Sociology at the End of History: Profession, Vocation and Critical Practice

The Challenge of Progress

ISBN: 978-1-78714-572-6, eISBN: 978-1-78714-571-9

ISSN: 0278-1204

Publication date: 26 November 2019


This chapter provides an immanent critique of sociology as a profession, vocation, and critical practice. Sociology today (in the US and around the globe) faces fierce social, economic, and political headwinds. The discipline continues to be a perilous choice as a vocation for independent researchers as much as the shrinking professoriate. Yet while the traditional functions of sociology are thrown into doubt, there has been an increase in critical practices on the part of some sociologists. As institutional norms, values, and traditions continue to be challenged, there will be passionate debates about the production of social worlds and the validity claims involved in such creation. Sociologists must play an active role in such discourse. Sociology is needed today as a mode of intervention as much as occupational status system or method of inquiry.




I would like the thank the helpful comments of Harry Dahms, Lawrence Hazelrigg, Daniel Kavish, and attendees at the “Sociology between a Profession and Vocation” session of the annual Southern Sociological Society in Greenville, SC (March 30–April 1, 2017), where an earlier draft of this chapter was presented.


Harrison, D.M. (2019), "Sociology at the End of History: Profession, Vocation and Critical Practice", The Challenge of Progress (Current Perspectives in Social Theory, Vol. 36), Emerald Publishing Limited, pp. 133-155.

Download as .RIS



Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2020 Emerald Publishing Limited

To read the full version of this content please select one of the options below

You may be able to access this content by logging in via Shibboleth, Open Athens or with your Emerald account.
If you think you should have access to this content, click the button to contact our support team.