Albion Small (Transl. by: Alexander Kovalev )

What is a Sociologist?

2009, vol. 8, No. 1, pp. 3–9 [issue contents]
Albion Small was the head of the first in the USA and worldwide university department of sociology (1892) and founder of the first professional sociologists’ journal (1895). Fighting with the wide audience’s wrong opinions and jealous preconceptions of specialists in venerable and accepted social sciences for identity of sociology, he tries to specify what does it mean to be a sociologist. Contrary to the opinion of the audience, it is necessary to differentiate sociologists from practical social workers and not to reduce the activity of the former to attendance of rookery, organization of charity, trusteeship over the poor and other socially unsuccessful elements. The specificity of sociologists’ engagement is not reducible to residual concrete topics not brought up by other social sciences. This specificity must be looked for in the use of definite method of research of social facts. The author calls this method philosophical, but its description is similar to what later will be called the system approach. The decisive point of sociological position, according to Small, lies within the art to contemplate and evaluate every particular aspect or fragment of social life in the past, present or future with its relations and mutual influences with other manifestations of human life in general. Such «master» has the right for the title of sociologist irrespective of his self-entitlement as economist, political scientist etc. In the context of this generalized definition of method author differentiates types (generic categories) of sociologists: from ones dealing with wide generalizations, to the interested in urgent concrete improvements, but following the standards of scientific method. In the end of the article questions of interrelation between professional «technical» language of sociology and ordinary language of perception of social facts by the public, and dangerous trespasses proclaimed from the name of sociology and provoking to ideologically crude mass movements, are considered. Author makes a call for delimitation, during the outset of sociological science, with the task of development of exact formulations of social problems and valid methods of their resolution.
Citation: Small Albion (2009) Chto takoe sotsiolog? [] The Russian Sociological Review, 1, pp. 3-9 (in Russian)
The Russian Sociological Review
Office A-205
21/4 Staraya Basmannaya Ulitsa, Building 1
Deputy Editor: Marina Pugacheva
Rambler's Top100 rss