Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Pure Sociology

"Do you want to be purely sociological? Do you want to theorize about social life without being ideological, teleological, and psychological? Do you want to create theory that is testable, general, simple, valid, and original? If so, you should carefully engineer the social structure of your work. In particular, you should find a theoretical location in social space: Exploit the literature of anthropology and history, shifting from one subject to another, constantly widening your territory. Do nothing but theory, consuming the facts gathered by researchers, explaining their findings, testing your ideas, while never becoming highly intimate with any single subject. Finally, you should banish the person to psychology and study only the behavior of social life.
Pure sociology thus provides a pure methodology. Obey these commandments (Black
1) Leave home: Find subjects in other times and places.
2) Be a nomad : Move from subject to subject.
3) Be a parasite: Subsist on the findings of others.
4) Avold intimacy: Do not get too close to your subject.
5) Avoid people: Study social life."

from: "The Purification of Sociology", Donald Black, 2000.


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