Barry Johnston, “Sorokin and Parsons at Harvard”

 

 

 

sorokin-and-parsons-at-harvard

 

 

Attached (above) as a downloadable PDF file is an article by Sorokin biographer Barry V. Johnston:

 

Barry Johnston, “Sorokin and Parsons at Harvard: Institutional Conflict and The Origin of a Hegemonic Tradition,” Journal of the History of the Behavioral Sciences, Volume 22 (April 1986), pp. 107-127

a bitter exchange

 

Crane Brinton, ‘Socio-Astrology’

 

‘Historionics’ (Sorkin Reply to Crane Brinton)

 

 

 

*****************************************************

 

A remarkable exchange between Harvard history professor Crane Brinton and Pitirim A. Sorokin, then chairman of Harvard’s Department of Sociology, occurred in 1937 and 1938 in the pages of The Southern Review, a respected journal. That it appeared in The Southern Review, a literary journal, rather than a journal devoted to history or sociology, is noticeable.

Professor Brinton’s article comprised as an appraisal of the first three volumes of Sorokin’s magnum opus, Social and Cultural Dynamics. It was not a standard review, by any means; it was, in fact an essay-review. It was over twenty pages long. Professor Sorokin’s rejoinder was about ten pages long.

Brinton attacks Sorokin with no holds barred, criticizing everything from the methodology and assumptions underlying the work to what he views as Sorokin’s atrocious prose style. Sorokin, clearly stung by the review, responded with a strenuous defense of his work in which he seemed at times to be on the defensive and in other sections of his rejoinder essay tried to even the score with a vigorous counterattack.

The two articles are posted above as downloadable PDF files.

Crane Brinton, Socio-Astrology, The Southern Review, vol. 3 (fall 1937), pp. 243-266

Pitirim A. Sorokin, “Histrionics,” The Southern Review, vol. 3 (winter 1938), pp. 554-564

 

— Roger W. Smith

   August 2017