British Sociology and Raymond Aron
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British Sociology and Raymond Aron book
In the 1960s and 1970s, Raymond Aron achieved international fame as a journalist, scholar, and an interlocutor of the powerful; Henry Kissinger and Maurice Schumann were among his more regular discussants. If Aron's writings on industrial society underwhelmed reviewers, his political sociology polarized them. On one side ranged critical enthusiasts fallibilist big-tent thinkers such as Ernest Gellner and John Hall for whom sociology was one identity among others; as if marking their own distance from the sociological mainstream, they wrote often in politics or literary journals. Until recently one could only speculate on how Aron's work, and that of numerous other writers, was communicated to students by British sociologists. This chapter examines Aron's British reception in his own day to help account for his eclipse as a sociologist in ours. An archive of British university teaching materials housed at the Leslie Sklair and Elizabeth Weinberg (LSE), and assessments of Aron's books, are my main reference points.