- Pure sociology
Pure Sociology is a controversial but revolutionary fact|date=July 2008 approach developed by Donald Black as an alternative to the individualistic focus of virtually all previous theories and paradigms in the discipline. Initially developed to explain variation in
legal behavior, Pure Sociology has later been applied to a broad range of forms of conflict managementas well as to the distribution of ideas, science, art, and God, by Black as well as a growing school of Blackian Sociologists.Fact|date=June 2007
This approach attempts to explain social life (the sociological behavior of organizations, groups, relationships, and interpersonal facts such as murder and art) solely with reference to variable aspects of
social structure, such as the distribution of resources or degree of past interaction among participants, rather than to anything remotely psychological, such as wants, needs, beliefs, desire, preferences, meanings, intentions, hopes, choices, or anything else remotely individual. Pure Sociology is thus free from Psychology, as well as teleology- and even people, as such.
It is said above that Black developed (rather than invented) this approach because it arguably extends from earlier Sociological work, ranging from Durkheim's emphasis on social explanations for individual behavior to later work in the variation of police (and other legal) behavior. While pre-Blackian Sociology typically does retain and entail elements of psychology and teleology, so that Black's epistemological strategy is unique, it may also be understood as a radical extension of Sociology rather than something entirely new.
Pure Sociology is, objectively, an entirely new way to conduct
sociology.Fact|date=June 2007 Virtually all previous (and other) sociology addresses either mental constructs ( psychology), the purposes of action ( teleology), or individuals as such - and most of it does all three. Pure Sociology reconceptualizes social behavior as something that doesn't exist in the mind, is not explainable by the aims of actions, and is supraindividual. That may sound Durkheimian but, as Black has said, the approach is "more Durkheimian than Durkheim". (By contrast, Durkheim, for example, ultimately explains suicideas the internal, individualistic response to one of several kinds of social context.)
Pure Sociology has a growing Fact|date=June 2007 school of theoretical practitioners who utilize at least some elements of Black's
epistemologyas well as his explanatory strategy and theoretical model of Social Geometry, including Professors [http://ww2.wpunj.edu/cohss/sociology/faculty/baumgartner.htm M.P. Baumgartner] , [http://uga.edu/soc/people/faculty/cooney_mark.php Mark Cooney] , [http://web.soc.ufl.edu/faculty/borg.htm Marian Borg] , Ellis Godard, [http://www.ihhcpar.rutgers.edu/about_us/members.asp?v=2&d=1&i=19 Allen Horwitz] , [http://cas.loyno.edu/sociology/bios/kondkar.html Marcus Kondkar] (formerly Marcus Mahmood), [http://www.faculty.uci.edu/profile.cfm?faculty_id=4648&termp_list= Calvin Morrill] , [http://history.wlu.edu/senechal.htm Roberta Senechal de la Roche] , and [http://www.unh.edu/sociology/faculty/tucker.html James Tucker] .
Among others, Thomas J. Scheff, Professor Emeritus at the University of California-Santa Barbara, has criticized the idea that sociologists should ignore characteristics of individuals in explaining social life. In a letter published in Contemporary Sociology he argues theories that give no role to individuals' desires, beliefs and other aspects of their psychology are inadequate. Instead, Scheff argues, the only way to explain social phenomena is "to utilize variables from all relevant disciplines." After all, "it seems senseless to try to explain human conduct exclusively within a single discipline." [Scheff, Thomas. 2003. Contemporary Sociology, Vol. 32, No. 4. (Jul., 2003), pp. 544. [http://www.soc.ucsb.edu/faculty/scheff/28.html Freely Accessible Version] - [http://links.jstor.org/sici?sici=0094-3061%28200307%2932%3A4%3C544%3AC%5BTJSA%3E2.0.CO%3B2-I JSTOR Version, Stable URL] ]
He concludes by considering why some people might find "Pure Sociology" appealing:
"If the determination to keep sociology pure does not advance our understanding of the real world, what other function could it serve? In an earlier essay (Scheff 1995) I proposed that allegiance to a discipline, whatever it’s other functions, also helps members to defend against feelings of separation and alienation. The emphasis by most of the contributors to this Symposium on keeping sociology 'pure' and on 'purity,' suggests a further refinement of this idea.
The anthropologist Mary Douglas (1966) has suggested that a focus on purity has a primitive function: defending the status quo in a tribe or other group. The quest for purity, she states, is deeply reactionary: "Purity is the enemy of change, of ambiguity, and compromise (2002, p. 163). Perhaps we need miscegenation between disciplines, sub-disciplines, methods and levels, rather than purity (Scheff 1997). To this end I will propose a public debate on the integration of the social sciences. If the social sciences are to advance, they may need to cooperate, rather than to compete or ignore each other." [Scheff, Thomas. 2003. Contemporary Sociology, Vol. 32, No. 4. (Jul., 2003), pp. 545. [http://www.soc.ucsb.edu/faculty/scheff/28.html Freely Accessible Version] - [http://links.jstor.org/sici?sici=0094-3061%28200307%2932%3A4%3C544%3AC%5BTJSA%3E2.0.CO%3B2-I JSTOR Version, Stable URL] ]
Response to Criticism
Some practitioners of "pure sociology" argue that the
validityof existing theoretical work is a matter separate from the potential value of the more abstract epistemological approach - firstly because the epistemology could be valued even if it never generates valid ideas,Fact|date=June 2007 and secondly because the validity of future ideas cannot be ascertained by measuring the validity of current ones. Thus, even if "every" test of a theory derived from "pure sociology" failed some Blackian sociologists argue it would challenge the epistemology but not extinguish it.Fact|date=June 2007
See also, last set of references under Donald Black article.
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* 1984a. “Social Control from Below.” Toward a General Theory of Social Control, Volume 1: Fundamentals, edited by Donald Black. Orlando: Academic Press.
* 1984b. “Social Control in Suburbia.” In Toward a General Theory of Social Control, Volume 2: Selected Problems, edited by Donald Black. Orlando: Academic Press.
* 1985. “Law and the Middle Class: Evidence from a Suburban Town.” Law and Human Behavior 9(1):3-24.
* 1987. “Utopian justice: the covert facilitation of white-collar crime.” Journal of Social Issues 43:61-69.
* 1988. The Moral Order of a Suburb. New York: Oxford University Press.
* 1992a. “War and Peace in Early Childhood.” Pages 1-38 in Virginia Review of Sociology: Law and Conflict Management, edited by James Tucker. Greenwich, CT: JAI Press Inc.
* 1992b. “Violent networks: The origins and management of domestic conflict.” Pages 209-231 in Aggression and Violence: The Social Interactionist Perspective, edited by Richard B. Felson and James T. Tedeschi. Washington D.C.: American Psychological Association.
* 1993a. “On the Overlegalized Conception of Modern Society.” Contemporary Sociology 22(3):336-337.
* 1993b. “The myth of discretion.” Pages 129-162 in The Uses of Discretion, edited by Keith Hawkins. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
* 1996. “A Better Place to Live: Reshaping the American Suburb.” Contemporary Sociology 25(2):222-224.
* 1998. “The Moral Voice of the Community.” Sociological Focus 31(2):??-??. (editor)
* 1999a. The Social Organization of Law. San Diego: Academic Press.
* 1999b. “Introduction.” Pages 1-8 in The Social Organization of Law, edited by M.P. Baumgartner. San Diego, Academic Press (second edition; first edition, 1973).
* 2001. “The sociology of law in the United States.” The American Sociologist 32(Summer):99-113. Thematic Issue: The Sociology of Law, edited by A. Javier Trevino.
* 2002. “‘The Behavior of Law’, or How to Socologize with a Hammer.” Contemporary Sociology 31(6):644-649.
* 1976. "The Behavior of Law." New York: Academic Press.
* 1979. “A strategy of pure sociology”. Pages 149-168 in "Theoretical Perspectives in Sociology", edited by Scott G. McNall. New York: St. Martin’s Press.
* 1995. “The Epistemology of Pure Sociology”. "Law and Social Inquiry" 20:829-870.
* 1998. "The Social Structure of Right and Wrong, revised edition" San Diego: Academic Press.
* 2000. “Dreams of Pure Sociology.” "Sociological Theory" 18(3):343-367.
* 2004a “The Geometry of Terrorism.” In “Theories of Terrorism,” symposium edited by Roberta Senechal de la Roche. Sociological Theory 22:14-25.
* 2004b. “Violent Structures.” Pages 145-158 in "Violence: From Theory to Research", edited by Margaret A. Zahn, Henry H. Brownstein, and Shelly L. Jackson. Cincinnati: Anderson Publishing Company.
* 1970. “Production of Crime Rates.” American Sociological Review 35:733-748.
* 1971. “The Social Organization of Arrest.” Stanford Law Review 23:1087-1111.
* 1972. “The Boundaries of Legal Sociology.” Yale Law Journal 81:1086-1100.
* 1973a. “The Mobilization of Law.” Journal of Legal Studies 2:125-149.
* 1973b. “Introduction.” Pages 1-14 in The Social Organization of Law, edited by Donald Black and Maureen Mileski. New York: Academic Press.
* 1976. The Behavior of Law. New York: Academic Press.
* 1979a. “Common Sense in the Sociology of Law.” American Sociological Review 44(1):18-27.
* 1979b. “A Note on the Measurement of Law.” Informationsbrief für Rechtssoziologie, Sonderheft 2:92-106.
* 1980. The Manners and Customs of the Police. New York: Academic Press.
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* 1983. “Crime as Social Control.” American Sociological Review 48:34-45.
* 1984a. Toward a General Theory of Social Control, Volume 1: Fundamentals. Orlando: Academic Press. (editor)
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* 1984c. “Social Control as a Dependent Variable.” In Toward a General Theory of Social Control, Volume 1: Fundamentals, edited by Donald Black. Orlando: Academic Press. (editor)
* 1984d. Toward a General Theory of Social Control, Volume 2: Selected Problems. Orlando: Academic Press. (editor)
* 1984e. “Preface.” Toward a General Theory of Social Control, Volume 2: Selected Problems, edited by Donald Black. Orlando: Academic Press.
* 1984f. “Jurocracy in America.” The Tocqueville Review – La Revue Tocquevelle 6:273-281.
* 1987a. “Compensation and the Social Structure of Misfortune.” Law & Society Review 21(4):563-584.
* 1987b. “A Note on the Sociology of Islamic Law.” Pages 47-62 in Perspectives on Islamic Law, Justice and Society, edited by Ravindra S. Khare. Working Papers, Number 3. Charlottesville: Center for Advanced Studies University of Virginia.
* 1989. Sociological Justice. New York: Oxford University Press.
* 1990. “The Elementary Forms of Conflict Management.” In New Direction in the Study of Justice, Law, and Social Control, prepared by the School of Justice Studies, Arizona State University. New York: Plenum Press.
* 1991. “Relative Justice.” Litigation 18:32-35.
* 1992. “Social Control of the Self.” Pages 39-49 in Virginia Review of Sociology: Law and Conflict Management, edited by James Tucker. Greenwich: JAI Press Inc.
* 1993. “La Mobilisation du Droit: Autobiographie d’un Concept: (The Mobilization of Law: Autobiography of a Concept”). Pages 376-378 in Dictionnaire Encyclopédique de Théorie et de Sociologie de Droit, under the direction of André-Jean Arnaud. Paris: Librairie, Générale de Droit et de Jurisprudence.
* 1995. “The Epistemology of Pure Sociology.” Law and Social Inquiry 20:829-870.
* 1997. “The Lawyerization of Legal Sociology.” Amici (Newsletter of the Sociology of Law Section, American Sociological Association) 5:4-7.
* 1998a. The Social Structure of Right and Wrong. San Diego: Academic Press.
* 1998b. “Crime as Social Control.” Pages 1-27 in Toward a General Theory of Social Control, Volume 2: Selected Problems, edited by Donald Black. Orlando: Academic Press.
* 2000a. “On the Origin of Morality.” Journal of Consciousness Studies 7:107-1191.
* 2000b. “The Purification of Sociology.” Contemporary Sociology 29(5):704-709.
* 2000c. “Dreams of Pure Sociology.” Sociological Theory 18(3):343-367.
* 2002a. “The Geometry of Law: An Interview with Donald Black”, by Aaron Bell. International Journal of the Sociology of Law 30:101-129.
* 2002b. “Terrorism as Social Control. Part I: The Geometry of Destruction.” American Sociological Association Crime, Law, and Deviance Newsletter Spring:3-5.
* 2002c. “Terrorism as Social Control. Part II: The Geometry of Retaliation.” American Sociological Association Crime, Law, and Deviance Newsletter Summer:3-5.
* 2002d. “Pure Sociology and the Geometry of Discovery.” In Toward a New Science of Sociology: A Retrospective Evaluation of The Behavior of Law, by Allan V. Horwitz. Contemporary Sociology 31(6):668-674.
* 2004a. “The Geometry of Terrorism.” In “Theories of Terrorism,” symposium edited by Roberta Senechal de la Roche. Sociological Theory 22:14-25.
* 2004b. “Violent Structures.” Pages 145-158 in Violence: From Theory to Research, edited by Margaret A. Zahn, Henry H. Brownstein, and Shelly L. Jackson. Cincinnati: Anderson Publishing Company.
* 2004c. “Legal Relativity.” In Encyclopedia of Law and Society: American and Global Perspective, edited by David S. Clark. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.
* 2004d. “Terrorism as Social Control.” In Terrorism and Counter-Terrorism: Criminological Perspectives, edited by Mathieu Deflem. New York: Elsevier Ltd.
* 2005. “Legal Relativity.” In the Encyclopedia of Law and Society: American and Global Perspectives, edited by David S. Clark. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.
Black, Donald and M.P. Baumgartner
* 1983. “Toward a Theory of Third Party.” Pages 84-114 in Empirical Theories about Courts, edited by Keith O. Boyum and Lynn Mather. New York: Longman.
* 1987. “On Self-Help In Modern Society.” Dialectical Anthropology 12:33-44. Also, pages 193-208 in The Manners and Customs of the Police, by Donald Black. New York: Academic Press.
Borg, Marian J.
* 1992. “Conflict Management in the Modern World-System.” Sociological Forum 7(2):261-282.
* 2000. “Drug testing in organizations: applying Horwitz’s theory of the effectiveness of social control.” Deviant Behavior 21:123-154.
Borg, Marian J. and William P. Arnold III
* 1997. “Social Monitoring as Social Control: The Case of Drug Testing in a Medical Workplace.” Sociological Forum 12(3):441-460.
* 2005. “Genocide as Social Control.” Paper presented at the annual meeting of the Southern Sociological Society, Charlotte, April.
* 1986. “Behavioral Sociology of Law: A Defence.” The Modern Law Review 49(2):262-271.
* 1989. “Legal Secrets: Equality and Efficiency in the Common Law.” The American Journal of Sociology 95(2):536-537.
* 1992. “Racial Discrimination in Arrest.” Pages 99-119 in Virginia Review of Sociology: Law and Conflict Management, edited by James Tucker. Greenwich, CT: JAI Press Inc.
* 1993. “Why is Economic Analysis So Appealing to Law Professors?” Stanford Law Review 45(6):2211-2230.
* 1994. “Evidence as Partisanship.” Law and Society Review 28(4):833-858.
* 1995. “The Struggle for Control: A Study of Law, Disputes, and Deviance.” Social Forces 73(3):1174-1175.
* 1997a. “From Warre to Tyranny: Lethal Conflict and the State.” American Sociological Review 62(2):316-338.
* 1997b. “The decline of elite homicide.” Criminology 35:381-407.
* 1997c. “Hunting among police and predators: The enforcement of traffic law.” Studies in Law, Politics, and Society 16: 165-188.
* 1998a. Warriors and Peacemakers: How Third Parties Shape Violence. New York: New York University Press.
* 1998b. "The Dark Side of Community: Moralistic Homicide and Strong Social Ties." Sociological Focus 31: 135-153.
* 2001. "Legal Aspects of Feud/Internal War." Section 3.8 in International Encyclopedia of the Social and Behavioral Sciences, edited by
Neil J. Smelserand Paul B. Baltes.
* 2002a. “Typologizing Violence: A Blackian Perspective.” International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy 22(7/8):75-108.
* 2002b. “Still Paying the Price of Heterodoxy: ‘The Behavior of Law’ a Quarter-Century On.” Contemporary Sociology 31(6):658-661.
* 2003. “The Privatization of Violence.” Criminology 41(4):1377-1406.
* 2006. “The Criminological Potential of Pure Sociology.” Crime, Law, and Social Change 46:51-63.
Cooney, Mark and Scott Phillips
* 2002. “Typologizing Violence: A Blackian Perspective.” International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy 22(7/8):75-108.
* 2003. “Reel life: the social geometry of reality shows.” Pages 73-96 in Survivor Lessons: Essays on Communication and Reality Television, edited by Matthew J. Smith and Andrew F. Wood. Jefferson, NC: McFarland & Company.
Horwitz, Allan V.
* 1982a. The Social Control of Mental Illness. New York: Academic Press.
* 1982-3. “Resistance to innovation in the sociology of law: a reply to Greenberg.” Law and Society Review 17:369-384.
* 1984. “Therapy and Social Solidarity.” Toward a General Theory of Social Control, Volume 1: Fundamentals, edited by Donald Black. Orlando: Academic Press.
* 1990. The Logic of Social Control. New York: Plenum Press.
* 1995. “Diversion in the juvenile justice system and a sociological theory of social control.” Pages 17-34 in Diversion and Informal Social Control, edited by Günter Albrecht and Wolfgang Ludwig-Mayerhofer. Berlin: Walter de Gruyter. (editor)
* 2002a. “A Continuities Symposium on Donald Black’s The Behavior of Law.” Contemporary Sociology 31(November):641-674. (editor)
* 2002b. “Toward a New Science of Social Life: A Retrospective Examination of ‘The Behavior of Law’.” Contemporary Sociology 31(6):641-644.
* 2002c. Creating Mental Illness. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
Michalski, Joseph H.
* 2003. “Financial Altruism or Unilateral Resource Exchanges? Toward a Pure Sociology of Welfare.” Sociological Theory 21(4):341-358.
* 1989. “The management of managers: disputing in an executive hierarchy.” Sociological Forum 4:387-407.
* 1992. “Vengeance among Executives.” Pages 51-76 in Virginia Review of Sociology: Law and Conflict Management, edited by James Tucker. Greenwich, CT: JAI Press Inc.
* 1995. The Executive Way: Conflict Management in Corporations. Chicago, IL: The University of Chicago Press.
* 2003. “The Social Structure of Vengeance: A Test of Black’s Model.” Criminology 41(3):673-708.
Phillips, Scott and Mark Cooney
* 2005. “Aiding Peace, Abetting Violence: Third Parties and the Management of Conflict.” American Sociological Review 70:334-354.
Senechal de la Roche, Roberta
* 1995. “Beyond the Behavior of Law.” Law and Social Inquiry 20(3):777-785.
* 1996. “Collective Violence as Social Control.” Sociological Forum 11(1):97-128.
* 1997. “The sociogenesis of lynching.” Pages 48-76 in Under Sentence of Death: Lynching in the South, edited by W. Fitzhugh Brundage. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press.
* 2001. “Why is Collective Violence Collective?” Sociological Theory 19(2):126-144.
* 2004. “Modern lynchings.” Pages 213-225 in Violence: From Theory to Research, edited by Margaret A. Zahn, Henry H. Brownstein, and Shelly L. Jackson. Cincinnati: Anderson Publishing Company.
* 1989. “Employee theft as social control.” Deviant Behavior 10:319-334.
* 1992. Virginia Review of Sociology: Law and Conflict Management. Greenwich, CT: JAI Press Inc. (editor)
* 1992. “Preface.” Page ix in Virginia Review of Sociology: Law and Conflict Management, edited by James Tucker. Greenwich, CT: JAI Press Inc.
* 1993. “Everyday forms of employee resistance.” Sociological Forum 8:25-45.
* 1999a. The Therapeutic Corporation. New York: Oxford University Press.
* 1999b. “Therapy, organization, and the state: a Blackian perspective.” Pages 78-87 in Counseling and the Therapeutic State, edited by James J. Chriss. New York: Aldine de Gruyter.
* 1999c. “Worker deviance as social control.” Research in the Sociology of Work 8:1-16.
* 2002. “Becoming a Pure Sociologist.” Contemporary Sociology 31(6):661-664.
* 2002. “New Age religion and the cult of the self.” Society January/February: 46-51.
* 2004. “How not to explain murder.” Global Crime 6, 2: 235-243.
* 2004. “New Age Healers and the Therapeutic Culture.” Pages 153-169 in The Therapeutic Culture, edited by Jonathan Imber. New Brunswick: Transaction Publishers.
Tucker, James and Susan Ross
* 2004. “Corporal punishment and Black’s theory of social control.” In Corporal Punishment in Theoretical Perspective, edited by Michael J. Donnelly and Murray A. Strauss. New Haven: Yale University Press.
Papers Attempting to Test "Pure Sociology"
* Norris, Michael, Christopher Birkbeck, and Luis Gerardo Gabaldon. 2006. "Social Geometry and Force: A Partial Test of Black's Theory of Law with Mexican, U.S., and Venezuelan Police." Journal of Contemporary Criminal Justice 22:324-346.
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