The American Sociologist

, Volume 47, Issue 1, pp 115–130 | Cite as

How Ideology Has Hindered Sociological Insight

Article

Abstract

American sociology has consistently leaned toward the political Left. This ideological skew hinders sociological insight in three ways. First, the scope of research projects is constrained: sociologists are discouraged from touching on taboo topics and ideologically unpalatable facts. Second, the data used in sociological research have been limited. Sociologists neglect data that portray conservatives positively and liberals negatively. Data are also truncated to hide facts that subvert a liberal narrative. Third, the empathic understanding of non-liberal ideologies is inhibited. Sociologists sometimes develop the erroneous belief that they understand alternative ideologies, and they fail to explore non-liberal ways of framing sociological knowledge. Some counterarguments may be raised against these theses, and I address such counterarguments.

Keywords

Sociology of knowledge Sociology of ideas American sociology Ideology Methodology 

Notes

Acknowledgments

I thank John Boli and Christian Smith for their comments on earlier drafts.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Emory UniversityAtlantaUSA

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