Canada's impossible science: historical and institutional origins of the coming crisis in Anglo-Canadian sociology (1).
Resume: La sociologie canadienne anglaise vit une periode de debat interne intense et de transition de generation, et des signes de crise institutionnelle se manifestent a l'horizon. Cet article se veut un releve sociologique autoreferentiel de la sociologie canadienne anglaise mettant l'emphase sur son potentiel de developper une imagination sociologique critique et theoriquement variee, unique et a plusieurs methodes. Afin de stimuler d'autres recherches et debats eclaires et des explications historiques et institutionnelles sur la crise organisationnelle potentielle de la sociologie canadienne anglaise y sont enonces. Trois grandes explications y sont donnees en faisant appel a la sociologie de l'education, la sociologie historique comparative, l'analyse organisationnelle, la sociologie politique, l'histoire de la sociologie canadienne anglaise et la sociologie du savoir et des intellectuels, Au Canada anglais, la sociologie coure le risque de devenir << une science impossible >> en raison de la nature relativement monotone des etablissements d'enseignement superieurs canadiens, de la relation coloniale historique et contemporaine de cette discipline avec l'Angleterre et du point de depart de cette discipline darts l'agitation sociale des annees soixante dans une petite nation d'orientation social-democrate. On y suggere un dialogue ouvert et honnete sur l'avenir de la discipline parmi des generations de sociologues canadiens.
Recent discussions of the state of the discipline of sociology in English Canada suggest both a lively intellectual climate as well as a growing sense of institutional crisis. The American Sociologist and The Canadian Journal of Sociology, for example, recently both published special series on Canadian sociology (Brym 2002; Clement 2001; Cormier 2002; Cote, Jean-Francois and Daniel Dagenais 2002; Driedger 2001; Eichler 2002; Fournier 2002; Fournier 2001; Helmes-Hayes 2002; Hiller 2001; Hiller and Di Luzio 2001; Leroux 2001; Nock 2001; Nock 2002; Ogmundson 2002; Smith 2002; Stebbins 2001; Tindall and Wellman 2001; Wargon 2001). The Canadian Journal of Sociology On-Line has published biographical/thought pieces by the newest generation of Canadian sociologists that suggests a discipline with energy albeit one in transition and flux (Albert 2002; Beland 2002; Couton 2002; Conley 2002; Crocker 2003; Haythornthwaite 2002; Knaak 2002; Kowalchuk 2003; Westhaver 2002). Recent essays in Canadian sociology publications, however, also have sounded alarm bells about the institutional health of the discipline (Brym 2003; Curtis and Weir 2002).
What is the state of sociology in English Canada today? How can we develop a reflexive sociological account of the discipline itself with an eye to what lies ahead for its future? This essay will outline some of the potential strengths of Canadian sociology, discuss some of its core weaknesses and offer a sociological account of a coming institutional crisis in Anglo-Canadian sociology that can only be avoided with action based on analysis of the roots of its problems. The essay will end with five themes key to the revitalization of Anglo-Canadian sociology, as well as a number of practical suggestions.
Canada's Multi-Method and Political Sociological Imagination
Historians of the discipline have documented the contributions of specific Canadian sociologists and schools of thought (Brym with Fox 1989; Helmes-Hayes 2002; Hiller 1982; Nock 1983). While drawing on this extensive specialist literature as a relative outsider, I want to insist that we not construct "origin myths" about our discipline (for a discussion of the concept of "origin myths," as used by intellectual historians see McLaughlin 1999). A reflexive sociology requires that we think sociologically about our own history and intellectual achievements, and not repeat uncritically the conventional wisdom created during the 1970s and 1980s as Canadian sociology was consolidated. The discipline as a whole, in my view, brings three relatively unique qualities to the table in any interdisciplinary or international dialogue about the future of sociology and the social sciences: 1) a particularly diverse methodological orientation, with historical-comparative, statistical multivariate and ethnographic/interpretive approaches all having significant influence in the discipline 2) a political and critical tradition that remains in dialogue with an empirical research tradition 3) and a relatively unique vision and perspective forged on the margins of the American Empire, while still remaining basically sympathetic to the best elements of American society, social thought and research. The potential of Canadian sociology will be outlined below, before discussion of the institutional weakness of the discipline.
Two central themes in most accounts of the history and state of the discipline are the centrality of what Robert Alford has called the "historical-comparative" paradigm as well as the space that exists for ethnographic methods (Alford 1998). Canadian sociologists think historically about contemporary society, something less common south of the border because of American sociology's tendency to privilege statistical analysis and what Alford calls "multivariate theorizing." At the same time, Canadian sociology has also developed an indigenous tradition of qualitative research, begun first at McGill University under the influence of Carl Dawson and then Everett Hughes but continuing to this day throughout the country with a variety of ethnographic studies and a symbolic interactionist theoretical tradition (Atkinson 2003; Hiller 2001; Prus 1987; Prus 1996; Shaffir 1999; Shore 1987; Stebbins 1996). Empirical research on the teaching of sociology in Canada shows clearly that the discipline is more balanced in its methodological orientation than is sociology in the United States (Guppy and Arai 1994). Moreover, the discipline has gone further in promoting statistical analysis and mainstream oriented multivariate American style sociology than European nations (Gartrell and Gartrell 1996). Sociology at the numerous departments around the country has a history of and contemporary focus on multivariate sociology (although historically this is less so in Quebec), (Briand and Blais 1989). Canadian sociology is almost uniquely positioned to move the discipline further in the direction of the triangulation of data involving historical-comparative, interpretive and multivariate theories and methods.
A second major potential strength of the Canadian sociological tradition is its critical and left-wing traditions. (2) Canadian sociology has a political and critical edge that could make the discipline an exciting place to be. The Canadianization movement in the 1970s, moreover, was an explicit project for maintaining the autonomy of Canadian social sciences and humanities relative to the influence of scholarship and disciplines in the United States (Cormier 2002). The case has been made that feminism is particularly strong in Canadian sociology (Eichler 2002). It is thus probably no accident that Dorothy Smith's influential feminist sociology was forged largely during her tenure at the University of British Columbia and the University of Toronto. (3)
Anglo-Canadian sociology occupies a unique sociological and historical position relative to the United States that offers unique potential for insight. Canadian society is similar to the United States in numerous ways, and Canadian sociologists have a long history of importing American research methods, theories, scholars and integrating these efforts into the development of an indigenous academic tradition. Canadians and Canadian sociologists have the advantage of close links to the dominant global force in sociology today, while retaining a certain sociological and intellectual distance from the assumptions that dominate American culture and its sociology. As a consequence, Canadian sociology has been more open to various intellectual currents which are more marginalized within American sociology, including the "standpoint feminism" of Dorothy Smith, Marxist sociology and new developments in European social theory. An American who opposes the political climate in the United States and the general dominance of mainstream sociology in the American Sociological Association could find a comfortable political and intellectual asylum in the Great White North. Canada's "optimal marginality" both close to the intellectual energy, cultural capital and resources of American power but with a certain distance from American political, cultural and intellectual orthodoxy creates a potential space for intellectual innovations. (4) Erving Goffman's insights into the underside of American society were created, it should be remembered, by a Canadian outsider to the culture he analyzed with such brilliance (McGregor 1986).
Institutional Crisis: Strong Sociologists, Weak Sociology
Yet this potential has not been fully realized and Anglo-Canadian sociology is on the verge of institutional crisis. By an institutional crisis I am referring to the possibility that the national professional association for the discipline could lose viability as an organizational form. An Anglo-Canadian sociology in crisis would see a further de-coupling of sociology's academic publishing and disciplinary standards from the status and power dynamics operating in the professional association for the discipline, in the world of grants and in awards for scholarly excellence. In addition, departments across the country would relinquish relatively autonomous intellectual and organizational control of their scholarship, teaching and governance. Sociology would become institutionalized in a "service department" role with permanently low intellectual standing among other academics and the general public in Canada. As a consequence of these processes, the intellectual and organizational space sociology occupies today would be taken over by cultural studies and various applied programs (gerontology, criminology, labour studies, health studies, communications studies). We face, I am suggesting, the possibility that sociology as a distinct and serious academic discipline essential to a liberal arts education, research in the social sciences and intellectual debate in the society would cease to exist in Canada in anything more than name alone.
This crisis has a history, of course, and there are good sociological reasons for our dilemma. Canada has a relatively small population in a large landmass, of course, and sociology here is a relatively new arrival on the intellectual scene emerging in the 1920s and 1930s and establishing itself only in the 1960s (Shore 1987: Hiller 1982). In contrast, American, German, French and British sociology have 19th century roots (Lepenies 1988). Canada has produced some first-rate and influential sociologists as the examples of John Porter, Erving Goffman, Dennis Wrong and Dorothy Smith remind. (5) Despite many strong sociologists, however, the discipline as a whole is weak. While one would think that Canadian sociology's historical orientation would lead the nation to have made a major contribution to the emergence of historical sociology in the tradition of Barrington Moore and Theda Skocpol, few Canadian sociologists have made major contributions to general historical/comparative scholarship. Canadian sociologists seem focused on the particulars of Canadian history, and have yet to make their mark in providing leadership in a historical/comparative transformation of the core of the discipline. Despite the amount of ethnographic research done in Canada, this scholarship, with some exceptions, has not done enough to engage the core of sociological theory and scholarship in efforts to build a general interpretive sociology. The political engagement promoted by the critical tradition in Anglo-Canadian sociology has far too often remained polemical and shrill, even more so than critical sociology generally (Davies 1995; van den Berg 1980).
The discipline has only begun to discuss these issues seriously and openly. It is useful to review the arguments made in Robert Byrm's "The Decline of the Canadian Sociology and Anthropology Association" (Brym 2003) and Bruce Curtis and Lorna Weir's, "The Succession Question in English Canadian Sociology" (Curtis and Weir 2002). Brym is a prominent Canadian sociologist at the University of Toronto, and his essay raises serious questions about the institutional health of Anglo-Canadian sociology. Brym points out that the membership of The Canadian Sociology and Anthropology Association (CSAA) has been declining, and many of the major Canadian sociologists do not go regularly to the annual meetings. Moving from the national association to the level of the department, Curtis and Weir's essay in Society (the newsletter for The Canadian Sociology and Anthropology Association) argues that "In English Canada, there is a weak sense of sociology as a craft with distinctive knowledges, skills, and a public vocation" (Curtis and Weir 2002). Since we are entering a period of a large number of retirements, the discipline must thus pay special attention to hiring young sociologists with training, interests and a commitment to sociology. Otherwise, Curtis and Weir suggest the discipline will lose viability as an autonomous intellectual discipline in the context of Canadian universities increasingly dominated by vocational pressures, interdisciplinary programs, and state interests.
Both these essays make valuable points about the institutional health of Anglo-Canadian sociology and the fact that these relatively prominent sociologists are willing to raise these alarm bells publicly suggests all is not lost for the discipline. The problem, however, is that the analysis of the roots of coming crisis in Anglo-Canadian sociology offered in Brym and Curtis/Weir is insufficiently analytic. They suggest reasonable explanations for sociology' s troubles but do not go deep enough into the historical and institutional roots of the problem. Anglo-Canadian sociology will not be solved by striving to be more professional, hiring young scholars committed to the discipline or being "reflexive," as laudable as these suggestions are. Avoiding a crisis in Anglo-Canadian sociology will require sociological analysis of the problem as a prerequisite for efforts to build on the strengths of Canadian sociology outlined above.
Let's start with the obvious. Brym offers four reasons for the decline of the major professional organization of Canadian sociology. First, external competition from the American Sociological Association draws Anglo-Canadian sociologists towards the professional activities sponsored by its southern neighbour, weakening indigenous organizations. Second, internal competition from the second major Canadian sociology journal The Canadian Journal of Sociology weakens the institutional basis of the CSAA's The Canadian Review of Sociology and Anthropology, a journal that is already seen by many Canadian sociologists as being more parochial and of a lower quality than much of the competition. Third, for Brym, a changing organizational environment helps explain some of Anglo-Canadian sociology's decline. Increased state, private, and non-profit demand for sociological data, as well as growing networks of international research, have undermined some of the space that the Canadian association played in its early days when it had a highly focused agenda of establishing a new discipline in Canada. Finally, and most controversially, Brym argues that a certain lack of professionalism does damage to CSAA. (6) Curtis and Weir explain the disciplinary weakness of sociology in Canada by stressing the increasingly vocational focus pushed by university presidents and deans and consumerist pressures promoted by students and state interests. This institutional context means that applied programs such as criminology siphon off resources of Canadian universities that had earlier been available to the discipline.
There are other obvious explanations for the weakness of Anglo-Canadian sociology. For one thing, the unique intellectual traditions of French Canadian sociology and the historic solitude that exists between these two versions of sociology in Canada, weakens the discipline at the national level. The discipline in Quebec is linked in significant ways to nationalism in the province not national Canadian intellectual life (Fournier 2002). The quality of both Anglo-Canadian and Quebec sociology has suffered from this divide. In addition, demographic factors alone make it understandable that our scholarly influence will not be comparable to American sociology, a discipline made up of ten times our numbers. Geography makes travel more difficult throughout our nation than is the case in Europe and regionalism in Canada certainly contributes to the weakness of national level professional associations.
Ultimately, however, the traditional explanations of the relative weakness of sociology in Canada are analytically uncompelling and leave unexplored some obvious signs of a potential institutional crisis. Byrm's focus on competition with the American association can not explain why Canadian economics, political science, history or psychology, for example, do not seem to be going through equivalent institutional decline even though many of the members of other Canadian professional academic associations also participate in scholarly life across the border. There is no reason why the existence of competition with a more professional The Canadian Journal of Sociology, moreover, would not have pushed the official CSAA journal to become more not less intellectually demanding and professionally organized. (7) Brym is right, of course, that globalization and various institutional level changes in societies since the 1960s and 1970s create new challenges for sociology. Yet these institutional changes do not seem to have damaged American sociology, for example, in quite the same way as has been the case for Canadian sociology. The membership of the ASA has been growing over the last few years, and the meetings are always attended by the major scholars in the field. Furthermore, Byrm does not offer a sociological explanation for the relative lack of professionalism in Anglo-Canadian sociology. Brym focuses on the symptoms and does not theorize the disease.
The core questions remain unaddressed. Why is Canadian sociology facing a growing institutional crisis while other disciplines do not seem to be facing quite the same decline, even while confronting similar geographical and demographic challenges in a new institutional environment? Why is American sociology not facing quite the same level of institutional strain as Anglo-Canadian sociology? Finally, how could these things be happening despite the potential Anglo-Canadian sociology possesses, as we outlined above? Perhaps there is a relation between the intellectual qualities of Anglo-Canadian sociology, and its institutional vulnerability? Or perhaps there are deeper structural and historical sources of the processes we see played out in Anglo-Canadian sociology? There is no way to answer any of these questions in a definitive way, of course, without a massive research project. But in an effort to move the debate about the state of Canadian sociology up an analytic notch, let me offer historical and structural explanations for the relative institutional weakness of Anglo-Canadian sociology that could be tested with further historical and sociological research. In my view, the following three factors shape the institutional health of Anglo-Canadian sociology in ways that are seldom discussed: 1) the institutional flatness of Canadian higher education, 2) Canada's historical colonial relationship to Great Britain and residual anti-Americanism in our culture 3) the dynamics of Canadian political culture and state/societal relations, particularly during the period of sociology's founding. Each of these factors is specific to Canada as a whole, of course, but, in my view, they have particular consequences for sociology that is not the case for other Canadian disciplines. The strength of left-nationalism in Canadian sociology, our theoretical/methodological diversity and our particularly "open" disciplinary culture are central to understanding how the social structure of higher education in Canada shapes sociology's disciplinary fate. In my analysis, a comparative analysis of nations interacts with a comparative analysis of disciplines.
Historical and Institutional Roots of Sociology's Troubles
1) Flat Institutional Structure of Canadian Higher Education
A key aspect of the institutional terrain that provides the macro context for the development of Anglo-Canadian sociology is the institutional flatness of the social structure of Canadian higher education (Davies and Guppy 1997; Davies and Hammack, 2005). Canadian universities, when compared to the American or, in different ways, the European higher education system, are remarkably homogenous across a range of institutions. That is to say, while there are elite universities in Canada (most obviously McGill and the University of Toronto, and perhaps Queen's), the differences between these institutions, less prominent research universities, and lower-tier teaching institutions is comparatively small. The Canadian university system is flat in comparison to the divide between the private elite institutions like Harvard or Yale, elite public institutions like Berkeley or Madison, more mass public institutions like Ohio State or The City University of New York (CUNY), and the hundreds of public local and regional universities across the United States. Moreover, Canadian universities are essentially public and thus the Canadian higher education system does not have the scores of relatively elite liberal arts schools like Reed, Oberlin or Swarthmore, Bard or Hamilton College that are such an important part of college life in the United States.
In Canada, a national market for universities does not exist as it does in the United States. Students generally go to university locally, or they go to the United States (Davies and Guppy 1997). This softens the brutal competitive edge that drives so much of what happens in American universities. Canadian universities are not dominated by an American style "test" culture where competitive SAT exams or GREs are central to the admissions process. The tuition is more or less the same low level at all English Canadian universities, and even lower in Quebec. In Ontario, for example, one can attend the massive and prestigious research oriented University of Toronto, or Brock University and Trent (two small teaching oriented schools), or the moderate sized research institutions such as McMaster or Queens all for essentially the same price. (8) Canadian universities, moreover, do not have huge endowments like Harvard or Yale, and do not have a tradition of raising money from alumni. Nor are big business oriented, high profile sports programs a major part of the Canadian academic scene. Certainly no Canadian universities have the long and rich elite traditions of Oxford, Cambridge or the great French or German institutions of higher learning. Some of this is changing, of course, as Canadian university administrators attempt to raise tuitions in differential ways for professional programs, move towards what has been called "academic capitalism," and compete in an global context with major international universities (the University of Toronto, for example, has been building a large American style endowment) (Slaughter and Leslie 1999). Historically, however, Canadian universities have a local and provincial feel to them, with the partial exceptions of the University of Toronto and McGill. This relatively flat structure and local culture creates a situation whereby the intellectual leadership of the elite institutions is not accepted lower down in the institutional hierarchy (Polster 2002). The very idea of elite institutions of higher education runs against the modern Canadian grain, although obviously Canada's roots in the British Empire provides a background history of elitism that is still embedded in university practice and culture. (9)
These points are documented in the comparative literature on educational systems (Davies and Guppy 1997; Davies and Hammack, 2005), but these institutional structures have never been systematically linked to an analysis of how the "chaos of disciplines" plays itself out in Canadian universities or to the health of Canadian sociology in particular (Abbott 2001). Part of the issue is political. Much of the leadership of Canadian sociology is made up of tenured academics with New Left and Marxist roots and/or left-liberal sensibilities. (10) As such, Canadians are generally critical of the hierarchy and competition embedded in the American higher education system as well as the elitism inherent in institutions such as Oxford or Yale. The very egalitarianism of the Canadian university system, however, does systematic and powerful damage to the institutional health of sociology, the most left wing and egalitarian of the disciplines.
The reasons for this irony are obvious when one is willing to reflect on them, and spell them out. Sociology as a discipline has relatively low status and power in modern universities. We lack the scientific status and prestige of the natural sciences, the traditional cultural capital of art history, literature or philosophy or the links to powerful institutional forces that engineering, commerce, law or medical schools possess. Even among the relatively less powerful social sciences, sociology is a poor cousin. We lack the intellectual and organizational consensus around a "mature" science model that has allowed psychology and economics to increase their power and status (Fuchs 1992). Psychology and economics have forged alliances between their respective professions and the biological sciences and clinical practice, on the one hand, and economic elite and the larger cultural forces of neo-liberal economic orthodoxy, on the other. Political science, to take another example, has links to state power, electoral systems and applied administrative science both at the domestic and international level which provide powerful outside allies for the profession. Moreover, political science is a politically diverse discipline, with far more room for conservatives and liberals than in sociology, a discipline with a strongly left-liberal consensus, especially in Canada. Political science's greater political diversity provides institutional support for the profession among powerful societal institutions, and creates professionalizing processes that are weaker in sociology.
There are other disciplines that face similar institutional problems, particularly anthropology and literary studies. These disciplines are, sociologists sometimes forget, our competition for limited resources in universities increasingly dominated by applied programs, the natural sciences and professional schools. Sociology often ends up a "dominated" discipline, in Bourdieu's terms, providing popular "service" undergraduate classes for the university as a whole and increasingly being pushed by powerful institutional forces towards applied areas like health, criminology, and gerontology (Bourdieu 1984b). In addition, the discipline's intellectual autonomy and distinctiveness is being undermined relative to the growing trends towards cultural studies, media and communication and political activism in the contemporary humanities. These points, again, are well documented in the literature on the state of sociology. Less has been said about the consequences for Canadian sociology of the flatness of Canadian institutional arrangements in higher education.
In the United States, sociology is also a dominated discipline, but a Harvard, Stanford, Columbia, or Chicago sociologist remains a Harvard, Stanford, Columbia or University of Chicago professor. While some of the best American sociology historically has been produced at public universities such as Berkeley or Madison-Wisconsin, it is the competition between these various levels of the American university system that drives public institutions to compete with private universities and hold to ambitious intellectual standards. The cultural status of the elite institutions (both public and private) provide a halo effect that inevitably helps the public standing of the discipline, a dynamic that simply does not have the same power in Canada (Merton 1949; Bourdieu 1984a). Moreover, the networks of sociologists at the dozens of elite research institutions in the United States have powerful incentives to improve the public standing of their discipline, providing a competitive and professionalizing edge in the profession that runs through the activities of The American Sociological Association. Since universities in the United States see themselves as competing with each other, faculty involvement in national professional activity has more perceived pay-offs than in Canada. Furthermore in Canada, sociology's status is far less in the culture as a whole, and the incentives run the other way. (11) Sociologists at Canada's elite institutions are not deeply involved in the activities of the sociological association, and they largely find recognition for their professional accomplishments in the United States or internationally. Given this institutional context, it is rational behavior for status conscious elite sociologists to distance themselves from the Canadian sociological community. This is essentially what has happened within Canadian sociology--these larger social processes go a long way in explaining the weakness of the Canadian professional organizations described by Brym.
There is a further negative consequence of the flatness of the Canadian higher education system that is less direct but just as damaging to the institutional health of the discipline of sociology. In the United States and Europe, the "contest" model and the older elitist traditional "sponsorship" model of higher education provide institutional supports for the humanities. Market forces and the rise of media culture have undermined much of the support for traditional humanities education throughout the world, of course. But Harvard, Yale, Cambridge and Oxford, for example, rely on historical tradition, societal cultural legitimacy, and societal resources that facilitate the provision of education in literature, philosophy, the arts, history and classics to the society' s elite classes. In the United States, in particular, this tradition of humanities for the elites has been democratized for the upper middles classes, with the existence of scores of small elite liberal schools throughout the nation. These institutions, while suffering various financial problems in recent years, provide an enormous cushion for the humanities disciplines in the United States. Humanities PhD programs in the United States produce graduates who can compete for jobs in scores of institutions that are less threatened by vocational pressures and the accountability forced on mass public institutions.
This context does not exist in Canada. With an essentially public university system, Canadian humanities scholars face more pressure than their southern neighbours to increase class enrollments. As a result, Canadian humanities scholars are under enormous pressure to move from esoteric and more traditional cultural work in literature, poetry or art to popular programs in media studies, communication or cultural studies. The additional fact that Canadian society traditionally does not have as strong a philanthropic tradition embodied in the great American foundations which help fund the humanities there further intensifies the resource crisis. (12) As a consequence, Canadian humanities scholars pose an even greater institutional threat to sociology as an autonomous discipline and distinct intellectual perspective as they do in the United States. Sociology in Canada is relatively new, not particularly well regarded by senior university administrators and often plays a "service teaching" role in Canadian universities. Interdisciplinary programs are all the rage in Canada today, and sociology as a discipline has not shown much willingness to resist trends towards increasing enrollments and interdisciplinary hiring. As a result, Canadian sociology departments have hired a rather large number of faculty in recent years without PhD level training in the discipline. At the University of Alberta, for example, a sociology department that had a tradition of being a mainstream empirical American oriented sociology department now has a very large cultural studies/literary feel to its theoretical orientation. As Richard Ogmundson puts it in The American Sociologist, "according to some sources, this former centre of quantitative strength has been decimated" (Ogmundson 2002: 60). Signs of similar trends can be seen throughout Canadian sociology, as we face the prospect of what I would describe as the "Yorkification" of the discipline. These trends affect sociologists world-wide, of course, as book stores increasingly house "cultural studies" sections that dwarf the sociology holdings and the cultural turn creates new space for social theory in our discipline often in opposition to traditional sociological theory. One can debate whether all this is a good thing or a bad thing, but my point here is that the institutional flatness of the Canadian educational system intensifies the competition between the humanities and sociology in Canadian universities. In addition, the turf war goes only one way. I have never heard of a case where a Canadian English department has hired a sociologist of culture for a tenure stream position, while one is increasingly seeing the tendency of Canadian sociology departments to allow the boundaries between literature/ culture studies and sociology to be blurred or even collapsed. (13)
None of this, of course, suggests that either the American "contest" or the old European "sponsorship" models of higher education are necessarily superior to Canada's hybrid system (Brint 1998). There is much to recommend in Canada's educational arrangements. The amount of public and private money that goes into the highly competitive American educational system is enormous, creating credential inflation and an upper middle class with huge tuitions bills and an increasingly right-wing aversion to paying taxes. The American system of higher education creates a strain of resources that could be directed at public health care, a decent welfare state and a more democratic state funded electoral political system not linked so clearly to corporate interests as well as, in the case of California today, celebrity culture. The Canadian educational system is affordable, it provides quality undergraduate education to a large number of students and academic scholarship in Canada operates at a reasonably high standard. The system is slowly moving beyond some of the traditional conservatism inherited from its roots in Canadian religious institutions and the British elite model of its colonial past. The consequences of these structures for Canadian sociology in particular, however, are negative, very serious and seldom discussed.
All other disciplines in Canada, of course, face the same institutional environment created by Canada's relatively flat social structure of higher education. The natural sciences, however, are fortunate to have access to far more public and private sector money than the social sciences and the humanities as well as more cultural legitimacy. Their institutional strength, moreover, is reinforced by the fact that they believe in and promote the academic and scholarly standards of "science" without concern for national borders. The traditionalist elements of the humanities also have an internationalist and universalistic conception of quality scholarship and standards, even while they encourage the creation and promotion of Canadian culture, arts, philosophy and history. The strength of left-nationalism in Canadian sociology and our critical left traditions combined with the flat institutional structure of Canadian higher education have created a particularly severe institutional crisis for the discipline, alongside the crisis of identity in literary studies and anthropology rooted in the post-modern and cultural studies "turn." Canadian political science, economics and history, to pick three relevant comparisons, have weathered these storms far better than sociology, despite operating in the same institutional context.
2) The English Connection
These negative consequences for the institutional health of Canadian sociology are further intensified by a historical colonial relationship to the British Empire. Anglo-Canadian universities have always had a British flavour to them, something that can be seen in terms of faculty hiring, university governance and culture as well as the intellectual orientation of Canadian institutions of higher education. The homeland of empiricism, classical liberal political and economic thought, Fabian socialism and analytic philosophy, it must be remembered, remains a relative backwater with regards to the discipline of sociology. Steve Fuller describes England as "the major nation with probably the weakest institutional tradition in the field" (Fuller 2000: 508). This has hurt the development of a strong sociological perspective in Canada, given the relatively high number of English trained faculty who teach in Canadian sociology departments.
It is not that Great Britain has not produced important sociological thinkers, as the examples of Spencer, Goldthorpe and Giddens remind us. (14) The reality, however, is that as an institutional force, England is a weak cousin relative to France, Germany or certainly the United States (Abrams 1968; Fuller 2000; Lepenies 1988). England had the first national sociological association in Europe, but as Abrams puts it "the history of British sociology before 1914--indeed before 1945--is in no sense a success story" (Abrams 1968: 4). The French had Durkheim and the Germans had Weber and Simmel while the British only produced Spencer. As Krishan Kumar puts it:
England did not produce sociological thinkers comparable to those of France, Germany, the United States, or even Italy or Russia. There is no English Marx, Weber, Simmel, Comte, Tocqueville, Durkheim, or Pareto--not even a Gurevitch or Sorokin (Kumar 2001: 42).
As an imperial nation, Britain was a world leader in anthropology, not sociology. (15)
A theoretically driven, empirical sociology as an institutionalized discipline came late to Great Britain, for a variety of reasons (Lepenies 1988; Kumar 2001; Abrams 1968). Much of British sociology historically was heavily applied administrative research, on the one hand, or highly theoretical social philosophy on the other. British sociology has produced prolific textbook writers (Giddens), sustained some original thinkers (Runciman, Mann, Gellner and the German refugee Elias), and, as Kumar emphasizes, has created an enormous amount of creative and interesting "social theory," (Giddens again) literary studies and history (Kumar 2001). British sociology has strengths in demography, statistics and applied research on poverty (Abrams 1968; Fuller 2000; Goldthorpe 2000), British sociology, with important exceptions, has created far less theoretically driven empirical sociology than one might think (Goldthorpe 2000). In addition, some of the best empirical sociologists in Britain are not active in their professional association, something far less common in the United States.
The relative openness of the United Kingdom's political system to left-wing views has produced a situation whereby English intellectuals have a long history of shaping both state policy and public opinion (Abrams 1968). From the empirical research that helped shape the early British welfare state to Anthony Gidden's "third way" today, the type of scholars who established sociology in the United States relatively isolated from state power, were influential and powerful within the British state especially with Labour in power. British intellectuals were among the inventors of the role of the public intellectual (Kumar 2001; Fuller 2000; Abrams 1968). Furthermore, the dynamics of the publishing industry in the UK (Fuller 2000), the politically active intellectuals to the left of the Labour Party and the relative weakness of an empirical research tradition housed in sociology departments in Britain have combined to produce a sociology that is dominated by a "Verso Press radicalism" that is polemical, politically engaged and far less scholarly and professional than the sociology produced in the United States. Many of the academic book presses in Britain, with the obvious exceptions of Oxford University Press and Cambridge University Press, do not have the same level of peer review and quality control as is the case at The University of Chicago Press or University of California Press, for example. Nor does sociology tend to get published in Britain in high end commercial presses equivalent to Norton or The Free Press in the United States. Whatever political benefits may or may not have accrued for the left in Britain out of all this came partly, it must be said, at the expense of a strong institutionalized sociology in Great Britain (Kumar 2001; Fuller 2000).
More recently, cultural studies and post-modernism have combined to reinforce British sociology's distance from mainstream empirical social science. Sociology in Great Britain is, as Fuller puts it:
very popular with students, largely because it is the natural home of cultural and media studies programs that in, say, the US would be housed in departments of literary studies. In this respect, British sociology has turned its disciplinary permeability from a weakness to a strength, effectively rendering itself "the science of the post-modern'(Fuller 2000: 508).
To borrow a phrase from the title of Fuller's critique of Gidden's contributions to British sociology, to make a larger point, this "weakness as strength" strategy is a "very qualified success, indeed."
We have seen very similar results here in Canada, since building a national sociology with Britain as a major role model or reference group is a recipe for institutional weakness. (16) This point was well known to earlier commentators and to contemporary historians of the discipline (Hiller 1982). As S.D. Clark once put it, "the slow growth sociology in Canada before 1958 is largely explained by the strong British influence in the development of the Canadian social sciences" (Clark 1976). Canadian universities have gained much from their special historical association with the British academy, in such disciplines as classics, philosophy, math, statistics literature, art history, anthropology and various natural sciences. Yet, as Helmes-Hayes has emphasized, "from the early years of the century up until the thirties, scholars in traditional disciplines, many schooled in England, either ignored sociology entirely or worked actively (to) prevent its development" (Helmes-Hayes 2002: 84) At the University of Toronto, in particular, Harold Innis and his protege S. D. Clark were particularly hostile to American style multivariate sociology (Helmes-Hayes 2002). Yet contributors to contemporary debates on the state of the discipline have not openly examined how our historical and contemporary relationship to British sociology might have hurt rather than helped the discipline. Instead of having this discussion, the leadership of the Canadian sociology association has recently been attempting to build even closer ties to the British discipline while retaining its relative indifference even hostility to American sociology. It is as if the Canadian national hockey program were to try to improve its performance at the international level by building closer ties to the hockey programs in France, Australia or Bermuda, while ignoring Russia, Sweden or the United States. (17) Canadian sociologists have been excessively focused on establishing their independence from American sociology, a theme that runs through much of the discussion of the history and the state of discipline produced by Canadian scholars (Brym with Fox 1989; Clement 2001; Helmes-Hayes 2002).
3) Canadian Political Culture: The State and Social Movements
Finally, the institutional and historical origins of Anglo-Canadian sociology's dilemma cannot be fully understood without serious analysis of Canadian political culture and the relationship of intellectuals to the Canadian state and social movements in the 20th century, particularly during the period when the discipline was institutionalized. While Seymour Martin Lipset has made numerous contributions to a comparative sociology of the United States and Canada, the research tradition inspired by his work exaggerates the differences between the US and Canada and underestimates the egalitarianism and rejection of authority in Canadian life today (Adams 1997; Grabb and Curtis 1988; Baer, Grabb and Johnston 1990; Baer, Grabb and Johnston 1993; Lipset 1990; Ogmundson 1994). While traditional elitism still retains a place in the larger political culture and in the fabric of many Canadian political institutions, Canadian sociology since the 1960s, in particular, is a home for remarkably strong anarchist, individualist and anti-authoritarian tendencies. Many Canadian sociology programs, for example, went much farther than most American departments in institutionalizing graduate student and even undergraduate student involvement in hiring and tenure processes. Faculty authority in Canadian sociology is relatively weak, as evidenced by the student dominance of presentations at the professional meetings decried by Brym. Canadian society as a whole may retain some of the old-fashioned Tory conservatism central to Lipset's analysis, but this is long dead within sociology itself. Canadian sociology, at times, has a left wing, activist oriented, polemical tone and can be rather intolerant of political conservatism or even liberalism. This is particularly true among the more active scholars and students in the professional association.(18) This culture inhibits the development of a larger more scholarly and professional culture that can serve to push the left academy to moderate its rhetoric, examine its assumptions, and evaluate its evidence. Simplistic critiques of liberalism dominate far too much of Canadian sociology, making for a discipline with far less credibility with our students and the public than we need, as well as helping undermine the intellectual foundation for a sensible left-liberal politics for Canada (for example, see Harrison 1981 and Carroll, Christiansen-Ruffman, Currie and Harrison 1992).
In the case of the American discipline, the radicalism that swept through the discipline in the wake of the civil rights, anti-war and feminist movements during the 1960s and 1970s gave rise, over time, to a highly analytic, professional and committed critical sociology in dialogue with more "value-free" mainstream sociology. Scores of sociologists who published their early work in Socialist Revolution or Socialist Review during the 1960s and 1970s went on, in the 1980s and 1990s, to write scholarship that transformed the nature of mainstream American sociology. The Canadian Studies in Political Economy, in contrast, has produced some quality work but has not given rise to nearly enough "spin-off" scholarship that engages mainstream sociology. The journal and its networks retain a sectarian feel. (19)
My point here is a sociological one, in the tradition of thinking about the sociology of ideas, excellence and innovation pioneered by the likes of Randall Collins, Daniel Chambliss and Lewis Coser (Collins 1998; Chambliss 1992; Coser 1965). It makes no sense, it seems to me, to argue that the scholars around Socialist Review were more "talented" than the Canadians around Studies in Political Economy since ideas are created by networks not isolated individuals (Collins 1998). The networks of radical sociology of the 1960s in the United States were embedded in structures which created pressures, incentives and competitive dynamics that pushed young scholars outwards to develop analytic tools that could help them transform mainstream sociology. Canadian radical networks, in contrast, dispersed into interdisciplinary networks in history, labour history, political economy and woman studies, on the one hand, and a smaller sociologically based "node" which took leadership in the discipline, and consolidated control instead of stimulating innovation and intellectual ambition. (20)
There are, however, historical, structural and cultural factors that make innovation and excellence difficult for Anglo-Canadian sociology. Since our discipline was essentially founded in Canada during the social and political turmoil of the 1960s, we brought more of the cultural style and political biases of the New and Old Left into our scholarly discourse than was good for us. American radical sociology in the 1960s transformed an institutionalized discipline, albeit one with liberal and conservative tendencies. The foil for Canadian radical sociology in the 1960s, in contrast, was a weakly institutionalized discipline, creating organizational problems we live with today. Starting points and sequence matter, in revolutions, in comparative welfare states, in disciplines and professions, the comparative analysis of sports cultures and in the sociology of sociology (Abbott 2001; Myles 1984; Markovits and Hellerman 2001; Moore 1967).
The relative strength of social democracy in Canada and the centralized nature of social science funding in Canada, moreover, reinforced the problem by tempting a large number of the more serious and hard working Canadian scholars into an alliance with the federal government. I stress "temptation" here for my point is not that Canadian scholars "sold out." The weakness of the discipline and its need for resources made it understandable that Anglo-Canadian scholars would look for an alliance with the state, in this case, the federal government's Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council. Funding for social research is sparse relative to what is available in the United States, but it has been argued that Canadian sociologists have played a major role in developing data gathering capabilities working with a national government that is far more sympathetic to state solutions for social problems than is their southern neighbour. (21) The consequence, however, is a Canadian sociology establishment with strong links to the state but a less developed focus on maintaining scholarly standards and intellectual autonomy for the discipline as a whole (for discussion of the Quebec case, see Renaud, Dore and White 1989). The autonomy of sociology in Canada is already compromised by the extent to which grants controlled by the central authority of our national government help determine hiring, the status hierarchies and power of scholars in the discipline. This is reinforced by the way the government's funding priorities are focused on applied areas, as well as its obvious favouring of the sciences over the humanities and social sciences. The flatness of the higher education system discussed above, puts even more pressure on some of our best scholars to play the grants game in order to fund graduate students, making it harder for them to develop international reputations as scholars in their disciplines. While the highly politicized Canada Research Chair program has the potential to bring the discipline's Erving Goffman's and Dennis Wrong's back home and develop new scholars of this quality, there is a competing institutional logic, however, that will see the program simply push sociology down a more applied and less intellectually ambitious path (Polster 2002). (22) The coming transformation of SSHRC into a "Knowledge Council" may well re-enforce these powerful institutional pressures in ways that further damage sociology's intellectual and professional autonomy (Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council 2004).
Canadian sociology has many scholars who write politically inspired polemics, as well as another group expert at penning government reports and obtaining grant after grant. More recently, we have seen the emergence of a post-modern and cultural studies orientation throughout the discipline. What is missing, however, is a critical mass for a core disciplinary leadership rooted in the kind of mainstream establishment and its critical loyal opposition that anchors the American Sociological Association, despite periodic and rather contentious conflict.
Many Canadian sociologists can speak to the activist oriented fractions of the new class, or the left-liberal wing of various levels of the Canadian state (Brint 1994; Gouldner 1979). Yet Canadian sociology has produced very few public spokespeople for the discipline of the stature of the "public sociologists" common in the United States, France or Britain. (23) Again, the flatness of the Canadian educational system damages Canadian sociology, since some of the most prominent public intellectual American sociologists were sustained in elite institutions such as Harvard, Columbia or the University of Chicago. Empirical research on the publishing patterns of American sociologists show that book writing "public intellectuals" are more likely to emerge on the East and West coasts in the United States, often at elite institutions. Meanwhile the South, the Midwest and the land-grant institutions housed there tend to produce more technically oriented article producing cultures (Wolfe 1991). Without elite institutions, Canadian sociologists are less likely to be able to go beyond efforts to establish professional status in traditional ways, especially in a nation with a smaller book market and a less developed "high end" network of elite intellectual journals and commercial presses (Brint 1994; Coser 1965; Coser, Kadushin and Powell 1982; Kadushin 1974). The result of these various social processes is a Canadian discipline marginalized both within the university, and within the broader political and intellectual mainstream.
Possible Sociologies for Canada: Pride Versus Prejudice or Prejudice Without Pride?
The institutional and historical forces moving Anglo-Canadian sociology towards crisis are powerful, but they are hardly beyond human influence. Canadian sociologists aware of this larger history and structure could, if they so choose, debate the issues openly, build on our strengths and strive towards building a revitalized, intellectually coherent and professional sociology for the 21st century. This essay has polemically argued for normative and practical directions for the discipline without offering the full evidence we would require to evaluate my case. Many of the ideas that I have outlined above could be tested empirically although the logic of my own argument demands an integrated interpretive, multivariate and historical-comparative research agenda. Some of the "researchable" questions embedded in this essay include: more systematic specialized research on the history of Canadian sociology informed with a more nuanced historical/comparative perspective on British sociology, data on the contemporary British influence on Canadian sociology; content analysis on Canadian sociology journals to test my hypothesis about the polemical bias in comparative perspective; data on the relative strength and permeability of other disciplines in Canada relative to Canadian sociology; systematic data on and analysis of interdisciplinary hiring; qualitative and historical study of the networks of the radical academy in Canada in comparative perspective; more detailed analysis of how sociology in Quebec differs and relates to Anglo-Canadian sociology and research on whether American sociology journals will not publish papers with non-American data. Furthermore, this essay has not dealt systematically with the question of the "brain drain" from Canada and the "Canadian sociologist" status of Canadians based and/or trained in the US. In addition, comparative analysis of national sociologies and the crisis of the discipline in small nations similar to Canada, as well as in France and Germany would be essential for a full analysis of the problem and possible solutions for sociology in comparative perspective, the theme of the 2005 meetings of The American Sociological Association. Moreover, it is my view that the issue of the relative strength of Canadian sociology in the world would best be understood if one's analytic frame is expanded, and one compares our discipline to how other Canadian academic disciplines fare internationally. As well, one could ask comparative questions that focus on how Canadian sports, music, comedy, novels and other forms of cultural and intellectual production compete globally (Ogmundson 2002). This larger research agenda is important in its own right. Moreover, it could provide a context for debate on Canadian sociology's future, allowing us to avoid the twin errors of simply blaming the leadership, on the one hand, or squashing all criticisms and concerns by denying the problem, on the other.
But before embarking on this larger research agenda, let me conclude this necessarily more limited analysis with five basic principles that are essential for the prosperity of Anglo-Canadian sociology. We must: 1) allow open debate, 2) move beyond residual anti-Americanism, 3) take pride in the discipline and express this openly to both allies and competitors, 4) build on our real strengths, and 5) create a professionalized critical sociology. I will develop each point in turn, interspersed with pragmatic suggestions for a way forward.
Permission to Speak Freely
A precondition for any efforts to revitalize Anglo-Canadian sociology is civil debate within our professional circles, and a willingness to discuss these issues out in the open in both interdisciplinary and international dialogue. Canadian sociology has been highly politicized over the years, and this has resulted in a situation where concerns about the health of the discipline are raised in private but seldom in polite company or in print. This climate has had a chilling effect on the intellectual and professional life of the discipline in Canada.
The response to the Curtis/Weir essay illustrates the hostile climate to open debate. The Curtis and Weir essay was a rather mild and sensible suggestion from two senior scholars that Anglo-Canadian sociology pay particular attention to disciplinary autonomy in the coming years of extensive replacement hirings. Curtis or Weir hardly represents mainstream sociology, or any kind of disciplinary orthodoxy. (24) A discipline that encourages open debate would expect to see reasonable arguments about the specifics of how Curtis and Weir see sociology's relationship to applied programs, or a response that questions whether they go far enough in protecting sociology's intellectual integrity. Instead, the Curtis and Weir essay was subjected to a critique in the official newsletter of the CSAA by O'Malley and Hunt that claimed Curtis and Weir's ideas are paranoid and could lead to a "witch hunt" and the removal of professional licenses for scholars found not to be sociological enough. (25) Suggesting that anyone calling for a defense of sociology is promoting a "witch hunt" is rhetoric that prevents the basic professional consolidation that every discipline, new interdisciplinary program or research tradition engages in, as a matter of course. Weir and Curtis make it clear in their response to the O'Malley/Hunt critique that they are raising issues that should be addressed by hiring committees in sociology departments and in comprehensive exams for graduate students (Weir and Curtis 2003). Weir and Curtis were concerned "that sociology in Canada not be run by forces external to it, where external has the sense of state, capital and university management" (Weir and Curtis 2003). "One need not follow uncritically the Weir/Curtis critique of the "neo-liberal state-university alliance" or find their particular version of Bourdieu's reflexive sociology compelling to agree with their goal of maintaining and developing the distinctiveness of our craft. It is only sociology, it seems, that should not be disciplined. Weir and Curtis are fight to suggest that O'Malley and Hunt's views on the "succession question" in Canadian sociology are "evasive, obstructionist and complacent." O'Malley and Hunt have the fight to their opinion, but it is a view that is anti-sociological.
The truth is, of course, that the other social sciences disciplines will not be eliminating their disciplinary boundaries any time soon, and the social structure of university majors is not likely to collapse because of Wallerstein's report on the social sciences (Abbott 2002). (26) Sociology as a discipline in Canada contains far more scholars than the other social sciences disciplines who believe that disciplines are only what O'Malley and Hunt call "impressionist first approximations," a situation bound to lead to institutional crisis.
For some this coming institutional crisis is an opportunity. For example, the British sociologist John Urry outlines a program for what he calls a "post-disciplinary reconfiguration" in his influential book Sociology Beyond Societies (2000). In the course of this discussion, he remarks that most social science disciplines other than sociology "are subject to much more extensive forms of discursive normalization, monitoring and policing which make them poor candidates for such post-disciplinary reconfiguration" (Urry 2000: 3). In contrast, "sociology's discursive formation has often demonstrated a relative lack of hierarchy, a somewhat unpoliced character, [and] an inability to resist intellectual invasions" (Urry 2000: 3). If I can paraphrase, sociology is easy pickings for Urry and various "social theorists" looking for an institutional base of operation within the university since economists, political scientists, historians and philosophers would put up more of a fight for their own disciplinary traditions, insights and knowledge. Some might argue that Urry' s new vision could save sociology, but I remain skeptical of this very British "weakness as strength" strategy for the discipline. The intellectual problem with this "social theory" agenda, of course, is that it ignores rich empirical sociological literature in the sociology of culture, historical sociology, political sociology, social movements and the like. The social theory of the English risks replacing theoretically driven and empirically grounded analysis with philosophical speculation and jargon ridden political rhetoric. Our discipline' s energies could easily be spent in turf wars or reflexive dialogue with the humanities as opposed to actually practicing the "sociological imagination" (Myles 2004).
Constant rhetoric about the need for "tolerance" from post-modern critics of sociology hides the extent to which aggressive attacks on liberal political values and sociology's intellectual traditions and institutional interests are meeting with hardly any serious response from within our discipline. Canadian sociology will not be long for this world if the establishment of the discipline does not take stronger leadership in encouraging open debate about controversial issues and discouraging the intimidation of dissenting voices and the polarization of the debate by extreme rhetoric directed at those defending the intellectual and institutional interests and perspectives of sociology. Hopefully Brym's provocative piece in CJS will give rise to a reasonable debate. The historical tendency within the CSAA, however, suggests polarization and personal attacks, not dialogue, will result. This intellectual climate is deadly for the discipline.
A North American Sociology
A core issue that must be discussed in Anglo-Canadian sociology must be our relationship to the sociology of the United States, and our place as a North American discipline. Canada has provided a new home to numerous American scholars, the United States has trained generations of Canadian sociologists and the discipline does have a significant ASA-like feel to its scholarship. The reality, however, is that Anglo-Canadian sociology contains an enormous amount of residual anti-American sentiment left over from the New Left era of the 1970s. (27) Stale debates about functionalism and/or positivism, the allegedly conservative nature of organizational analysis, the sociology of the professions or statistics as well as simplistic platitudes about the superiority and political purity of Canadian critical sociology and interdisciplinary perspectives dominates far too much of our professional life. If more Canadian sociologists would go to the American Sociological Association meetings or read the core journals regularly, they would find out that the two disciplines share far more than they think. Canadians are right to be concerned that American scholars and textbooks do not dominate the discipline north of the border, as they did at one time. These are old battles, however, and the real question today is whether Anglo-Canadian sociology is going to be able to establish its own distinctive voice as a North American sociology or whether it will allow anxiety about being too American cloud the development of a positive and realistic vision for the future. Regular and institutionalized networking, joint panels, more participation of Canadians in the many excellent and increasingly internationally oriented sociology journals published in the United States and even possibly an organized network of Canadians in the American Sociological Association would represent positive movement forward.
Hiring Canadians first makes sense, as does bringing in foreign scholars who can improve the quality of our discipline when appropriate. A central concern of our hiring processes, however, should be building on our multi-method strengths, and avoiding theoretical fragmentation whereby we see the discipline divided into camps led by American style content-less statistical technicians, on the one hand, and European style social theorists who fail to engage in empirical study, on the other. A Canadian sociology is a North American sociology, allowing us opportunities to position ourselves at a productive cross-road between intellectual, empirical and theoretical traditions, which can help lead us towards a truly global sociological imagination. Avoiding nepotism in hiring is essential, for insularity is a "deadly sin" in small intellectual communities (Collins 1998). Bringing back talented Canadians and encouraging young scholars trained here to do first-rate work are key for our discipline's future. Moreover, the senior leadership of our discipline should be encouraged to build strong academic reputations in the broader world outside Canadian sociology, particularly in the ASA. (28) Developing ties and working with scholars in the International Sociological Association (ISA) also makes sense for Canadian sociologists, but the core development of our disciplinary training of young scholars should come in (for both practical and intellectual reasons) critical dialogue with our American neighbours.
Pride in the Discipline: Towards Healthy Friendships and Equal Alliances
Open debate and networking with our American friends will lead to little, however, if Anglo-Canadian sociology does not build and promote more militant and secure pride in our discipline. The institutional context of Canadian universities today requires that sociology maintains our interdisciplinary dialogues with scholars in the applied social sciences, in the humanities, in women's studies and labour studies and among historians, political scientists, anthropologists and economists. Sociology has a long history of creating theories, methods and perspectives that "spin off" into new specializations and programs like media and communication studies, criminology and gerontology. Sociology's institutional future, however, depends on establishing, developing and promoting our unique intellectual tools which we can then bring to potential alliances. A discipline unwilling to make the case for its own intellectual coherence and specific disciplinary contributions for fear of seeming unsympathetic to interdisciplinary approaches is a discipline with a serious problem. This is especially true since sociology is already the most interdisciplinary, open, diverse and permeable of the social sciences (Crane and Small 1992 and for a different view, see Calhoun 1992).
In addition, alliances must be two way streets. Sociology should dialogue with scholars in the humanities, as we have much in common, and much to learn from each other. Those among us, however, who feel that the humanities have superior insights into culture and that the discipline of sociology is an outmoded 19th century relic, should do the honourable thing and resign their appointments. At the very least, these scholars should remove themselves from leadership positions in a discipline to which they are not committed. Anglo-Canadian sociology and its departments require leadership who are willing to defend our disciplinary interests with pride and self-confidence, not self-doubt or bad faith.
Building on Real Strengths
The issue of what Canadian sociology should be proud of is the key question which has not been addressed. Throughout the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s, Anglo-Canadian sociology was busy chasing an illusionary "holy grail" of a distinctive Canadian sociology. While it makes sense for a national sociology to develop its own voice and a unique niche in the international scholarly community, one needs to build on one's real strengths rather than nationalist rhetoric.
As I have argued, Anglo-Canadian sociology possesses three unique qualities worth maintaining, exploring and developing. A strong international sociology will stand out from other academic disciplines by combining theoretical and methodological commitments to historical-comparative, interpretive and multivariate approaches to understanding the social world. No other discipline has been as successful as sociology at maintaining these distinct angles and windows into the analysis of the social world. Psychology and economics have chosen to link their fortunes to a narrow scientific model. History, anthropology and literary studies, in contrast, have not dialogued with as much of the multivariate approach as sociology has with various interpretive and historical-comparative paradigms. Sociology as a discipline, for all our institutional problems, stands at the very cross-roads of some of the most interesting and important debates within our interdisciplinary scholarly communities. No national sociology is as balanced in its openness to all three modes of inquiry as Anglo-Canadian sociology, even if these distinct approaches have all too often moved along different paths as opposed to entering into a creative synthesis. Canada's close but ambivalent relationship to the United States allows us to draw from the strengths of American sociology, while moving beyond some of its blindnesses and parochialisms. If sociologists in English and French Canada were to be successful in moving closer, and learning from each other, together they have the potential to provide a bridge between the best of American and European sociology in a nation not burdened with Empire. Anglo-Canadian sociology thus has the potential to be a truly critical sociology, if it can resist the temptation to become simply an adjunct of the Canadian state, a haven for political activists, a jobs program for amateur sociologists exiled from the humanities or a cash cow for tuition and tax starved universities.
A Professionalized Left Academy
A central challenge for the discipline then, is the professionalization of Anglo-Canadian critical sociology (Halliday 1992). An American style mainstream sociology is indeed an "impossible science" in the Canadian context. We do not have the university or societal resources, the granting agencies and elite foundations or the political will to establish a fully scientific sociology, unconnected to applied programs, public intellectual life, the state or student demand for undergraduate education. An Anglo-Canadian sociology that would be both viable and desirable would retain institutional and ideological links to the Canadian welfare state while providing intellectual resources for the nation's students and general public. Canadian sociologists, however, must think more deeply about their relatively limited resources, and consider ways to consolidate, and not spread thin their efforts. (29) Any Anglo-Canadian sociology worth preserving, moreover, can and must move further towards professionalizing its discourse, research and practices, creating a sociological imagination that is scholarly and analytic as well as critical and engaged (Attewell 1984).
To accomplish this goal, quality publishing must be at the center of the revitalization of Anglo-Canadian sociology. Political activism towards building a more egalitarian and just society always will play a central role in recruiting young people into sociology, since our sociological imagination is centrally about demystifying knowledge production and the dynamics of class, race, gender, status and power. Nonetheless, our disciplinary and professional status as well as our intellectual integrity depends on our ability to separate our various "action agendas" towards change and our research and teaching which must adhere to the strictest of scholarly standards (Alford 1998). One can debate how one measures or judges "quality" scholarship, and this debate should and will continue (Clemens, Powell, McIlwaine and Okamoto 1995). Nonetheless, Canadian sociology has work to do so that political criteria does not come into hiring decisions, that the discipline represents a full diversity of political views and that scholarly excellence anchors the leadership of the discipline and our departments, especially at the graduate level. When all is said and done, the sociology that emerges out of this is likely to have a critical edge. Nonetheless, both our discipline and our efforts to change society will be improved if we raise the analytic level of our work and our discipline.
A key issue related to attempts to raise our scholarly standards is the very serious question of publication inflation. One of the few positive aspects of the elite sponsorship model of European higher education systems is their ability to promote intellectual standards by circumventing the processes that produce mediocrity in contest systems. Canadian sociology is in danger of taking the worst aspects of modern academic systems (the focus on numbers not quality of publications) and combining this with a militant and extremely polite Canadian refusal to make any distinctions between quality of arguments, theories, evidence, journals and book presses. Traditionally, tenure was far less difficult to achieve in the Canadian university system, part of the explanation for the lower research productivity of Canadian relative to American sociologists. As this changes given competitive pressures and globalizing processes, it is worth reflecting on how quality not quantity could be rewarded and how some of the excesses of the American system might be avoided. Given the focus on applied research promoted by administrators, however, and the lack of resources inherent in a flat university system, the result of these institutional pressures could be extreme fragmentation in our research not methodological pluralism. Intellectual leadership is required to prevent the dual processes of the "ratcheting down" of the quality our scholarship alongside the speeding up of the production requirements that might result from market processes, professional interests and academic credential inflation.
An Impossible Science?
The harshness of some of my analysis should be read as flowing from a commitment to the strong Anglo-Canadian sociology that is possible not one that is doomed to and deserves oblivion. The coming crisis of Canadian sociology will not likely come with the "bang" of the closing of departments, since the discipline educates far too many tuition paying and tax funded students in Canadian universities to be attacked directly. Over time, however, Canadian sociology could become a shell of a discipline, a junior partner to the welfare state doing policy research for the Canadian government as Alvin Gouldner predicted would happen in America in his classic book The Coming Crisis of Western Sociology (1970). Another possible future is sociology as a "grab bag" discipline with no intellectual coherence or scholarly status. This possible model, implicitly criticized by Turner and Turner's The Impossible Science: An Institutional Analysis of American Sociology (1990), would see us serving a role as an employment haven for left-wing political activists, cultural studies writers, social philosophers and public intellectuals. (30) In this model, a sociology with low academic status can pay its way by providing entertaining "service department" teaching for undergraduates with classes on deviance, family, crime and social psychology coming to dominate our offerings. A final possible future is an English model, where a cultural studies "tail" wags the sociological "dog" and graduate students learn outdated Marxism from the 1970s and speculative social theory instead of actually doing original research informed by sociological insights. In this Canadian sociology, the empirically oriented social scientists among us would remove themselves from the disciple as suggested by the CSAA decline Brym discusses (Brym 2003).
More likely, Canadian sociology will remain a hybrid of these interests and perspectives, none of which encourage the development of a scholarly and intellectual climate that moves beyond them with a unifying vision of a Canadian sociological imagination. We could muddle through, and muddle on. Or we could address these issues directly. A serious debate about the future of Canadian sociology could, I submit, mobilize a silent majority in our profession who want to be part of a discipline proud of its intellectual traditions, moral energy and sociological insight. Ultimately the future of Anglo-Canadian sociology will depend on the decisions of Canadian sociologists now in their 20s and 30s. Hopefully they will choose wisely. But the senior leadership of the discipline could improve the odds of success for future young reformers by taking strong action now before Canadian sociology moves closer to becoming a truly "impossible science."
(1.) The title of this essay is, of course, borrowed from a combination of Turner and Turner's The Impossible Science: An Institutional Analysis of American Sociology (1990) and Gouldner's The Coming Crisis of Western Sociology (1971).
I solicited feedback from as many senior established scholars, mid-career sociologists and graduate students as possible in an attempt to get perspectives on our collective disciplinary dilemma from a diversity of political, methodological and theoretical positions, both in Canada and abroad. I want to thank everyone who looked at this paper, and offered their critiques and suggestions, including McMaster University faculty and graduate students too numerous to mention here, particularly at a department mini-conference organized by Jane Synge. Robert Andersen, Peter Baerh, Daniel Beland, Bob Brym, Art Budros, Jeffrey Cormier, Carl Cuneo, Bruce Curtis, Scott Davies, Ariel Ducey, Steve Fuller, Richard Hamilton, Richard Helmes-Hayes, Harry Hiller, Rhoda Howard-Hassmann, Joan Huber, Lisa Kowalchuk, Michele Lamont, John Myles, Karl Ulrich Mayer, David Nock, Robert O'Brien, Patrick Parnaby, David Peerla, Tony Puddephatt, Claire Poster, Richard Ogmundson, Kyle Siler, Jonathan Turner, Melanie White, Alan Wolfe, and Sheldon Ungar gave particularly useful and detailed feedback. This paper is dedicated to the memory of Robert Alford, who died in Feb of 2003. He was a true interdisciplinary scholar, a talented and dedicated teacher, a mentor to many Canadian scholars and an original theorist and craftsperson of the sociological imagination. Sociology will never be an impossible science when it produces intellectuals like Bob Alford.
(2) Sociology as a discipline has always been sustained by the intellectual energy that emerges from the reformist and activist visions that draw intellectuals into the fold of the sociological imagination. In the past, sociologists have sometimes been conservative even right-wing, as the case of Spencer reminds us and the work of Robert Nisbet (1966) has emphasized. The highly politicized nature of sociology as a discipline often leaves us vulnerable, however, to both external attacks as socialists and ideologues as well as creating internal divisions and factional in-fighting. Nonetheless, the potential pay-off for these conflicts is a discipline where intellectual excitement and critical thought has a place to thrive in the context of modern universities where narrow specialization, careerism and the relative safety of professional discourse tends to dominate. There is a danger, however, that radical, critical or post-modern sociology can serve the function of an alternative career strategy, repeating platitudes and ignoring quality work from the past. Moreover, an excessively left wing discipline could close down space for open analytic debate that must include liberal and conservative ideas and a concern with evidence.
(3) At the same time, the claims for Canadian sociology's feminist strengths often are made at the expense of a distorted account of American sociology. Given sociology's critical edge, it is no wonder that both Canadian and American scholars critique their own discipline strongly for not producing enough feminist analysis. At the same time, there are numerous rich empirical research and theoretical traditions in American sociology inspired by scores of feminist scholars such as Rose Coser, Cynthia Fuchs Epstein, Arlie Hochschild, Frances Fox Piven, Joan Huber, Jessie Bernard, Barbara Reskin, Nancy Chodorow and a list that could go on and on. In comparative context, what other discipline in any other country has produced as much rich empirical feminist analysis as American sociology? At the very least, American feminist sociology has created a rich foundation that Canadians can build on and dialogue with. Canadian sociologists sometime make the mistake of reading the numerous critiques of the missing feminist revolution in American sociology as evidence of the weakness of feminism in the discipline. In fact, the pervasive internal critique of mainstream sociology in the United States is evidence of the strength of feminism in the discipline, something patently obvious if one reads political science, economics or even history journals in the United States with any care and actually goes to the American sociology meetings with any regularity.
(4.) There is a long tradition in sociological analysis that argues that insights come from the margins of power and privilege. Strangers and nomads, from this perspective, can see society more clearly than those deeply imbedded in existing power relations and social structures (Coser 1965; Coser 1984; Kauppi 1996; Galliher and Galliher 1995; Seidman 1994; McLaughlin 1998). Contrary to this view on the social origins of creativity, there is another sociological tradition that emphasizes the creative potential that comes from links to core societal and institutional resources (Collins 1998; Merton 1949; Wolfe 1998; Gieryn and Hirsh 1983). Elsewhere I have argued that this longstanding debate is stale and irresolvable and have offered the concept of "optimal marginality" to suggest that there may be some forms and combinations of social marginality which lead to insight, and others which lead to marginal ideas (McLaughlin 2001). The case of Canadian sociology illustrates both possibilities.
(5.) Porter may be an example of someone who is "world famous in Canada," a particular social type identified by, I believe, Mordecai Richler. Wrong and Goffman, of course, made their careers in the United States. Smith grew up in Britain, was trained in the US and made her career here. This raises interesting questions regarding what is a Canadian sociologist and highlights the importance of internationalism and dialogue with the mainstream of the discipline as key "variables" in the sociology of sociological creativity.
(6.) Byrm's evidence for the lack of professionalism of the Canadian association is largely anecdotal but is likely to be convincing to many established sociologists. Despite significant progress in professionalization made by recent presidents of the CSAA, the future of the association is an open question and depends not on these details but on the larger issues.
(7.) Reading through recent issues of the CSAA journal suggests the quality of the journal does, in fact, seem to be improving although at other times, the special issues seem like glorified "edited collections" and some of the articles are analytically weak and light on evidence.
(8.) A recent report in Canada's national newspaper The Globe and Mail, gave figures for tuition in the Arts at Canadian universities. To pick the examples I used, for the academic year 2003-2004, it cost $4,184 a year for full-time attendance at Brock, $4,133 at McMaster, $4,193 at Queen' s, $4,185 at the University of Toronto and $4,840 at Trent. Remembering that this is in Canadian dollars, if one does the math and compares what it would cost to attend Harvard, Yale, Oberlin or Reed, one sees the issue of the flatness of the Canadian system in clear terms. Tuition at public institutions, for example, Ohio State (OSU) or The City University of New York (CUNY) would be higher than for even the most expensive Canadian universities. For a new, full-time student at OSU, the tuition per quarter is $2,217, which for a full academic year is $6,651. Translated into Canadian money, that would be roughly $8,000, nearly double the cost at McMaster or Brock. This is more complex outside of Ontario, particularly with regards to universities in Eastern Canada, but in comparative context "institutional flatness" is an accurate image for describing Canadian higher education.
(9.) Of course some Canadian universities see themselves as elite, as evidenced by a February 7, 2003 National Post article on "Elite schools". But even there, the proponents of elite funding are aware of the "traditional Canadian aversion to what many of us call differentiation" as Dr. Birgeneau puts it (Schmidt 2003). This larger issue is discussed with extensive documentation and more nuance in Nock (1997).
(10.) It is important not to make too much of this point, since right-wing critics of the politics of professors have all too often created a myth of tenured radicals with unreasonable politics, something clearly contradicted by scholars who have done empirical research on the question (Hamilton and Hargens 1993; Lipset 1982; Nakhaie and Brym 1999).
(11.) It is not that American sociology has high status in American culture, as evidenced by Diane Bjorklund's excellent and very funny article "Sociologists as Characters in Twentieth-Century Novels," (Bjorklund 2001). Moreover, American sociology is and always has been full of conflict between the representatives of elite universities, proponents of "mainstream sociology," radical and/or populist critical sociologists and scholars who stress the importance of teaching at the non-elite public institutions. My point is the hierarchy of the American system keeps these diverse types of sociologists together, competing and arguing in ways that have benefited the discipline.
(12.) Some of this pressure is cushioned by the Canadian nationalist desire to remain distinct from the United States and the state support for Canadian art and literature that flows from this political and cultural consensus. I am not saying here that Canadian literary studies are more post-modern than American literary studies--an empirical question to which I am not sure of the answer. Nor have I gathered data looking at the relative tightness of the humanities labour market in Canada and the United States. Overall, however, the flatness of the Canadian educational system gives a stronger push outward to humanities scholars in our universities in order to gain access to scarce resources.
(13.) At the 2003 ASA meeting, the theory section held a mini-conference with panel discussions featuring dialogue between various theoretical camps, including classical theorists, formal scientific theorists and various critical/post modern theorists. The critical camp was represented by a number of young scholars who gave interesting presentations but who generally don't engage with the sociological theory mainstream as much as they could. Charles Lemert, a major American post-modern theorist, chaired the session and made a point about how it seemed many young critical theorists seemed to come from Canada. Clearly there are some interesting social theorists writing in Canada, often somewhat off the beaten sociological path, as in the case of John O'Neill or David MacGregor. My own view is that in the American case non-traditional theorists like Lemert, Seidman, Aronowitz, Clough and Smith have brought interesting perspectives into the discipline, ideas it can absorb and dialogue with. In Canadian sociology, on the other hand, we do not have a strong enough core to our disciplinary theory to afford to open up our boundaries any further, and much of our critical theory lacks empirical grounding and an openness to the alternative perspectives represented by formal American style theories or the quality historical/cultural sociology so important to theory today. Critical theory, moreover, runs the danger of being such a generic category that it means little (Davies 1995; McLaughlin 1999; Van den Berg 1980).
(14.) Kumar, as well as others, argue we would be better off with the social theory of the English, even if that means a weak institution of sociology (Kumar 2001). It is the institutional issues that are a stake here, as well the need for a sociological theory linked to multi-method empirical research traditions in ways different from philosophy or social criticism (McLaughlin 1998; McLaughlin 1999). From my perspective, both specialized empirical social science and speculative social theory have their place, and the English have been less successful at the sociological version of the former.
(15.) It is no accident that Canada established a large number of joint anthropology/sociology programs (some of which still exist at major research universities) and has a professional association called The Canadian Sociology and Anthropology Association. The weakness and indecision of the discipline is illustrated by the fact that efforts to change the name of the association to a purely sociological professional body were recently unsuccessful despite the fact that anthropologists left the organization and formed their own organization which wants us to change our name!
(16.) Abrams stresses the entrenched power of established disciplines in Great Britain and the openness of the political system to both applied research and reformist intellectual politicians as structural dynamics that discourage the "role innovation" that created sociology in France, Germany and later the United States (Abrams 1968).
(17.) Obviously my tongue is firmly in cheek here, for Britain does better in sociology than Bermuda or France does in hockey. Canada is a declining world power in hockey, while only a new kid on the block in sociology. Still, my general point holds. Anglo-Canadian sociology should build on models that work, not simply follow a path dependant road shaped by our colonial past.
(18.) An example from my own personal experience makes my point concrete. I first started thinking about a possible relationship between the flatness of the Canadian higher education system and the institutional crisis of Canadian sociology at a panel at the Congress for the Social Sciences and Humanities where Scott Davies was presenting his comparative analysis of education in Canada (Davies and Hammack 2005). Stimulated by the presentation, I asked a question about precisely this possibility. The very next question came from a York University graduate student who prefaced his remarks by pointing out that we should be less concerned with "saving sociology's ass" and focus instead on resisting the Harris government which was in power in Ontario at the time. I personally would agree that building a strong left in Canada and preserving our welfare state is more important than preserving sociology, if I really had to choose. The problem is one of what Goffman would call "situational propriety." We were, of course, at a sociology meeting where thinking analytically and concerning oneself with sociology's institutional health is precisely what we should be doing. The student was focused on left strategy, assuming everyone in the room was either left-wing/activist oriented or a liberal sellout. The student's tone was familiar to me, but it reminded me of my days in the American socialist movement and was nothing like anything I had ever experienced at the American Sociological Association meetings.
(19.) Certainly there are exceptions to my point, some of them discussed in the essays by Hiller and Langlois and Nock in The Canadian Journal of Sociology (Hiller and Langlois 2001 and Nock 2001). My concern is to avoid boosterism and excuses.
(20.) Journals like Studies in Political Economy are essential for the development and sustaining of radical ideas as well as starting the careers of young scholars, but they should not be used as an alternative to publishing in the mainstream by tenured and tenure-stream scholars in sociology. The view that many talented Canadian scholars hold that the better American journals will not publish work based on Canadian data is, I fear, a way of avoiding the hard work required to move one's work up to a new level of sophistication and rigour.
(21.) I heard Susan McDaniel emphasize the international contributions of English Canadian sociology along these data gathering lines at a panel at the recent Congress meeting in Halifax alongside Paul Bernard's discussion of the important relationship of sociologists in Quebec to policy. Reasonable points, but they do not really deal with the institutional issues outlined here.
(22.) My position is different from Claire Polster's stimulating critique of the Canadian Foundation for Innovation and Canada Research Chairs Program (Polster 2002). I agree with much of her critique of a new market logic, her concern about union rights, local university/town linkages and her opposition to the anti-democratic processes that have driven recent changes in Canadian higher education. My difference with Polster, however, is that I would emphasize the need to reward and promote academic excellence (but not direct application to government and business needs) even if this did introduce more hierarchy in our system. Complicated issues, and I certainly have no easy answer to Tocqueville's classic posing of the tensions that exist between democracy, equality and intellectual and cultural standards.
(23.) In the United States, one thinks of David Riesman, C. Wright Mills, Lewis Coser, Daniel Bell, Frances Fox Piven, Arlie Hochschild, William Julius Wilson or Alan Wolfe (Brint 1994; Posner 2001; Royce 1996; Wolfe 1998). In France, Bourdieu comes to mind (Kauppi 1996) and we have discussed public sociology in England at some length earlier in this paper. It is important not into fall into an only a "nationally famous sociologist" is a "public sociologist" frame, since many local public intellectuals do excellent work, and many of them are from sociology (Royce 1996). Still, it would be hard to argue that we have succeeded in establishing a strong intellectual presence for sociology in Canadian intellectual life. There are structural and historical issues involved here, relating to the market for books in Canada and the fact that we do not have the same density of intellectual journals as exists in the States (Kadushin 1974). Yet wishing this were different will not make it so. It will be interesting to see if SSHRC's "Knowledge Council" proposal for lay journals will be successful in addressing this deficit.
(24.) Curtis, for example, is the author of a book called The Politics of Population: State Formation, Statistics, and the Census of Canada. 1840-75 (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2001) which won the CSAA's Porter Award for best book of the year in 2003. An excellent scholarly Foucault-inspired historical critique of the creation of the census by the Canadian state, Curtis' s work is just about as far from mainstream sociology as one could possibly imagine while staying within recognizable boundaries of the discipline.
(25.) O'Malley and Hunt find it "dangerous" that Curtis and Weir want to restore disciplinary boundaries. To me, danger involves terrorism, crime, cancer, Arnold as American president, and trucks that drive too fast.
(26.) Ask yourself when is the last time a Canadian economics, psychology or political science department hired an English PhD or a Sociology PhD in a tenure stream position?
(27.) For useful discussion of Anti-Americanism see Markovits (2004) and various writings of Todd Gitlin.
(28.) One small practical thing for the leadership of the CSAA, would be to push SSHRC peer reviewers to follow-up more energetically to ensure that scholars who obtain multiple grants over many years are publishing, in addition to other things they do, in high quality sociology journals and book presses. It is easy to get on a grants treadmill, but if the leadership of the discipline is not pushed to emphasize quality publications over number of grants or number of publications when accessing grants, the discipline as a whole suffers. A tighter ship in this regard, would leave more money available for younger scholars and it would ensure that graduate students working with senior scholars learn how to publish quality not just quantity. Moreover, having too many graduates students tied to doing research for the same professors, stifles innovation, especially if those professors are not at the very top of the sociology publishing world. Most likely, of course, SSHRC's transformation into a "Knowledge Council" will further centralize funding in the social sciences. At the department level, we should also be pushing for quality of publications and not grant getting abilities and pure numbers of publications. Deans will push back the other way, but a reasonable balance will be struck between practical realities and quality scholarship only if we stand up for the reputational autonomy of the discipline (Whitely 1984). Quality sociology journals do not have to only include ASR, AJS and Social Forces (although it certainly should include these journals), but we cannot allow an "anything goes" culture. A Canadian sociology where the faculty are publishing more regularly in the major American specialist and regional journals and quality international journals such as Sociological Theory, Theory and Society, Social Problems, European Sociological Review, Sociology of Education, Work and Occupations, The Sociological Quarterly, Sociological Forum, The Journal of Marriage and the Family and The Journal of Health and Social Behavoir would be a stronger and more interesting discipline. More emphasis could be given on rewarding high quality book publishing, de-emphasizing the value of textbook writing and commercial academic presses such as Routledge.
(29.) One concrete suggestion along these lines would be to eventually merge the annual qualitative meetings held in Canada with the CSAA meetings.
(30.) My own view is that sociology should retain a space for public intellectual work, the theme of the 2004 "Public Sociologies" meeting of the ASA. This is a complicated issue, however, worth serious debate and research with an eye to combining this vision for sociology with scholarly excellence (Buxton and Turner 1992; Coser 1984; McLaughlin 1998; Posner 2001 ; Royce 1996; Seidman 1994; Willinsky 2000).
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