When the idea of this volume was first suggested to me by Jon Clark I was, of course, flattered but at the same time felt some misgivings. I was far from sure that it would be possible to recruit a sufficient number of suitable and genuinely willing contributors. The sociological community to which I belong-and which my inclusion in the series was intended to represent-is one of persons whose primary commitment is to sustained, systematic empirical research, usually organized on a team basis. Such sociologists live under severe time pressure. It is not only that their research is in its nature highly time-consuming; it has also to be conducted according to schedules that must meet the requirements and exigencies of various other parties-research institutions, funding bodies, fieldwork agencies, data processing services, etc. Furthermore, this is not a community whose members are likely to have much sympathy with a conception of sociology structured in terms of 'gurus' and 'schools'; their subculture is one favouring intellectual independence-indeed, irreverence-and puts the emphasis firmly on what is being said rather than on who is saying it. I feared, therefore, that the editors would be unable to induce enough of these sociologists to take time out from the research activities that would be their first and, as always, pressing priority in order to appear on the 'pro' or 'con' side of a collection of essays devoted to the work of a particular individual, and especially not if he were to be labelled as a 'master-mind'.