The book of Josep Picó presents an overview of sociology for over three decades, fundamental in its development, which interrelates the historical context-social with the institutional reconstruction of the discipline. Using heterogeneous sources -biographies, theories, controversies, works of criticism and research, gives a coherent picture of the evolution of the social theory and the dialogue between its main protagonists, as well as of the expansion during those years of the social research techniques and the discussions on the method. Configured this way an overview of the main streams of sociology, based on their categories, and delimiting their borders in the field of the social sciences, the time that constitutes as a response to the demands of social change.
The golden years of sociology aims to show an overview of the discipline that interrelacione that historical context-social with their avatars internal both in what refers to its rebuilding after the Second World War (cap 1), as the prominence of sociology american in its funding and re-launch (hold 2), the importance and expansion of the techniques of social research, as well as the discussion on the most appropriate methodology to read objectively the reality (chaps. 3 and 4). The focus of the analysis was, in those years, the process of industrialization accelerated, linked to the expansion and economic growth (hold 5), although also other areas such as politics, urbanism, or the means of social communication were addressed with amplitude.
The theory had been concerned at their most visible by the configuration of the new social order, the foundations of power and democracy, the role of ideas and the process of modernization, whose failure led to the crisis of the seventies, which resulted in the frustration of the hopes that had been placed in the discourse of modernity and the social fragmentation that brought him to power few years after to the right (chaps. 6, 7 and 8). As a consequence, the discourse of post-modernism, guided by the disenchantment resulted in the privacy and individualism. But the theory is also interested in aspects more complex and ambitious social analysis, as they reveal some of the controversial most important of this period focused on the forms and the validity of social knowledge –positivism– (Lazarsfeld and Popper versus Adorno), in the use of the techniques applied to the social behavior -andl conductivismo– (Dahl and Almond versus Mills) or on the determinants of structural and non-human action –the structuralism– (Touraine and Boudon versus Bourdieu), which at first sight seem to be discussions, very speculative, but observed more closely are translated into political practices, as we saw in connection of some representatives of positivism with the German social democracy, of the behaviorism with the american Administration or of structuralism with the colonial policy.
[…] sociology has managed to settle in this historical period [1945-1975] a body of knowledge that constitute the backbone of the discipline, and against those who still consider a science “parasitic” -all the social sciences are parasitic – or against those who ignore their constitution, has been set up as a branch of knowledge essential if we are to better understand the world around us.
Brief review about the author
Josep Picó is a Professor of Sociology, has been a researcher at the Ecole des Hautes Ètudes en Sciences Sociales in Paris, and is a Life Member of Clare Hall College of Cambridge. Among his publications we can find: Theories on the Welfare State (1999) and The limits of european social democracy (1992).