Going Post-Normal: A Response to Baehr, Albert, Gross, and Townsley

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Expertise, American sociology, Feminist sociology, Post-normal science

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Peter Baehr, Katelin Albert, Eleanore Townsley and Neil Gross raise a variety of issues in relation to American Sociology: From Pre-Disciplinary to Post-Normal (2014a). In response, I defend the claim that the revival of sociology enrollments after the 1980s owes something to the concentration on gender issues and the feminization of sociology. I defend the claim that the response to the enrollment crisis was a rational strategy which succeeded. I also consider challenges to my depiction of the caste system in American sociology against the idea that there is a continuous distribution of merit. I argue that the changes in American sociology during this period need to be understood against the larger backdrop of the transformation to post-normal science and the acceptance of openly partisan academic fields. Although I attempted to record rather than evaluate these developments, I respond to Baehr and Townsley’s attempt to discern an evaluative stance, and provide a context for this response in relation to the problem of expertise.

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The American Sociologist, v. 46, issue 1, p. 51-64