Who Now Needs Sociology?: Transdisciplinarity Vs. Tradition
Keywords:Sociology, social theory, history of sociology, transdisciplinarity, traditionalism, public-political model of sociology, professional-organizational model of sociology
AbstractThe aim of the paper is to review the current Canadian debate about the future of sociology, centered on two sets of claims: William Carroll’s vision for a transdisciplinary future of the social science and humanities (i.e. the transdisciplinarity argument) (Carroll 2013); and Antony J. Puddephatt & Neil McLaughlin’s counter-vision for a sociology bound by its traditional disciplinary boundaries (i.e. the traditionalism argument) (Puddephatt and McLaughlin 2015). The paper provides an analysis of the debate in question and argues that Carroll’s and Puddephatt & Neil McLaughlin’s reflexive diagnostics regarding the future of sociology offer two distinct, and competing, understandings of the discipline’s nature, purpose and relevance, as well as two different sensibilities regarding an audience the discipline of sociology is, or ought to be, speaking to. In addition, an argument put forth is that Carroll’s public-political and Puddephatt & McLaughlin’s professional-organizational models of sociology have important implications both for mapping out the future trajectories of the discipline, and for gauging sociology’s role and position within, and relationship to, the ‘universe’ of society.
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