a telling criticism

 

 

[C. Wright Mills’s] The Sociological Imagination … was a collection of literary essays–some brilliant, others pedestrian-that permitted the profession to engage in the sort of self-analysis that too few people in the sociological positivism of the 1950s were prepared to engage in. True enough Pitirim Sorokin made a similar effort [in his Fads and Foibles in Modern Sociology and Related Sciences], but it was so laden with moral judgments and psychological mysticism that it could not penetrate to the heart of the issues raised by the dominant tendencies toward empiricism. Sorokin in his own distinct way, like [Talcott] Parsons, became captive to generalizations that were so rich in tautology and platitudes that we forgot how often devoid they were in specific reference points. [italics added]

 

— Irving Louis Horowitz, “C. Wright Mills, 1916-1962: Bright Lights and Dark Shadows,” Contemporary Sociology, Vol. 41, No. 4 (July 2012), pg. 415

 

 

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

 

 
What I would be inclined to say is that the late Irving Louis Hortwitz, a distinguished American sociologist, made an excellent point — in this article about C. Wright Mills — about Pitirim A. Sorokin’s shortcomings as a scholar and writer. True, it was only a passing remark.

Horowitz was a student of Mills at Columbia University and edited two posthumous collections of Mills’s work. Note that he also found fault with the writings of Sorokin’s nemesis Talcott Parsons!

 

 
— Roger W. Smith

   April 2019