The Decline of Sociology

28 November 2006 at 3:46 pm 1 comment

| Peter Klein |

Anthony Giddens, writing in the (UK) Guardian, worries that academic sociology “has disappeared from public view.”

Take the debate about globalisation, a debate which is an example of itself, because it is going on all over the world. Haven’t sociologists contributed significantly to this discussion? Indeed they have, but it has been driven far more by economists — such as Joseph Stiglitz — or those in the field of international relations. What about the impact of the communications revolution? Sociologists — notably the Spanish author, Manuel Castells, have written important works on the issue. But I don’t believe sociology has been the main source of contributions to the field.

Giddens suggests that decline of sociology stems from (a) the rise of “market fundamentalism” and (b) “the impotence many people feel in the face of the future.” Both explanations strike me as facile. But perhaps the essay will stimulate a thoughtful response from some of our sociologically inclined readers. (HT: Mark Thoma.)

Update: Brayden’s head is spinning. 

Entry filed under: - Klein -, Institutions.

Co-Authors From Hell Patently Absurd: Ham Sandwich Edition

1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. Tom  |  30 November 2006 at 2:41 pm

    I must admit, from this angle it appears economists are losing on the globalization/free trade debate. The most well-known economist talking about globalization is Joesph Stiglitz–who is more cautious than the rest of the academic economists. Thomas Friedman, an international relations expert, is probably the best popularly known pro-free trade intellectual. Other pro-free trade economists, even Jagdish Bhagwati, have been eclipsed by Mr Friedman.

    For example, there was a debate on globalization between Mr Friedman and Mr Stiglitz. In the Q&A, the audience seemed more interested in Mr Friedman’s opinion.

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