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The Study of Man: What is Sociology's Job?

- Abstract

THE recent annual meeting of the American Sociological Society in Chicago (Hotel Stevens, December 27- 30) brought together perhaps 1,000 people who call themselves sociologists-mostly professors, instructors, and graduate students, but also government employees and researchers on the staffs of foundations. This typical gathering, coming hard upon a year of fairly thorough reading of the sociological journals for this department, irresistibly tempts this writer to generalizations- I hope not too hasty or undocumented-on the present state of the profession, and upon how (and how well) American sociology is holding up its end as a division in the growing army of social science.

Chicago seems inevitably to play host to a number of these official get-to-gethers held by almost every scholarly society around Christ- mas and New Year’s. This year at the Stevens Hotel, while sociologists were registering at one end of a corridor, geologists were finishing up business at the other. Newcomers getting into the wrong end of the corridor were immediately aware of their error. Obviously these prosperous, self-assured men, who would have looked quite at home at a business association convention, were no sociologists.

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