Advertisement

The American Sociologist

, Volume 46, Issue 1, pp 29–39 | Cite as

Towards a New Normal: Emergent Elites and Feminist Scholarship

  • Katelin Albert
Article

Abstract

Stephen Turner’s rich and informative history navigates the complex and changing landscape of American Sociology. He discusses how political, social, and academic conditions enabled varying forms of sociology and what epistemological and methodological impacts these conditions had on different schools of sociology. Turner’s book asks readers to reflect on what sociology is and what place elite and nonelite sociology should have in the discipline. Turner emphasizes the role of feminist sociology and “activist scholarship,” arguing that current sociology is one where we have in part returned to our early 20th century reformist roots. This paper expands Turner’s conversation about the contributions of feminist sociology. I offer this critique to function as an entry point through which to contemplate what elite sociology is, and how it relates to feminist sociology. I argue that Turner under-explores the contributions of feminist sociology by reducing its contributions to advocacy-based scholarship. By placing feminist sociology in opposition to elite sociology, he simplifies the important discussion of elite sociology, and loses sight of feminist sociology’s theoretical and methodological strengths. Highlighting aspects of intersectional theory and institutional ethnography, I argue that new elites have emerged in opposition, contrast, and conjunction to the elite that Turner describes, and I hope to further a dialogue on what constitutes “elite” sociology.

Keywords

Feminist sociology Intersectionality Institutional ethnography Sociologists for women in society Elite sociology 

Notes

Acknowledgments

I would like to thank Stephen Turner for inviting me to critically reflect on his book and the history he presents. I also thank Linda Derksen, Neil McLaughlin, Hae Yeon Choo, and Zaheer Baber for their very helpful comments on earlier drafts of this paper. All errors remain mine.

References

  1. Albert, K. (2014). Erasing the social from social science: The intellectual costs of boundary-work and the Canadian institute of health research. Canadian Journal of Sociology, 39(3), 393–420.Google Scholar
  2. Choo, H. Y., & Ferree, M. M. (2010). Practicing intersectionality in sociological research: A critical analysis of inclusions, interactions, and institutions in the study of inequalities. Sociological Theory, 28(2), 129–149.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Collins, P. H. (1990). Black feminist thought: Knowledge, consciousness and the politics of empowerment. New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  4. Crenshaw, K. (1991). Mapping the margins: Intersectionality, identity politics, and violence against women of color. Stanford Law Review, 43(6), 1241–1299.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. McCall, L. (2005). The complexity of intersectionality. Signs, 30(3), 1771–1800.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Naples, N. A. (2013). Sustaining democracy: Localization, globalization, and feminist praxis. Sociological Forum, 28(4), 657–681.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Smith, D. E. (2005). Institutional ethnography: A sociology for people. Lanham: Altamira Press.Google Scholar
  8. Turner, S. (2013). American sociology: From pre-disciplinary to post-normal. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.Google Scholar
  9. Yuval-Davis, N. (2006). Intersectionality and feminist politics. European Journal of Women’s Studies, 13, 193–209.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Zinn, M. B., & Dill, B. T. (1996). Theorizing difference from multiracial feminism. Feminist Studies, 22(2), 321–331.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of TorontoTorontoCanada

Personalised recommendations