14 Pages


ByMark Erickson, Charles Turner

The classics of the social sciences and philosophy exist somewhere between literature and science, discursivity and trans-discursivity; they all exhibit a striving for definitive knowledge but have been kept alive beyond their own present not only by the continuing use of an established method but also by debates. Marxism and psychoanalysis are the most obvious intellectual movements to have profited from this dual status, relying on the idea of a rigorous, scientific method dialectical materialism, the science of the psyche while endlessly rereading and arguing about the master's writings. A classic work should found something: a school, a field of inquiry, a method, a tradition. The classics of literature tend to be founders of discursivity. The Structure of Sociological Inference (SSI) is a classic in any of these senses; indeed, more than 30 years after its publication, Google Scholar how Baldamus would have loved it.