The quest for autonomy : sociology's advocatory dimension
This work is an historical account of the development of sociology in Britain. It examines the institutional and intellectual issues affecting sociology during the 1920s and '30s, through the years of the Second World War and into the immediate post-war period. The work focuses on the attempt by sociologists to assert and sustain the autonomy of their discipline, within the wider field of British social science. Particular attention is paid to a series of 'acts of justification", representing crucial strategies in sustaining the institutional and intellectual boundaries of the discipline. The negotiation of resources essential to the continuity of the field is considered to be an integral feature of sociology's advocatory dimension, wherein its practitioners construct and deploy a series of programme statements, disciplinary agendas and institutional initiatives, as means of asserting the potential of sociology A detailed examination is made of significant 'moments' in sociology's development for the period in question, in order to assess the manner in which sociologists have contested prescriptions of their activities by both social scientists and non-sociologists. Among the issues examined in the course of the work are; the funding of knowledge, the wartime education debate, the deliberations of the Clapham Committee, an attempt by sociologists to construct a synoptic science of society and William Beveridge's 'Natural Bases Scheme' for the social sciences at the LSE during the inter-war period. All are portrayed as features of sociology's advocatory dimension and in terms of their relative significance in the social construction of British sociology.