Formal Theory in Sociology

Opportunity or Pitfall?

Edited by Jerald Hage

Subjects: Science And Society
Series: SUNY series, The New Inequalities
Paperback : 9780791419526, 204 pages, September 1994
Hardcover : 9780791419519, 204 pages, September 1994

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Table of contents

Jerald Hage

Part 1: The Demise of Theory Construction

1. Did Social Science Break Down in the 1970s?
Randall Collins and David Waller

2. The Failure of Sociology to Institutionalize Cumulative Theorizing
Jonathan Turner

3. Sociological Theory: Complex, Fragmented, and Politicized
Jerald Hage

4. Sociological Theory: The Half-full Cup
Bernard P. Cohen

Part 2: Alternative Strategies for Developing Formal Theory

5. Resistance in Sociology to Formal Theory Construction
Jack P. Gibbs

6. Sociological Theory: What Has Gone Wrong and How to Put It Right: A View from Britain.
Peter Abell

7. What Have We Failed to Systematize Reality's Complexities?
Hubert M. Blalock, Jr.

8. Formal Theory Construction in Gender Sociology: An Unexploited Gold Mine of Possibilities
Janet Saltzman Chafetz

9. Constructing Bridges between Sociological Paradigms and Levels: Trying to Make Sociological Theory More Complex, Less Fragmented, and Less Politicized
Jerald Hage

Part 3: Implications for the Discipline

10. Recommendations from Jerald Hage

11. Recommendations from Jonathan Turner




A group of renowned sociological theorists analyze why the attempts to make sociological theory formal in the 1960s and early 1970s failed. This becomes not only an unusual and interesting analysis in the sociology of knowledge, but several of the articles move to the level of analyzing the entire discipline, explaining why positivism did not take hold and what are the distinctive characteristics of sociology as a discipline. Anyone interested in sociology as a discipline and more specifically sociological theory will find interesting analytical models.

Jerald Hage is at the Center for Innovation in the Department of Sociology at the University of Maryland at College Park.


"This volume exhibits the best current writing by some of the best scholars in sociology, including most all of the best formal theorists. " — Kenneth D. Bailey, University of California, Los Angeles

"Every sociologist should read this book, not only to understand the 'crisis in theory' that is being talked about today but, more importantly, as a challenge for their own research. Given the stature of the authors included in the book and the articulation of the major debates, this volume represents the best overview of where theory in sociology is today. While many of the authors have expressed their views in their own books and articles, I know of nowhere else where these ideas are collected in one source. " — Helen Rose Ebaugh, University of Houston