Sociology: A Lost Connection in Social Psychology
Personality and Social Psychology Review, Vol. 13, pp. 334-353, 2009
69 Pages Posted: 19 Mar 2011
Date Written: 2009
For the first half of the 20th century, sociology was one of the closest allies of social psychology. Over the past four decades, however, the connection with sociology has weakened, whereas new connections with neighboring disciplines (e.g., biology, economics, political science) have formed. Along the way, the sociological perspective has been largely lost in mainstream social psychology in the United States. Most social psychologists today are not concerned with collective phenomena and do not investigate social structural factors (e.g., residential mobility, socioeconomic status, dominant religion, political systems). Even when the social structural factors are included in the analysis, psychologists typically treat them as individual difference variables. Sociologist C. Wright Mills famously promoted sociological imagination, or the ability to see distal yet important social forces operating in a larger societal context. By comparing sociological perspectives to psychological perspectives, this article highlights the insights that the sociological perspective and sociological imagination can bring to social psychology.
Keywords: social psychology, history of social psychology, sociology, cultural psychology
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