- Omstreden wetenschap: goede en slechte sociologie
- Volume | Issue number
- 7 | 2
- Pages (from-to)
- Document type
- Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences (FMG)
- Amsterdam Institute for Social Science Research (AISSR)
Sociology has always been a controversial science, but not always in the same way and to the same degree. Optimism with respect to the growth and convergence of sociological knowledge, prevalent in the first decades after the Second World War, was shattered by the rise of sharp theoretical controversies related to the social turmoils of the Sixties and Seventies. This ‘crisis of sociology’ was answered by efforts to improve sociology’s damaged reputation as a serious science through careful empirical research. These efforts were partially successful, yet did not prevent a further pluralization of sociological theories. This article argues that, while theoretical pluralism within sociology is inevitable to some extent, there are basic sociological insights that make up the discipline’s core. They have been advanced in ‘figurational sociology’, but it is neither necessary nor desirable to connect them exclusively with this perspective. These basic insights can be regarded as belonging to the minimum standards for good sociology. The article gives examples of empirical and theoretical work in sociology that falls short to these standards. It argues for convergence around these standards which leaves room for plurality and controversy. A plea is made for a critical eclecticism that rejects theoretical dogmatism on the one hand, relativistic, nonselective eclecticism on the other.
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