The Sacred Project of American Sociology 1st Edition

4.1 out of 5 stars 22 ratings
ISBN-13: 978-0199377138
ISBN-10: 0199377138
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Editorial Reviews


"[A] slim, masterful volume."--Richard Spady, First Things

"What, one might ask, could possess a well-established and well-known sociologist to write an account of his discipline as a sacred project while at the same time exposing its close-minded outlook? The answer Christian Smith provides is both bracing and sad, bracing in its thoroughness and originality, and sad in the very necessity to shine such a light on a discipline that is largely blind to the unintended consequences of its lopsided claims about the nature of social reality. Smith's observations are a carefully assembled, empirical confirmation that sociology still has important insights and ideas to convey to both students and the public, but that it has failed decisively in its efforts to account for life beyond the very narrow confines of its own expectations about what is right and wrong with that life."-Jonathan B. Imber, Jean Glasscock Professor of Sociology and Editor-in-Chief of Society

"Christian Smith has developed a fresh and creative perspective on contemporary American sociology as a sacred project. His arguments are bold and provocative. Smith has begun a discussion that is vitally important for the present and future of the discipline, and his efforts deserve a wide and attentive audience."-Christopher G. Ellison, Professor of Sociology, Dean's Distinguished Professor of Social Science, University of Texas at San Antonio

"'Emancipation, autonomy, affirmation!' That is the revolutionary creed of American sociology, or so Christian Smith argues in the most unflinching look at the discipline since Alvin Gouldner. By excavating the moral unconscious of the sociological project, Smith prompts us to ask whether these should be our sole and highest values and whether they are not at odds with one another in profound and unexamined ways."-Philip Gorski, Professor of Sociology, Yale University

"Smith's book should be read not just by his fellow sociologists but by anyone who is concerned about the current state of higher education. will, hopefully, cause a dust-up beyond the sociology departments of the nation's campuses."-National Catholic Reporter

"Sociologists want to present themselves as objective scientists of the social order, but when Christian Smith looks at his disciple he doesn't see science. He sees the Sacred Project of American Sociology, sociology constituted as a project that he is even willing to describe as "spiritual." He applies a "sociology of religion" to the discipline of American sociology itself. Smith concludes that there is no obvious way to hold sociology accountable. Perhaps this courageous, hard-hitting book might stir the pot just enough to get sociologists to take another look at their totems."-First Things

"The Sacred Project of American Sociology provides a compelling and provocative characterization of American sociology. Overall the book raises many important questions that are relevant for sociologists in the United States and beyond. Sociology, as a discipline, will clearly benefit from taking a critical look inwards in order to discover potentially harmful inconsistencies."-Acta Sociologica

"Based on his experience in this area of research, but aiming far beyond its limits, he has now published a deeply passionate, sometimes polemical, diagnosis of the current state of American sociology in general."-- American Journal of Sociology

About the Author

Christian Smith is the William R. Kenan, Jr. Professor of Sociology at the University of Notre Dame, Director of the Center for the Study of Religion and Society, Director of the Notre Dame Center for Social Research, Principal Investigator of the National Study of Youth and Religion, and Principal Investigator of the Science of Generosity Initiative.

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