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The ‘New Sociology’ was proclaimed some years ago. Growing mainly out of the work of C. Wright Mills it was connected, through him, with the doctrines and movements of the New Left in the later 1950s and early 1960s. But just as the New Left grew old quite quickly, and was supplanted by still newer movements. So also the New Sociology, without ever having established itself properly as a distinct style of social thought, has been pushed aside by yet more recent attempts to give the discipline a fresh orientation

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In less than a decade. We have had ‘critical sociology’, ‘radical sociology’, and such innovations. Less closely tied to political commitments, as ethnomethodology and structuralism – not to speak of the Sociology Liberation Movement, which is perhaps more a mode of feeling than of thinking. Now Alvin Goulder offers us yet another diversion in the shape of ‘reflexive sociology’, or the sociologist contemplating his own navel.

This proliferation and rapid circulation of doctrines can easily be taken as the sign of an intellectual crisis. Accompanying a crisis in social life which manifests itself in diverse movements of protests and opposition and in sporadic rebellions…

By T. B. Bottomore.

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