The Shape of Sociology

A. H. Halsey

in A History of Sociology in Britain

Published in print March 2004 | ISBN: 9780199266609
Published online April 2004 | e-ISBN: 9780191601019 | DOI:
The Shape of Sociology

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There was a dramatic expansion of numbers but was there a parallel multiplication of theory and methods of research in the twentieth century? An answer is attempted here based on content analysis of the three main British journals of sociology from 1910 to 2000. The limitations of content analysis are stressed (see also Claire Donovan, Appendix 3 below). A multiplication of sub‐disciplines as well as new disciplines (e.g. social policy) emerged in the second half of the century together with temporary fashions. Of the 38 fields or areas of study into which sociology may be divided, 8 were prominent in the mainstream journals – stratification, social theory, social policy, religion, education, political sociology, economic organization, occupations, and gender. The fortunes of these sub‐disciplines fluctuated during the century. Some authors believe that the old orthodoxy is now being replaced by social and cultural theory; others vigorously deny this thesis. Fragmentation is a notable feature of journal production in the twentieth century. As to method, quantification and qualification have contended throughout the century, both with increasing sophistication.

Social policy became a separate discipline, Marxism and Feminism became strong, the former in the sixties, the latter after the seventies.

Keywords: feminism; qualitative method; quantitative method; social policy; stratification; R. M. Titmuss

Chapter.  8851 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: UK Politics

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