Chapter

Epilogue in Eight Essays

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: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/0199266603.003.0012
Epilogue in Eight Essays

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I chose seven contemporary figures in British sociology, representing what I took to be the various current strands in the subject. They were Bauman, Crouch, Giddens, Oakley, Platt, Runciman, and Westergaard. What, given the foregoing attempt, would you have done if asked to write a history of sociology in Britain in the twentieth century? It then occurred to me that I should answer the same question, which opens the chapter. I had not seen their answers nor they mine.

Their answers are largely autobiographical though Crouch writes most obviously in a European context. All are optimistic about the future of the subject and most are regretful about its past. I am rather pessimistic about its future, fearing especially the threat of Max Steuer's ‘pretend social science’; but rather less condemnatory of its past. Perhaps it is or was ‘a moment in history’; perhaps it will again be a source of ‘public intellectuals’ (Giddens) or even ‘a discipline of unchallenged scientific and scholarly standing’ (Runciman).

Keywords: Bauman; Crouch; Giddens; Halsey; Oakley; Platt; Runciman; Westergaard

Chapter.  10592 words. 

Subjects: UK Politics

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