anatomies of america: sociological perspectivesby philip ehrensaft; amitai etzioni

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  • Pi Gamma Mu, International Honor Society in Social Sciences

    Anatomies of America: Sociological Perspectives by Philip Ehrensaft; Amitai EtzioniReview by: Ronald BurtonSocial Science, Vol. 46, No. 1 (JANUARY 1971), p. 49Published by: Pi Gamma Mu, International Honor Society in Social SciencesStable URL: .Accessed: 28/06/2014 16:26

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    and practice are discussed and a chap- ter on legal and administrative as- pects is also included.

    All this explains why Dr. Alan Guttmacher, a formidable authority, has said this about the Peel-Potts vol- ume : "A splendid book. It is the san- est and clearest presentation of the topic I have ever read." B. Vebeau

    Philip Ehrensaft and Amitai Et- zioni, editors, Anatomies of America: Soci- ological Perspectives, New York: Macmil- lan, 1969, pp. 499, no price indicated.

    Ehrensaft and Etzioni have pro- duced a reader in whose "Preface" they state : "The editors collected here the anatomies and diagnoses of con- temporary America as provided by sociologists." In addition, they con- trast this book with the writings of contemporary ideologists by sug- gesting, "Not that these selections are without ideological relevance, but by themselves they are much more scien- tific, much less speculative and politi- cally partisan." It would be easy to show that, because the editors do not state their underlying value assump- tions, their vocabulary tends to sup- port existing social institutions.

    The editors have suggested that this work can bring nonsociologists up to date with the latest research activi- ties of sociologists. There has recently been a redefinition of some of the cru- cial problems and methods in sociol- ogy which portend to replace the ear- lier Gestalt centering around the "so- cial system" perspective. What new world view will take its place is still not clear. As one of the contenders, Etzioni implicitly emphasizes, in his recent discussions, epigenesis rather than homeostasis as a basis of social change. Moreover, his orientation is toward power in his explanation of the social order.

    Thomas Kuhn, in "The Structure of

    Scientific Revolution" (1962), sug- gests that scientific disciplines de- velop somewhat like the life cycle of a political community. The earlier em- phasis on "social systems" as a world view competes with newly developing perspectives, one of which will eventu- ally replace it. Possibly, Etzioni's po- sition is meant for this distinction, but, although his article "Guiding So- cial Change" is found in this text, the perspective is not carried through in the editors' comments, nor are the re- cent revolutionary changes in social science research adequately discussed.

    Friedrichs, building on Kuhn's ear- lier work, has discussed this problem extensively in his "A Sociology of So- ciology" (1970), and neatly sums up Ehrensaft and Etzioni's difficulties by suggesting that "it was impossible for a sociologist to move through his re- search without some value base be- yond that which is empirically given to resolve the choices thrust upon him or to justify the nature, the degree and the implications of his intrusions upon human subject matter. . . . Soci- ologists, in rejecting any extra-scien- tific value frame, are forced, whether consciously or unconsciously, to reify the assumptions that underlie the logic or the communal ethic of natural science."

    The lack of recognition of these in- sights, as so brilliantly developed by Kuhn and Friedrichs, has seriously marred what might otherwise have been an interesting collection of re- cent sociological research articles on American society. Ronald Burton

    Rita E. Bergman, editor, The Socio- path: Selections in Anti-Social Behavior , New York: Exposition Press, 1968, pp. 153, $5.00.

    This unusual book consists of im- portant essays dealing with the crimi- nal and his antisocial behavior. Dr.

    This content downloaded from on Sat, 28 Jun 2014 16:26:06 PMAll use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions

    Article Contentsp. 49

    Issue Table of ContentsSocial Science, Vol. 46, No. 1 (JANUARY 1971), pp. 1-64Front MatterAuthor-Editor-Scholar-Educator Joseph Mayer on Current Issues [pp. 3-15]The "Brain Drain" Controversy in a Comparative Perspective [pp. 16-25]The Widowed as a One-Parent Family Unit [pp. 26-32]Sociocultural Correlates of Pain Response [pp. 33-37]NEWS [pp. 38-42]BOOK REVIEWSReview: untitled [pp. 43-44]Review: untitled [pp. 44-45]Review: untitled [pp. 45-45]Review: untitled [pp. 45-46]Review: untitled [pp. 46-46]Review: untitled [pp. 46-47]Review: untitled [pp. 47-47]Review: untitled [pp. 47-47]Review: untitled [pp. 47-48]Review: untitled [pp. 48-48]Review: untitled [pp. 48-49]Review: untitled [pp. 49-49]Review: untitled [pp. 49-50]Review: untitled [pp. 50-51]Review: untitled [pp. 51-52]Review: untitled [pp. 52-53]Review: untitled [pp. 53-53]Review: untitled [pp. 53-53]Review: untitled [pp. 53-54]Review: untitled [pp. 54-55]Review: untitled [pp. 55-55]Review: untitled [pp. 55-57]Review: untitled [pp. 57-58]Review: untitled [pp. 58-59]Review: untitled [pp. 59-60]Review: untitled [pp. 60-61]Review: untitled [pp. 61-62]Review: untitled [pp. 62-64]

    Back Matter


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