Re: Wither sociology? <debate> <long>

Nils Zurawski (zurawsk@UNI-MUENSTER.DE)
Fri, 23 Feb 1996 21:17:03 +0100

Hi John and all the others out there,

John quote:
>"Sociology is loaded with specialized jargon, say some critics both
>within and outside of the profession, while others are quick to
>label easily readable sociological research as mere journalism.
>Sociology is divided into too many specialized fiefdoms, goes
>another argument, but others insist that generalization isn't
>sufficiently scientific. But these debates may merely be symptoms
>of a deeper problem still: Sociology is neither a 'pure' life science
>like biology or chemistry, nor simply a research-driven social
>reform movement. Comfortable in neither the natural sciences
>nor the humanities, sociology has never been able to agree upon
>its mission or methods. From its very inception it has been a
>'impossible science' torn between the ideals of scientific
>objectivity and humanistic reform-mindednes. The pressing need
>on the part of funding-hungry sociology department to resolve
>this tension in one direction or the other is a crippling problem."

Yes this does sound familiar and shows the difficulties sociology nad
anthrpology have to the present day.

I c0nsider myself to be a sociologist, though I am also very strong
oriented towards ethnology, needless to say I appreciate very much the
works of some British social anthrpologists.

In Germany the deparrtments are very much seperated. The last combined
institute of soc and anthro was closed in 1972 (I believe), due to
political quarrels.

Today the combination, boundary crossing takes place here and there,
whereever people are willing to have a look on the other side.
I wouldn't go as far as to say abonden all the labels and fuse into one big
new science, as there are still edges where it would be possible to expand
further, e.g. biology, etc.

But to get a better view on a lot of things a 'together' in research and
theory would help a lot.

I always have a hard time seperating the two disciplines considering my
work and thinking about things. Sociology often tends to be very narrow in
focus, whereas anthropology (I think) lacks profound theoretical
understanding about state, power etc. in a Weberian sense, again British
social anthropology has found at least one way out here.

Although Durkheim is claimed to be the founder (or theoretical father) of
both disciplines anthropologists rarlxy know 'The suicide', and vice versa
sociologist (often) don't know anything about the religion stuff and the
following works by Mauss, Hertz etc.

In this regard I want to contribute to what John named 'do we read what we
In 'Theory and society' 24 (pp163-191) 1995 I found an article on secular
Rituals entitled: Resonance and Reveberation: Ritual and Bureaucracy in the
State Funerals of the French Third Republic, by Avner Ben-Amos and Eyal

This is a good example of how sociology and anthropology can and must go
together to understand better the things that move us on a larger scale.

Thats all for now.