For Humanist Sociology

Andrew Abbott

in Public Sociology

Published by University of California Press

Published in print June 2007 | ISBN: 9780520251373
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520940758 | DOI:
For Humanist Sociology

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This chapter argues that instrumental and reflexive knowledge should be deployed together. It holds that the exclusion of reflexivity from any sociology would constitute a disastrous error. Sociology is inevitably value-laden, not only because people are all embedded within particular standpoints, but because the social process is itself a process of values: not so much in the knower as in the known. All categories of analysis are shaped by values, and to pretend otherwise is to create bad sociology. The chapter argues that sociological research must always be both instrumental and reflexive. In contrast to a distinctive public sociology, Abbott calls for a consistently humanist sociology which requires one to consider and modify categories and analyses continuously in order to take a moral stance as sociologists.

Keywords: instrumental knowledge; reflexive knowledge; social process; sociological research; public sociology; humanist sociology

Chapter.  6266 words. 

Subjects: Comparative and Historical Sociology

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