15 Pages

Epilogue: On the Possibility of a Field of World Sociology

WithPierre Bourdieu

Sociology is an esoteric science that has all appearances of being exoteric. Scientific communication in its ideal form differs from political communication in that the weight given to arguments, to problems and solutions. Sociology has this privilege—that it can take as an object its own functioning as a relatively autonomous social world and that it is thereby able to bring to rational consciousness at least some of the sociopolitical constraints that bear on scientific practice. The scientific field is a social microcosm partially autonomous from the necessities of the larger social macrocosm that encompasses it. Sociology partakes of the logic of the field of politics in that propositions that are logically inconsistent and incompatible with observation can survive in it, in contradistinction with what happens in the purest scientific fields. The unique status of sociology has perhaps never revealed itself more clearly than in the United States in the post-World War II era.