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A History of Sociology in BritainScience, Literature, and Society$
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A. H. Halsey

Print publication date: 2004

Print ISBN-13: 9780199266609

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: April 2004

DOI: 10.1093/0199266603.001.0001

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(p.3) Introduction
A History of Sociology in Britain

A. H. Halsey

Oxford University Press

It is becoming standard for sociologists to preface their books with a brief autobiography. This I have done, emphasizing belief in the potency of politics as the atmosphere of LSE in the 1940s. A strong tradition of empirical sociological enquiry has existed since the ‘invisible college’ of the seventeenth century. But sociology belongs to all human civilization, not only to Britain, which was arguably slow in promoting academic sociology.

Five themes will be elaborated in the following chapters: (1) The consequences of Darwin; (2) the division of ownership of the subject between science and literature; (3) methods in the study of society focussing on the scientific and statistical history of the sample survey; (4) the use of sociology in social policy and its characteristic capture by the Fabians and (5) the institutionalization of academic sociology at LSE before 1950.

Keywords:   empiricism, environmentalism, eugenics, explanation, interpretation, neo‐Darwinism, positivism, potency of politics, science and literature, social policy

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