The Epistemological and Ontological Foundation of Alvin Gouldner's Applied Sociology

Tuesday, 12 July 2016: 10:45
Location: Hörsaal 6A P (Neues Institutsgebäude (NIG))
Oral Presentation
Shujiro YAZAWA, Center of Glocal Studies, Seijo University, Japan
From the earliest stage to the last stage, Alvin Gouldner’s sociology was an applied sociology and Logos Armed. In 1950’s he became a President of Society for the Study of Social Problem. He edited a book entitled Applied Sociology with S.M. Miller in 1968. He had been working on creating a reflexive apllied or clinical or practical sociology in his entire life. He always tried to make clear philosophical, epistemological, methodological and ontological foundation of his sociology.

 In the first part, this paper will investigate the structure of his applied sociology in 50’s and 60’s by analyzing his articles, his edited book Applied Sociologyand his critique of Howard Becker’s sociology of social problems. This investigation will show that the most critical issue was around the relationship between the infrastructure (personal reality) of theory and theory itself.

 In the second part, this paper will investigate and examine sources and structure of his reflexive sociology. (1) Romanticism-M. Weber, (2) K. Mannheim-R. Merton’s sociology of knowledge, (3) Saint-Simon and technocracy, (4) American pragmatism, especially (5) C.S. Pierce’s Philosophy of continuum and (6) G.H. Mead, and (7) Western Marxism‘s self-critique will be examined. Sources could be multiple. But this article will find that the most important sources are American pragmatism’s idea of “personally real”, the priority of practice, Pierce’s philosophy of continum, theory is practice and G.H. Mead’s theory of self.

 In the third part, this paper will clarify epistemology and ontology of Gouldner’s reflexive sociology. His ontology is clear. But his epistemology remained to be ambiguous. This paper will try to clarify his epistemology and its problems. The author would like to pay attention to psycho-analytic social theories which did not neglect emotion.

 Finally this paper will briefly discuss about his sociology’s implications to empirical research