Sociology in Action
In this chapter, the authors examine specific examples of sociological projects that are in this praxis tradition, most with a progressive or countersystem orientation. Although trained as an archaeologist and a criminologist, Saul Alinsky was often called a sociologist in the media when he was actively involved in bringing changes to communities, and he did not reject that appellation. Alinsky took sociology courses at the university in the 1920s and 1930s when the sociology department there was the country’s most influential and a national center for urban sociological research and theorizing. Alinsky’s argument for local organizations having a citywide vision and for unions developing a broad set of social goals is similar to the view of the social world of leading European sociologists. Alinsky strongly suggests here an outline of a healthy society. Clearly, this moral community cannot be fully accomplished under modern capitalism with its heavy accent on individual or corporate profit.