Change, Uncertainty and the Future of Sociology

Crook, S.A. (2003) Change, Uncertainty and the Future of Sociology. Journal of Sociology, 39 (1). pp. 7-14.

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Abstract

[Extract] I am grateful for the opportunity to address themes that are central to the future of our discipline and association. That future appears clouded to many of us, especially the majority located in universities. There, our concerns are amplified by funding problems, shifts in student enrolment patterns towards ‘safe’ vocational courses, permanent revolution in organizational structures and the rest (I have been at James Cook University for three years and in each year the composition and structure of our Faculty have been different).

Those matters richly deserve extended sociological attention, which I can’t give them here. But I do want to link them to other questions about the future of sociology. The theme of ‘sociology in crisis’ is as old as the discipline itself, but there are important differences between the challenges presently facing the discipline and the post-Parsonsian ‘crisis’ of US sociology in the 1960s. In that period, each side of the quarrels over ‘system vs conflict’, ‘structure vs action’ or ‘conservatism vs radicalism’ could share the comfortable assumption that their arguments mattered. It was important to settle the political, theoretical and methodological parameters of sociology because sociology mattered. The type of sociology that prevailed would influence the shape of society itself. We no longer enjoy that consolation. We may have come to terms with a post-Parsonsian pluralism, but we seem to face the more insidious threat of a leaching away of our salience. That point has a double sense. In the more obvious, the audiences for sociology among policy elites, publics and students appear to be shrinking. In the perhaps less obvious sense, the specifically ‘sociological’ character of what we do loses definition, shading into the concerns of various area studies.

Item ID: 13785
Item Type: Article (Refereed Research - C1)
Keywords: change; sociology
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This publication does not have an abstract. The first two paragraphs of this publication are displayed as the abstract.

ISSN: 1741-2978
Date Deposited: 03 Nov 2010 02:43
FoR Codes: 16 STUDIES IN HUMAN SOCIETY > 1608 Sociology > 160899 Sociology not elsewhere classified @ 100%
SEO Codes: 97 EXPANDING KNOWLEDGE > 970116 Expanding Knowledge through Studies of Human Society @ 100%
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