- Subject index
C. Wright Mills' classic The Sociological Imagination has inspired generations of students to study Sociology. However, the book is nearly half a century old. What would a book address, aiming to attract and inform students in the 21st century? This is the task that Steve Fuller sets himself in this major new invitation to study Sociology. The book: " critically examines the history of the social sciences to discover what the key contributions of Sociology have been and how relevant they remain " demonstrates how biological and sociological themes have been intertwined from the beginning of both disciplines, from the 19th century to the present day " covers virtually all of sociology's classic theorists and themes " provides a glossary of key thinkers and concepts. This book sets the agenda for imagining Sociology in the 21st century and will attract students and professionals alike.
My starting point is that sociology, as the flagship discipline of the social sciences, is suffering from an identity crisis. The crisis is epitomized by those both in and out of academia who wonder what the field adds that cannot be already gleaned from the humanities and/or the natural sciences. Even if this question lacked a serious intellectual basis, it would still have a firm institutional basis – especially when universities happily restructure departments in response to market pressures. It is much too easy to justify the existence of sociology simply by pointing to the availability of large research grants and student enrolments. For those solely concerned with maximizing demand, the next question is not how to bolster sociology but how to find more ...