Category Archives: General Sociology

Twitter, Blogs: 200th Blog. What!

As I approached retirement, my daughter Rebecca suggested I give thought to tweeting and blogging. I did, and they seemed infinitely better options than growing and entering shapely vegetables in the village show. My first blog, actually a year in advance of my leaving UCL, was on 30th October 2012. It was on what was… Read More »

Sociology and Stigma: An Overview

This is a revised version of an item written for Bill Cockerham’s Encyclopaedia of Medical Sociology a while back. Stigma, I noted somewhat uncontroversially, denotes the presence of an attribute that discredits its possessor. Since it is evident such attributes have varied by time and place, it is apparent that stigma and stigmatization necessarily involve… Read More »

Reflections on ‘Utopianism’

I have in previous blogs expressed strong reservations about using the notion utopianism, discerning in the use of the term a latent predilection for totalitarian blueprints. One of my blogs was challenged by Steve Hall, who argued that we precisely lack and need an injection of utopian thinking. Those who follow Steve on twitter will… Read More »

Reflexivity, Merton and Status and Role -Sets

Margaret Archer’s modes of reflexivity are ideal types. Although individuals may tend to settle enduringly into one or another mode, switches are possible and, I suspect, not uncommon. I have written and blogged quite insistently on Archer’s modes of reflexivity but cannot assume these have been picked up, so here’s a précis. In her Making… Read More »

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 »