History Department
History Department

Alumnus, David Paul Haney, is publishing book on sociology's isolation

Mon, September 10, 2007

The book, "The Americanization of Social Science," examines a critical period in the evolution of American sociology from the end of World War II through the early 1960s.

Professor Michael Buraway, Department of Sociology, University of California, Berkeley commented that the book "is written so beautifully, so engagingly, and Haney is so widely read in the sociology and context of the 1950s, that this is both a wonderful social history of the discipline and, at the same time, an astute sociological analysis of the field's consolidation....This is sure to further stimulate the debate about public sociology."

Haney maintains that during the immediate postwar period, as American sociology began to enter the academic mainstream and acquire substantial institutional support, its leading practitioners encouraged a withdrawal from public engagement in the name of establishing sociology's scientific integrity.

At the same time, the politically-charged atmosphere of McCarthyism at home and totalitarianism abroad led many key sociologists to conclude that the inhabitants of a modern mass society were incapable of comprehending sociological discourse in any case, a conclusion that reinforced the idea that sociology as a scientific pursuit would necessarily remain an exclusionary activity.

The resulting insularity of American sociology, Haney notes, has persisted well past this period, and therefore his study addresses the roots of the discipline's often marginal presence in American public life to the present day.

Haney's book will be published in January 2008 from Temple University Press.

David Paul Haney received his Ph.D. from UT's Department of History in 1998. His dissertation was entitled Democratic Ideals, Scientific Identities, and the Struggle for a Public Sociology in the United States, 1945-1962 and was supervised by Prof. William H. Goetzmann. He is currently an Adjunct Professor at Austin Community College and St. Edward's University in Austin, Texas.

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