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The Impossible Science: An Institutional Analysis of American Sociology

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Overview

Tracing the history of American sociology since the Civil War, the authors of this important volume explain the field's diversity, its lack of unifying paradigms, its broad, eclectic research agenda and its general weakness as an institutional force in either academia or the policy arena. They highlight the equivocal and often contradictory missions that sociologists prescribe for themselves and the variable nature of human, financial and intellectual resources available to the profession.
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Product Details

Meet the Author

Stephen Turner is Graduate Research Professor. His Ph.D. is from the University of Missouri. His dissertation, Sociological Explanation as Translation , was published in 1980 by Cambridge . He is the author of a number of books in the history and philosophy of social science and statistics, including books on Max Weber, on whom he also edited the Cambridge Companion volume. He is the co-author of the standard one-volume history of American Sociology, The Impossible Science. He has also written extensively in science studies, especially on patronage and the politics and economics of science, and on the concept of practices, including two books, The Social Theory of Practices and Brains//Practices/ Relativism . His Liberal Democracy 3.0: Civil Society in an Age of Experts, reflects his interest in the problem the political significance of science. Among his other current interests are problems of explaining normativity, especially the conflict between philosophical and social scientific accounts, and issues relating to the implications of cognitive neuroscience for social theory, especially related to the problem of tacit knowledge and mirror neurons. He is also engaged in a large project on the realism of Hans Kelsen and Max Weber and its relevance for contemporary discussions of political theory and law. His most recent book, Explaining the Normative (Polity 2010) is a critique and an alternative to the accounts of “normativity” one finds in philosophers like McDowell, Brandom, Korsgaard, Nagel, and the like. Among his other recent edited books are The SAGE Handbook of Social Science Methodology, with William Outhwaite, and The Routledge International Handbook of Contemporary Social and Political Theory, with Gerard Delanty. He has had fellowships from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Swedish Collegium for Advanced Studies in the Social Sciences.

Jonathan H. Turner (PhD, Cornell University) is Distinguished Professor of sociology at the University of California at Riverside and University Professor for the University of California. The leading authority on sociological theory, Dr. Turner is the author of 38 influential books, which have been published in twelve different languages, as well as the author of many research articles in numerous journals and books.

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Table of Contents

The Academicization of Reform
American Sociology Before World War I
The Focused Replaces the Grand
American Sociology During the Interwar Years
The New Optimism
American Sociology After World War II
The 'Golden Era' and Its Aftermath
American Sociology Today
Possible Sociologies, Recalcitrant Worlds
Conclusion
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