Date of Award

Spring 1981

Project Type


Program or Major


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


This dissertation represents an attempt to explicate and critically analyze an important movement in contemporary American sociology. This movement, which I am calling the sociological critique of American sociology, aimed to change predominant trends in American sociology. Basic tenets of sociological practice were called into question, such as the principle of value neutrality, an empirical methodology, and a functionalist theoretical framework. The goal of this critical movement was to bring about a more significant sociology, a sociology which would lead the way to the realization of a more humane social order. In general, however, the criticisms offered by these critical sociologists represent no significant advance over "mainstream" sociology. The lack of depth in their criticism, it is argued, relates to an unwillingness to address underlying philosophical questions, such as the validity of a subjective view of value. In this context, the suggestion of a more significant direction for this criticism and for a more significant sociology is seen to lie in philosophical arguments put forth by principal members of the Frankfurt School and by a twentieth-century American philosopher, Elijah Jordan.