THE POLITICAL ECONOMICS OF SOCIAL RESEARCH: THE CASE OF SOCIOLOGY.
Contributor(s)BUREAU OF SOCIAL SCIENCE RESEARCH INC WASHINGTON D C
KeywordsSociology and Law
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AbstractAn analysis is presented of the ways in which economic allocations to sociological research affect the organization of the field and the problems with which it is concerned. Given the public value character of sociological research, political-economic models are those applied. Establishing allocations to sociological work confronts difficulties which are characteristic of any common-value, nondistributive economic activity; other difficulties more particularly characteristic of knowledge-production; yet others which are generally true of the social sciences; and some which are peculiar to sociology. The historical growth of the field is discussed in terms of modes by which the economic claims of sociology have been legitimated. Direct and indirect federal financial support has been of central and continually increasing importance. In its early forms, relations to government tended to move sociological activity in the direction of a cameralistic discipline, but more recent developments have strengthened its academic, theoretical, nomothetic orientations. The relations of the social sciences to the defense establishment in the Cold War period were instrumental in this shift of emphasis. Current and future developments in sociology are discussed in terms of changes and attenuations of the forms of political consensus which, in the past, structured the economic bases of the field. (Author)