engage in a bit of Panglossian intellectual history …

Sociologists on race

It is apparent that society in the United States is racialized in deep ways that greatly disadvantage the African-American population in the country, from health to longevity to education level to income and wealth levels. The disparities in all these areas of life are well documented (for example, here). Moreover, they seem to be more durable …

Race and the Chicago School

The Chicago School of sociology has often gotten a fair amount of credit for bringing the study of race into the academic discipline of sociology in the early decades of the twentieth century. Robert Ezra Park, in particular, is taken as a pioneer with his theories of a "race relations cycle", his work with Booker …

Making Peter Berger

Peter Berger declared himself a humanistic sociologist throughout much of his career, including in his important book with Thomas Luckmann, The Social Construction of Reality: A Treatise in the Sociology of Knowledge. This isn't exactly a common identification for an American sociologist in the 1950s. So how did he get there?This is an interesting question in …

Esser’s sociology

Sociology in Germany seems to be particularly prolific today, and this extends to the contributions that German sociologists are making to the sub-discipline of analytic sociology. One of the leaders who has played a key role in this active field is Hartmut Esser. Esser's Soziologie. Spezielle Grundlagen 3. Soziales Handeln (2002) is particularly important, but …

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