“Even more absurd was a request from P. A. Sorokin.”

 

“There were other interesting ways in which intensity of feeling showed itself in irrational ways, showing how human good scholars can be.

“During my editorship of the ASR [American Sociological Review] the president of SSSP [The Society for the Study of Social Problems] sent in a proposed constitution for that organization, requesting that it be published in the ASR. Since the Review never had a policy of printing constitutions of other societies (or even that of the ASA!), the paper was returned. My reward was a denunciation in a Council meeting and a further drubbing in a letter to the president of ASA, with copies to various other leading sociologists.

“Even more absurd was a request from P.A. Sorokin, who demanded that I publish a statement accusing Talcott Parsons of plagiarism from Sorokin’s works. This was not the product of a reasonable mind; his principal argument was that Parsons had based a theory on the three elements of society, culture, and personality–an idea that was clearly in the public domain. On receiving a rejection, Sorokin responded with an angry letter, threatening to publish the statement elsewhere and to add that it had been refused by me, Editor of ASR. I terminated the correspondence by writing that if he did, he should add that the Editor had submitted the statement to every associate editor and that each one had recommended against printing it. I never learned if he attempted to publish it elsewhere.”

— “Recollections of a Half Century of Life in the ASA,” By Robert E. L. Faris, The American Sociologist, Vol. 16, No. 1 (February , 1981), pp. 51-52

— posted by Roger W. Smith

      August 2021