'Too Big to Fail': Albion W. Small's Sociological Thought

25 Pages Posted: 3 Apr 2017

Date Written: April 2, 2017


Albion W. Small was a leading sociologist of the Progressive Era. As the founder of the department of sociology at the University of Chicago in 1892, and of the American Journal of Sociology in 1895, his thought shaped the “First Chicago School” of sociology. This paper seeks to highlight the main features of Small’s sociology and his treatment of social sciences, which was for a large part marginalized in the sociological tradition. Relying on archival work as well as on Small’s books and papers, this work will discuss Small’s major concepts: “interests” and “social control”. More widely, Small raised other fundamental questions: that of the centrality of interactions in sociology, the question of interdisciplinarity, and he triggered an epistemological debate on the commitment of researchers as well as their relationships to ethics.

Keywords: Albion W. Small; Sociology; Interests; Social control; Interdisciplinarity

JEL Classification: A14; B15; B52

Suggested Citation

Vallet, Guillaume, 'Too Big to Fail': Albion W. Small's Sociological Thought (April 2, 2017). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2945109 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2945109

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