This article aims to bring out Durkheim's development of a pioneering sociology of the crowd, overlapping with yet going beyond psychological theories of the time. It begins by exploring the terminology used by Durkheim, colleagues and contemporaries in referring to crowds/gatherings/assemblies, and next asks about the social, political and intellectual context in which 'the crowd' became a key issue, as in the Dreyfus Affair and among writers such as Tarde. It then focuses on the issue's discussion in Durkheim's new journal, the Année sociologique, as well as in his own major works, but above all in Les Formes élémentaires de la vie religieuse, which offers a seminal, if concealed, sociology of the crowd.
Eduardo Cintra Torres
Robert Nisbet on Structure, Change, and Autonomy
The conservative sociologist Robert Nisbet developed a theory that history is needed to supplement sociology. According to Nisbet, the chiefagents of historical change are the state and war. Sociologists tend to exaggerate the importance of internal or"endogenous" factors when explaining change. The article highlights the relationships between key topics— such as conservatism, medievalism, community, universities, the state, and war—in Nisbet's thought.
Since its birth, but especially since its academic institutionalization, sociology has been plagued by a series of dualisms and dichotomies that seriously diminish the relevance of much of sociological work. To start with, there is the opposition of theoretical and empirical soci- ology; an opposition that should have been stillborn, as it is com- monplace that theoretical work without empirical evidence is arid, while empirical research without theory is spiritless and boring, but continues to survive and even thrive. There is also the division between substantive and methodological issues, creating the impres- sion of two separate realms and the illusion of a ‘free choice’ of method. One can continue with the contrast between methodological individualism and collectivism that in our days culminates in the var- ious debates around rational choice theory, but which is just the old debate between (neo-classical) economics and classical (Durk- heimian) social theory, in new clothes. Still further, there is the dilemma of dynamic versus static approaches, which could be for- mulated in the language of historical versus structural, or of genetic versus genetic. There is furthermore the dichotomy dominating so much of contemporary sociology, between agency and structure, which is just another way of posing the contrast between action and system, dominating the structural-functionalism of the 1950s and 1960s, or the even older opposition between object and subject and their dialectic, central for German idealist philosophy. At an even more general level, there is the question of the link between reality and thought, the extent to which thought and discourses can properly reproduce reality, or, on the contrary, the claims about the autonomy of discourse, or the independence of the text, a theme particular cher- ished by various postmodern approaches.
What went Wrong? Diagnoses and Remedies
In Sociological Theory: What went Wrong?: Diagnoses and Remedies (London: Routledge, 1995), Mouzelis provides a stunning and largely successful attempt to establish (or rather re-establish) sociological theory as a speciality within the social sciences which is progressively developing solutions within its own set agenda of concerns, and he then reviews a range of theoretical issues embedded within the work of a wide range of contemporary theorists in order to begin to build up this approach. Whereas many sociologists have rather ineffectively mourned sociology’s slipping from popularity in the recent period, Mouzelis not only provides an effective diagnosis of this situation but also offers a serious prescription to begin to cure the ills. To carry off his feat of derring-do Mouzelis has to descend into the very jaws of hell (post-structuralism) in order to snatch conceptual points which can then be used as levers to return sociology to its historical mission and to regain its formerly successful trajectory – which involves working against the very sources of the material he uses to rescue sociology!
This article is concerned with Durkheimian sociology’s problematization of war. Such concern is rooted in an appraisal of contemporary social scientific approaches to war and the military, particularly in the recognition that sociology has largely left these issues unexplored. I first attempt to situate the Durkheimian legacy in the current social scientific landscape of war and military studies, especially with regard to research conducted in France and the United States. I then argue, on the basis of Durkheim’s late writings, that he was not altogether oblivious to questions pertaining to the military and war; and that the way in which he addressed these issues was not just, as is often claimed, in a jingoistic mode. This article instead points towards the original analyses that Durkheim provided on the basis of concepts he had developed as early as in the Division of Labour and the centrality of the notion of ‘solidarity’ in his approach.
Beyond the Liberal Grammar of Contemporary Sociology
This article poses a simple question: why do marginalized Mizrahim, a group most likely to benefit from liberal justice and human rights, so vehemently and repeatedly reject the liberal message? To address this question, we shift the direction of inquiry from problems in the message’s transmission or reception to the message itself. By doing so, we seek to go beyond the ‘liberal grammar’ shared by most social activists and critical sociologists. The insight emerging from this theoretical turn is that the politics of universalism, rooted in the liberal grammar of human rights and viewed from the liberal standpoint as a key to social emancipation, is experienced by the target population as a heartless betrayal and a grave identity threat. This article offers the initial outline for a new interpretive space and seeks to surpass both the limits of the Israeli case and those of the liberal grammar of contemporary critical sociology.
The Museology of George Henri Rivière, Follower of Marcel Mauss
Raymond de la Rocha Mille
The Musée de l'Homme closed its ethnological collections to the public during April 2003, after years of failing to receive appropriate finances, which brought about the run-down state of its premises, a lack of qualified staff and a distressing intellectual and moral atmosphere (Heritage-Augé 1991). With its library in the process of dispersion and its galleries emptied and silent, it is difficult to understand the fascination that the museum has had on vast sections of the population and the convergence of artistic, philosophical and political expectations of its creators in the 1930s (see Karsenti 1997). This article explores the influence of the Durkheimian school of sociology in the shaping of the so-called 'myth of primitivism' (Rubin 1984; Hiller 1991). It also addresses the meaning and significance given to objects and to collections in the avant-garde circles close to the Musée de l'Homme and notably amongst the immediate friends and collaborators of the French museologist, Georges Henri Rivi´re. It was an ideology that could be characterized as an object-based and philosophically inspired anthropology shaped by the unique convergence of multiple and often conflicting politico- and socio-cultural streams existing in the France of the Third Republic. This article also focuses on the epistemological con-sequences of a museology of 'presence' in the context of a growing heterogeneous society and of an aesthetic of collage 'that valued the fragmented, curious collections, unexpected juxtapositions, that works to provoke the manifestation of extraordinary realities drawn from the domains of the erotic, the exotic and the unconscious' (Clifford 1994:118).
Jeffrey Alexander, Bernhard Giesen and Jason Mast (eds.), Social Performance: Symbolic Action, Cultural Pragmatics and Ritual, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2006, 374 pp.
Ron Eyerman and Lisa McCormick (eds.), Myth, Meaning, and Performance: Toward a New Cultural Sociology of the Arts, Boulder: Paradigm Publishers, 2006, 166 pp.
In addition to offering insight into the discipline of sociology, sociology of education textbooks constitute a major source of sociological knowledge. This article examines the scholarly content of Indonesian sociology of education textbooks by focusing on the degree of commonality between their core content and sources, and between their core content and academic scholarship. The results of this examination reveal a low level of commonality among the core contents of the seven selected textbooks—a heterogeneity that reflects not so much the plurality of Indonesian society and educational institutions or the application of sociological theories and approaches required by the Indonesian curriculum, but rather the diversity of the textbooks’ sources and their authors’ scholarly publication records.
Methods and Myths in Disciplinary History
In this article, I demonstrate how Max Gluckman used his forceful and charismatic leadership to build the reputation of the Manchester School through collective research and writing practices. He created a distinctly anthropological genealogy for the case-study method that elided its earlier development within American sociology. He also championed a balanced use of ethnographic and quantitative research methods and a team-based approach to carrying out social research. While the case-study method has received much attention, both of these latter aspects of the work carried out within the Manchester Department are a neglected part of its intellectual legacy.