What is Sociology for?

But, sometimes, asking what something is ‘for’ can, if understood as an expository tactic, a starting-point rather than a ruling, be a means of helping us to clear away the discursive debris that accumulates round any widely used category. The very asking of the question in this slightly over-insistent, finger-jabbing form may be enough to encourage reflection to cut through the incidental clutter and begin to wonder what kind of response could count as a useful answer. From then on, it is probably sensible not to try to press the question further in this narrow form, but to let rumination extend itself, brooding on the diversity that may shelter under a single term, pondering a series of characterizations or historical instances rather than seeking a single defining proposition.

– What are Universities For? by Stefan Collini

Collini asks this questions of universities in general. But let’s think of sociology in particular: what is Sociology for?

Categories: Committing Sociology

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