Category Archives: General Sociology

Collaborationist Sociology?

I have been reading Patrick Baert’s excellent study, The Existential Moment, which charts Sartre’s rise to intellectual status and fame in mid-1940s France and concludes with a more general sociological account of intellectuals. In Chapter Three Baert rehearses Sartre’s analysis of ‘collaborationist intellectuals’ in the aftermath of WW2. What was it to collaborate under German… Read More »

Types of Action Sociology/Sociologist

I have elsewhere added two further types of sociology to Burawoy’s quartet. I have also suggested that each of his four and my two might be associated with a particular type of sociologist and of reasoning. Thus: professional sociology is associated with the scholar and cumulative theory; policy sociology with the reformer and utilitarian theory;… Read More »

Sociology: SO Important

I have delivered a number of blogs characterizing my view of sociology. I have in particular maintained that it is part and parcel of what Habermas called lifeworld rationalization (in other words, that it is rationally and morally allied to representing and projecting justice and solidarity into the public sphere). I have argued too that… Read More »

John Goldthorpe and Critical Realism

I have always been an admirer of the subtle, no-nonsense Weberian sociology of John Goldthorpe. Now he has written a volume on sociology ‘as a population science’ that leads me to reflect on the apparently narrowing gap between his notion of sociology and that promulgated by critical realists like me. He would, I suspect, be… Read More »

Classes, Elites, Mills & 21st Century UK

The Power Elite Since the publication of C Wright Mills (1956) seminal The Power Elite times have changed: the elite-versus-mass industrial society of the USA in the 1950s differs in many ways from post-industrial Britain in the second decade of the 21st century. There have been several mentions of Mills’ text during the present era… Read More »

Class AND/OR Gender, Ethnicity Etc

In much of what I have written in formal academic publications or in blogs the focus has been on social class (as in the class/command dynamic that characterises financial capitalism and, for me, constitutes its chief generative mechanism). I have had much less to say about gender, ethnicity and so on. There is a rationale… Read More »

Shame and Blame: Moving On

I have become accustomed to writing blogs as thought-in-progress, typically in a café or bar. This one is no exception. What is slightly different however is that it is entirely spontaneous. I have given its subject matter no thought prior to opening my laptop. It is about stigma and deviance. I have previously commended an… Read More »

The Inductivist Human

Bertrand Russell once told a story with a purpose behind it. Imagine, he wrote, that a turkey wakes up each morning to a rising sun, a feed and, well, the prospect of a mundane but decent enough day. As the days pile up his sense of security and comfort grows. Then, out of the blue… Read More »

Familiarity Bonds

A few years back, in 2012, I published a paper (in ‘Medical Sociology Online’, Vol 6 Issue 3) with an old mate, Aksel Tjora, on what we called ‘familiarity bonds’. I liked it perhaps more than I should. But then I still like it! Our central hypothesis was that associations of the familiar have more… Read More »

Triggers for Social Change

Perhaps the paramount research question confronting sociologists today is: why is it that those being exploited and oppressed are not rising up? And as a follow-up: what are the most likely drivers of social change? In this blog I focus on the second question and consider and comment on several possible ‘drivers’. The primary characteristics… Read More »