Chapter

Sociology in America: An Introduction

Craig Calhoun

in Sociology in America

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print March 2007 | ISBN: 9780226090948
Published online February 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226090962 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7208/chicago/9780226090962.003.0001
Sociology in America: An Introduction

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This chapter traces the development of the field of sociology in the United States from the late nineteenth century onwards. Sociology drew its specifically scientific claims at first largely from evolutionary theory and then increasingly from empirical research, including the development of statistics. Economics and sociology both emerged as disciplines within this broad context, with many members minimally engaged with scientific theory and maximally engaged with social reform. If “liberal” market theory would eventually become clearly dominant in economics, this destiny was by no means obvious in the late nineteenth century. And sociology, in any case, would remain enduringly divided over the primacy of scientific pursuit of generalizable, lawlike knowledge versus engagement with social problems and social change.

Keywords: sociology; United States; evolution; economics; social reform; social change; social problems

Chapter.  16988 words. 

Subjects: Comparative and Historical Sociology

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