From: The Chronicle [mailto:daily@...
Sent: Friday, October 04, 2002 5:00 AM
To: Chronicle Daily Report
Subject: 10/4/2002 Daily Report from The Chronicle of Higher Education
ACADEME TODAY: The Chronicle of Higher Education's
Daily Report for subscribers
Here are news bulletins from The Chronicle of Higher Education
for Friday, October 4.
MAGAZINES & JOURNALS
A glance at the October issue of "First Things":
The decline of sociology
Sociology is not what it used to be, observes Peter L. Berger,
director of the Institute on Religion and World Affairs at
Boston University. It has evolved into little more than a
political instrument in which methods are valued over content.
Statistical analysis -- a useful, but limited, tool -- dominates
most sociological research, he argues. This "methodological
fetishism has resulted in many sociologists using increasingly
sophisticated methods to study increasingly trivial topics." The
interests of those who finance sociology research, he says,
overshadow the more significant "big questions" within the
Even more devastating is sociology's transformation into "an
instrument of agitation and propaganda" for leftist causes,
according to Mr. Berger. "The core scientific principle of
objectivity has been ignored in practice and denied validity in
theory." Not even inconsistent logic, he says, can compete with
this "ideological amalgam ... of Marxist provenance."
"Here and there one can still find sociologists doing excellent
work," he writes. "But the contributions of these sociologists,
none of whom have created anything resembling a school of
thought, only serve to underline the overall depressing
condition of this discipline."
Information about the journal is available to all, and articles
are available to subscribers, at http://www.firstthings.com/
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