The social question” Jane Addams’s Hull House Du Bois’s Laboratory of Sociology The Pittsburgh Survey

“The social question”

Jane Addams’s Hull House

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Du Bois’s Laboratory of Sociology

The Pittsburgh Survey

From the Roaring ‘20s to the Reactionary ‘80s

Reading: Lathrop; Morris (chapters 2-8); O’Connor (Chs. 1-6); ASA History

Questions: Consider either sociology’s split from social work or the discontinuance of projects like the Pittsburgh Survey. Do you consider it a loss for sociology or a step in the right direction? How do you think the history of sociology might have differed if this step had not been taken?

student comment: I think sociology’s split from social work is a step in the right direction. Just as social work was described as “soft, amateur, feminized”, the split seemed to be a passive separation caused by discrimination. However, I may argue that even without such discrimination, the history of sociology would still have a chapter of separation.

In my opinion, sociology and social work emphasize different aspects of social science. Sociology is more about using rigorous, theoretically rooted knowledge to understand and explain complex societies; social work is more about discovering and solving practical problems with humanistic care. Both require large specialized skills and knowledge different from each other. Therefore, it is necessary to develop independently to become more specialized. Additionally, Social science needs both neutrality and the power of care. Compared with mixing them and looking for an internal balance, it’s not bad to separate them and let them complement each other.

I admit that the split could cause the gap between theory and practice, hindering the original intention to jointly promote social progress. However, the emergence of Applied Sociology makes up for this defect to a certain extent. From another perspective, it is the split that brings a great opportunity for Applied Sociology.

No discipline is born perfect. Merged or split, both are in the process of development and self-improvement.

Please respond to student comment. 
Answers should be 2-3 paragraphs.

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