The long-standing divide between sociology as an activist discipline vs. sociology as a science is examined in light of the current trend for US sociology focus on a limited set of justice issues resulting from inequalities and discrimination against certain categories of persons. Increasingly, this trend is pushing sociology toward become an activist discipline and, as a result, an ideologically-oriented discipline in its teaching and research activities. The outcome of this trend is the growing marginalization of those committed to sociology as a science in departments and academic meetings, resulting in demoralization of sociology’s scientists and their escalating concern over their fate in a discipline increasingly mimicking a social movement organization. Even more damaging to sociology will be a loss of respect inside academia and a loss of relevance among publics not sharing American sociology’s political biases.
Jonathan Turner (2019): The More American Sociology Seeks to Become a Politically-Relevant Discipline, the More Irrelevant it Becomes to Solving Societal Problems. The American Sociologist 50: 456–487. (gated paper)