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Sociology in AmericaA History$
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Craig Calhoun

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780226090948

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: February 2013

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226090962.001.0001

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American Sociology before and after World War II

American Sociology before and after World War II

The (Temporary) Settling of a Disciplinary Field

(p.314) [Nine] American Sociology before and after World War II
Sociology in America

George Steinmetz

University of Chicago Press

This chapter on American sociology between the early 1930s through the mid-1960s examines the shift from an epistemologically splintered discipline before World War II to a more hegemonized situation afterward. It analyzes sociology internally in terms of its field-like qualities (or lack of), asking about the emergence of agreed-upon definitions of unequally distributed social scientific capital. The burden of the argument in this chapter is to track the postwar narrowing of sociology's intellectual diversity or, more precisely, the shift from a relative equality between nonpositivist and positivist orientations in terms of scientific prestige to a condition in which positivism as defined here was clearly dominant. It examines the epistemological characteristics of some of the leading sociology departments and disciplinary publications of the middle third of the century. It concludes by summarizing the author's arguments and findings from previous studies concerning the specific ways that postwar Fordism seemed to provide immediate confirming evidence for social science positivism.

Keywords:   sociology, positivist orientations, positivism, postwar Fordism

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