chapter  4
On the boundaries between economic analysis and economic sociology
ByAndré Legris
Pages 17

At the beginning of the twentieth century, while Schumpeter was nearing the end of his university studies in Vienna under such teachers as F. von Wieser and E. von Böhm-Bawerk, political economy was still reeling from recent powerful blows to its reputation. Throughout the 1870s, members of the academic community had raised doubts as to its relevance vis-à-vis other disciplines, in particular history and the emergent sociology. Francis Galton, for instance, suggested at a meeting of the British Association for Science in 1877, that political economy be struck off the list of scientific subjects.1 About the same time, the Methodenstreit set the followers of the Historical School against the supporters of a more rigorous approach to methodology, such as that embraced in the theoretical contributions to the emerging marginalist school. In this context, the survival of political economy as an autonomous discipline would hinge on two developments of an essentially epistemological nature.