The history of sociology overwhelmingly focuses on 'the winners' from the classical 'canon' - Marx, Durkheim, and Weber - to today's most celebrated sociologists. This book strikingly demonstrates that restricting sociology in this way impoverishes it as a form of historically reflexive knowledge and obscures the processes and struggles of sociology's own making as a form of disciplinary knowledge. Sociological Amnesia focuses on singular contributions to sociology that were once considered central to the discipline but are today largely neglected. Chapters explore the work of illustrious predecessors such as Raymond Aron, Erich Fromm and G.D.H. Cole as well as examining exceptional cases of reputational revival as in the case of Norbert Elias or Gabriel Tarde. Through understanding the obstacles of recognition faced by female sociologists like Viola Klein and Olive Schreiner, and public intellectuals like Cornelius Castoriadis, the volume considers the reasons why certain kinds of sociology are hailed as central to the discipline, whilst others are forgotten. In so doing, the collection offers fresh insights into not only the work of individual sociologists, but also into the discipline of sociology itself - its trajectories, forgotten promises, and dead ends.
Table of Contents
Sociological Amnesia: An Introduction, 1. British Sociology and Raymond Aron, 2. Two Men, Two Books, Many Disciplines: Robert N. Bellah, Clifford Geertz, and the Making of Iconic Cultural Objects, 3. Erich Fromm: Studies in Social Character, 4. From Literature to Sociology: The Shock of Celine’s Literary Style and Viola Klein’s Attempt to Understand it (With a Little Help from Karl Mannheim), 5. Olive Schreiner, Sociology and the Company she Kept, 6. Lucien Goldmann's Key Sociological Problems and his Critical Heritage: From the Hidden God to the Hidden Class, 7. G.D.H. Cole: Sociology, Politics, Empowerment and ‘How to be Socially Good’, 8. Social Monads, Not Social Facts: Gabriel Tarde’s Tool for Sociological Analysis, 9. Alasdair MacIntyre’s Lost Sociology, 10. Castoriadis and Social Theory: From Marginalization to Canonization to Re-Radicalization, 11. Norbert Elias: Sociological Amnesia and ‘The Most Important Thinker You Have Never Heard Of’’
Alex Law is Professor of Sociology at Abertay University, UK. He is the author of Social Theory for Today: Making Sense of Social Worlds, and Key Concepts in Classical Social Theory.
Eric Royal Lybeck is completing his doctoral research in the Department of Sociology at University of Cambridge, UK.