The American Sociologist

, Volume 32, Issue 4, pp 70–88 | Cite as

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

  • Myles J. Kelleher
Professional Pratices

Abstract

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.

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

References

  1. Bassis, Michael, Richard J. Gelles and Ann Levine. 1982. Social Problems. New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich.Google Scholar
  2. Berger, Peter L. 1963. Invitation to Sociology. Garden City, NY: Anchor Books.Google Scholar
  3. —. 1992. “Sociology: A Disinvitation?” Society 30(1): 12–18.Google Scholar
  4. Blocker, T. Jean. 1997. “Environment and Technology.” Pp. 17–18 in Working Toward a Just Society: Visions, Experiences and Challenges, edited by Pamela Roby. Knoxville, TN: Society for the Study of Social Problems.Google Scholar
  5. Capaldi, Nicholas. 1985. Out of Order: Affirmative Action and the Crisis of Doctrinaire Liberalism. Buffalo, NY: Prometheus.Google Scholar
  6. Carroll, Vincent. 1997. “Republican Professors? Sure, There’s One,” Wall Street Journal, May 11, p. A22.Google Scholar
  7. Cohn-Bendit, Daniel and Gabriel Cohn-Bendit. 1968. Obsolete Communism. The Left Wing Alternative. New York: McGraw-Hill.Google Scholar
  8. Coleman, James William and Donald R. Cressey. 1993. Social Problems, 5th ed. New York: HarperCollins.Google Scholar
  9. Curran, Daniel J. and Claire M. Renzetti. 1990, 2000. Social Problems: Society in Crisis, 2nd ed., 5th ed. Boston: Allyn and Bacon.Google Scholar
  10. Currie, Elliot and Jerome H. Skolnick. 1988. America’s Problems: Social Issues and Public Policy. Glenview, IL: Scott, Foresman.Google Scholar
  11. DeFleur, Melvin. 1983. Social Problems in American Society. Boston: Houghton Mifflin.Google Scholar
  12. Diamond, Timothy. 1997. “Youth, Aging and the Life Course.” Pp. 44–45 in Working Toward a Just Society: Visions, Experiences and Challenges, edited by Pamela Roby. Knoxville, TN: Society for the Study of Social Problems.Google Scholar
  13. Douglas, Jack D. 1989. The Myth of the Welfare State. New Brunswick, NT: Transaction.Google Scholar
  14. Draper, Theodore. 1987. “The Class Struggle,” New Republic, January 26, pp. 29-36.Google Scholar
  15. Duchene, Francois. 1970. The Endless Crisis: America in the Seventies. New York: Simon and Schuster.Google Scholar
  16. Eitzen, D. Stanley. 1980. Social Problems. Boston: Allyn and Bacon.Google Scholar
  17. Farley, John E. 1987. American Social Problems. Englewood Cliffs, NT: Prentice-Hall.Google Scholar
  18. Feagin, Joe R. 1982. Social Problems: A Critical Power-Conflict Approach. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall.Google Scholar
  19. Fischman, Gustavo E. and Peter McLaren. 2000. “Schooling and Democracy: Toward a Critical Utopianism,” Contemporary Sociology 29:168–179.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Galliher, John F. 1997. “Law and Society.” Pp. 26–27 in Working Toward a Just Society: Visions, Experiences and Challenges, edited by Pamela Roby. Knoxville, TN: Society for the Study of Social Problems.Google Scholar
  21. Gitlin, Todd. 2000. “Critic and Crusader: The Exemplary Passions of C. Wright Mills,” Los Angeles Times, Book Review Section, pp. 3-4.Google Scholar
  22. Glass, Jennifer. 2000. “Envisioning the Integration of Family and Work: Toward a Kinder and Gentler Workplace,” Contemporary Sociology 29: 129–143.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Glenn, Evelyn Nakano. 2000. “Creating a Caring Society,” Contemporary Sociology 29: 84–94.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Glynn, James A., Charles F. Hohm and Elbert W. Stewart. 1996. Global Social Problems New York: HarperCollins.Google Scholar
  25. Goodman, Walter. 2000. “Sociologists to the Barricades; Thinkers Who Would Be Doers See Social Injustice Wherever They Turn,” New York Times, August 19, p. B7.Google Scholar
  26. Gouldner, Alvin W. 1970. The Coming Crisis of Western Sociology. New York: Basic Books.Google Scholar
  27. Greil, Arthur, Jeanne Calabro and Jean Elson. 1997. “Health, Health Policy, and Health Services.” Pp. 21–23 in Working Toward a Just Society: Visions, Experiences and Challenges, edited by Pamela Roby. Knoxville, TN: Society for the Study of Social Problems.Google Scholar
  28. Hagan, John and Holly Foster. 2000. “Making Corporate and Criminal America Less Violent: Public Norms and Structure Reforms,” Contemporary Sociology 29: 44–53.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Hardert, Ronald, Leonard Gordon, Mary R. Laner and Mark Reader. 1984. Confronting Social Problems. St. Paul, MN: West.Google Scholar
  30. Heilbroner, Robert. 1989. “The Triumph of Capitalism,” The New Yorker, January 23, pp. 98-109.Google Scholar
  31. Heiner, Robert. 1999. Social Problems and Social Solutions: A Cross-Cultural Approach. Boston: Allyn and Bacon.Google Scholar
  32. Hollander, Paul. 1995. Anti-Americanism: Irrational & Rational. New Brunswick, NJ: Transaction.Google Scholar
  33. —. 1999. “Saving Sociology?” Sociological Inquiry 69: 130–147.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Horowitz, Irving Louis. 1972. “In Introduction to C. Wright Mills.” Pp. 1–20 in Power Politics and People: The Collected Essays of C. Wright Mills, edited by Irving Louis Horowitz. New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  35. . 1993. The Decomposition of Sociology.New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  36. Imber, Jonathan and Irving Louis Horowitz. 1999. “Ferment in Professional Associations,” Society 36(2): 5–7.Google Scholar
  37. Johnson, David B. 1991. Public Choice: An Introduction to the New Political Economy. Mountain View, CA: Mayfield.Google Scholar
  38. Johnson, Jacqueline, Sharon Rush and Joe Feagin. 2000. “Doing Anti-Racism: Toward an Egalitarian American Society,” Contemporary Sociology 29: 95–110.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Jones, Terry. 1997. “Sociology and Social Welfare.” Pp. 42–43 in Working Toward a Just Society: Visions, Experiences and Challenges, edited by Pamela Roby. Knoxville, TN: Society for the Study of Social Problems.Google Scholar
  40. Julian, Joseph and William Kornblum. 1983. Social Problems, 4th ed. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall.Google Scholar
  41. Kaelber, Lutz and Walter Carroll (eds.). 2001. Instructor’s Resource Manual on Social Problems. Washington, DC: American Sociological Association.Google Scholar
  42. Kendall, Diane. 1998. Social Problems in a Diverse Society. Boston: Allyn and Bacon.Google Scholar
  43. Lazarsfeld, Paul F. and Wagner Thielens, Jr. [1958] 1977. The Academic Mind: Social Scientists in a Time of Crisis. New York: Arno Press.Google Scholar
  44. Liazos, Alexander. 1982. People First: Introduction to Social Problems. Boston: Allyn and Bacon.Google Scholar
  45. Light, Donald W. 2000. “Fostering a Justice-Based Health Care System,” Contemporary Sociology 29: 62–74.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Lipset, Seymour Martin. 1994. “The State of American Sociology,” Sociological Forum 9: 199–220.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Lipset, Seymour Martin and Everett Carll Ladd, Jr. 1972. “The Politics of American Sociologists,” American Journal of Sociology 78: 67–104.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Lowry, Ritchie P. 1974. Social Problems: A Critical Analysis of Theories and Public Policy. Lexington, KY: D.C. Heath.Google Scholar
  49. Matthews, Nancy A. 1997. “Crime and Juvenile Delinquency.” Pp. 9–11 in Working Toward a Just World: Visions, Experiences and Challenges, edited by Pamela Roby. Knoxville, TN: Society for the Study of Social Problems.Google Scholar
  50. McFalls, Joseph, Michael J. Engle and Bernard J. Gallagher III. 1999. “The American Sociologist: Characteristics in the 1990s,” American Sociologist 30(3): 96–100.Google Scholar
  51. McMahon, Sean H. 1998. “Professional Purpose and Academic Legitimacy: Ross’ Social Control and the Founding of American Sociology,” American Sociologist 29(3): 9–25.Google Scholar
  52. Mills, C. Wright. 1943. “The Professional Ideology of Social Pathologists,” American Journal of Sociology 49: 165–180.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. —. 1959. The Sociological Imagination. New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  54. Mooney, Linda A., David Knox and Caroline Schacht. 2000. Understanding Social Problems, 2nd ed. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth.Google Scholar
  55. Neubeck, Kenneth J. and Mary Ellen Neubeck. 1997. Social Problems: A Critical Approach, 4th ed. New York: McGraw-Hill.Google Scholar
  56. Orlans, Harold. 1999. Change. July/August, p. 9.Google Scholar
  57. Otis, George. 1972. The Solution to Crisis-America. Old Tappan, NJ: F.H. Revell.Google Scholar
  58. Parillo, Vincent N., John Stimson and Ardyth Stimson. 1999. Contemporary Social Problems 4th ed. Boston: Allyn and Bacon.Google Scholar
  59. Reasons, Charles E. and William D. Perdue. 1981. The Ideology of Social Problems. Sherman Oaks, CA: AlfredGoogle Scholar
  60. Rhoades, Lawrence. 1981. A History of the American Sociological Association. Washington, DC: American Sociological Association.Google Scholar
  61. Riesman, David and T. George Harris. 1969. “The Young Are Captives of Each Other: A Conversation with David Riesman and T. Harris,” Psychology Today, October, pp. 28-33, 43-67.Google Scholar
  62. Risman, Barbara, Donald Tomaskovic-Devey and Marth M. Dimes. 2000. “Contemporary Sociology Offers Utopian Visions,” Contemporary Sociology 29.Google Scholar
  63. Ritzer, George. 1986. Social Problems, 2nd en. New York: Knopf.Google Scholar
  64. Roby, Pamela. 1997. “Introduction.” Pp. 1–2 in Working Toward a Just World: Visions, Experiences and Challenges, edited by Pamela Roby. Knoxville, TN: Society for the Study of Social Problems.Google Scholar
  65. Rosenberg, Bernard, Israel Gerver and F. William Howton. 1964. Mass Society in Crisis: Social Problems and Social Pathology. New York: Macmillan.Google Scholar
  66. Rosenthal, Steven J. 1997. “Racial and Ethnic Minorities.” Pp. 35–38 in Working Toward a Just World: Visions, Experiences and Challenges, edited by Pamela Roby. Knoxville, TN: Society for the Study of Social Problems.Google Scholar
  67. Ruggierio, Greg and Stuart Sahulka (eds). 1995. The New American Crisis: Radical Analyses of Problems Facing America. New York: New Press.Google Scholar
  68. Scarpitti, Frank R. and Margaret L. Andersen. 1992. Social Problems. New York: HarperCollins.Google Scholar
  69. Schram, Glenn N. 1981. Toward a Response to the American Crisis. Washington, DC: University Press of America.Google Scholar
  70. Schwartz, Hillel. 1997. “On the Origin of the Phrase ‘Social Problems,’” Social Problems 44: 276–296.Google Scholar
  71. Schwartz, Pepper. 2000. “Creating Sexual Pleasure and Sexual Justice in the Twenty-First Century,” Contemporary Sociology 29: 213–219.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  72. Seligman, Dan. 2000. “The Science of Self-Preservation,” Forbes, November 27, pp. 86-87.Google Scholar
  73. Shea, Christopher. 1999. “The Gap: The Chasm Between Academe and the Rest of America Is Wide—and Getting Wider,” Washington Post, April 11, pp. W14-17.Google Scholar
  74. Simon, David R. and Joel H. Henderson, 1997. Private Troubles and Public Issues: Social Problems in the Postmodern Era. Fort Worth, TX: Harcourt Brace.Google Scholar
  75. Simpson, Ida Harper and Richard L. Simpson. 1994. “The Transformation of the American Sociological Association,” Sociological Forum 9: 259–278.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  76. Skolnick, Jerome H. and Elliot Currie (eds.). 1970. Crisis in American Institutions. Boston: Little, Brown.Google Scholar
  77. Smith, Vicki. 1997. “Labor Studies.” Pp. 24–25 in Working Toward a Just World: Visions, Experiences and Challenges, edited by Pamela Roby. Knoxville, TN: Society for the Study of Social Problems.Google Scholar
  78. Soroka, Michael P. and George J. Bryjak. 1995. Social Problems: A World at Risk. Boston: Allyn and Bacon.Google Scholar
  79. Spector, Alan. 1997. “Poverty, Class and Inequality.” Pp. 28–31 in Working Toward a Just World: Visions, Experiences and Challenges, edited by Pamela Roby. Knoxville, TN: Society for the Study of Social Problems.Google Scholar
  80. Sullivan, Thomas J. 1997. Introduction to Social Problems, 4th ed. Boston: Allyn and Bacon.Google Scholar
  81. Venturelli, Peter J. 1997. “Drinking and Drugs.” Pp. 12-14 in Working Toward a Just World: Visions,Google Scholar
  82. Experiences and Challenges, edited by Pamela Roby. Knoxville, TN: Society for the Study of Social Problems.Google Scholar
  83. Washington Post Writers Group. 1993. Society in Crisis: The Washington Post Social Problems Companion. Boston: Allyn and Bacon.Google Scholar
  84. Weber, Max. 1958 [1904], The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism, translated by Talcott Parsons. New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons.Google Scholar
  85. —. 1958 [1918]. “Science as a Vocation.” Pp. 129–156 in Max Weber: Essays in Sociology, translated and edited by H. H. Gerth and C. Wright Mills. New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  86. Weekly Standard. 2000. “5,000 Sociologists, Sittin’ Around Talkin,’” February 14, p. 4.Google Scholar
  87. Wright, Talmadge. 2000. “Resisting Homelessness: Global, National, and Local Solutions,” Contemporary Sociology 29: 27–43.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  88. Wrong, Dennis H. 2001. “C. Wright Mills Recalled,” Society 38(6): 61–64.Google Scholar
  89. Wylie, Mary Lou. 1997. “Family.” Pp. 19–20 in Working Toward a Just World: Visions, Experiences and Challenges, edited by Pamela Roby. Knoxville, TN: Society for the Study of Social Problems.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer 2001

Authors and Affiliations

  • Myles J. Kelleher
    • 1
  1. 1.Bucks Bounty Community CollegeNewtown

Personalised recommendations