Chapter

From Relevance to Irrelevance: The Curious Impact of the Sixties on Public Sociology

Doug McAdam

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/9780226090962.003.0011
From Relevance to Irrelevance: The Curious Impact of the Sixties on Public Sociology

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This chapter examines the impact of the 1960s on contemporary sociology. Specifically, it seeks to highlight and tease out the links between several sixties trends that over the years have served to transform the discipline from one known for its “relevance” to a field largely hostile to “applied” work and increasingly irrelevant to a set of real-world constituents about whom sociologists profess to care deeply. These trends include the rapid expansion of the field; the leftward drift of American sociology; the growth and changing nature of American Sociological Association sections; the emergence/transformation of specific subfields; and the devaluation of “applied” work.

Keywords: American sociology; contemporary sociology; 1960s; sociologists; American Sociological Association; subfields

Chapter.  6351 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Comparative and Historical Sociology

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