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For interdisciplinarity and a disciplined, professional sociology

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Sociology has been said to be in crisis: it is fragmented; its institutional life is threatened; it is obsessed with its history; it keeps forgetting its history. Meanwhile, a widespread movement is pushing it in the direction of increasing interdisciplinarity, or even post-disciplinarity, accusing disciplines of being parochial or imperialist, or of stifling innovation. But accusations of parochialism and fragmentation are continually met by calls to remember or redefine sociology's core and to defend a professional sociology that can engage in public debates in an informed way. This article explores interdisciplinarity through my own interdisciplinary story and concludes that interdisciplinarity can and should be embraced, but needs to be matched with a disciplined sociology. That disciplined sociology needs a professional and institutional space in which to reaffirm and develop the foundations and later developments attributable to a general conception of sociology. What is central to this general conception of sociology is a scientific emphasis on the complex interrelationship between actions and structures. Interdisciplinary work rarely leaves space for the continued examination of this fundamental realm.
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Keywords: disciplines; interdisciplinarity; sociology; structuration

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Loughborough University, UK

Publication date: 01 June 2009

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