Professional Pratices

The American Sociologist

, Volume 32, Issue 4, pp 70-88

First online:

The professional ideology of social pathologists transformed: The new political orthodoxy in sociology

  • Myles J. KelleherAffiliated withBucks Bounty Community College

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In a landmark article published in 1943, the young C. Wright Mills roundly criticized early American sociologists who focused on the sociology of social problems. These “social pathologists,” Mills argued, were social conservatives with homogeneous viewpoints who strove to maintain the established social order. A review of recent surveys on the political attitudes of sociologists, an analysis of recent articles on social problems published by the American Sociological Association (ASA) and the Society for the Study of Social Problems, an examination of social problems textbooks, and a consideration of the proceedings of the ASA annual meetings reveal an extraordinary turnabout. An ongoing trend toward the politicization of sociology and the radicalization of the sociology of social problems has resulted in a diminished stature of the profession which jeopardizes its future.