The autobiographical narratives

T his appendix lists the locations of the 23 American ‘silverback’ narratives analysed in Chapter 7, and the 22 female narratives discussed throughout the book. Scholar Location of autobiography Date published George Homans Annual Review of 1986 Sociology (ARS) Robert Merton ARS 1987 David Riesman ARS 1988 Amos Hawley ARS 1992 Lewis Coser ARS 1993 […]

Acritique of the orthodox. histories of sociology

T he history of sociology, as taught a century after it began in differ­ent industrialising countries, prioritises various scholars, but they are all men. Not only the three giants, Marx, Weber and Durkheim, but the supporting cast, are routinely presented as all-male. So, for exam­ple, two British scholars, Giddens (1971) and Hawthorn (1976) wrote histories […]

Prerogatives usurped?

conclusions A manda Cross’s (1981: 102) heroine, Kate Fansler, tells her friend Sylvia: ‘Men are always writing books about murdering women — it’s one of their favourite fantasies: revenge for having their prerogatives usurped: sexual prerogatives, political prerogatives, social prerogatives….’ In this book I have displayed some of the wide range of empiri­cal, methodological and […]


Reflexivity and first-person narratives lead directly to the possibilities of autoethnography. The term itself has several connotations. Here we will focus briefly on analyses that are based substantially or even exclusively on the writer’s personal experiences, memories and actions. This, there­fore, moves the personal from the marginal notes of the confessional tale to occupy the […]

Scientists against pomo

The scientific opponents of postmodernism are considered first. This campaign, called ‘The science wars’ was based on a conflation of, or a serious confusion between: (1) non-positivist social science perspectives such as constructivism and ethnomethodology; (2) postmodernism; (3) feminism (used as an undifferentiated term of abuse); and (4) anti­racism. The self-styled defenders of science know […]


Among scholars, there have been particularly angry responses to postmodernism among two groups: feminists and scientists. These two groups have different problems with postmodernism, which need attention here. There are feminists, including feminist sociologists, who have embraced postmodernism with alacrity and even abandon­ment. These postmodernist feminists are the focus of the third section of the […]

Making fictions of female destiny

postmodernism and postfeminism Feminists do not have to choose between feminism and exper — imentalism or postmodernism as if they were unified players in a contest, but rather must face harder questions. (Gordon, 1993: 1 1 1) T his chapter deals with two challenges to feminist sociology which have characterised the past ten to 15 […]

The exceptions

It would be very easy to assume that all male sociologists were as obliv­ious as the silverbacks whose autobiographies I have just discussed. This is certainly not the case. The impact of feminism has been notice­able on some men since the early 1970s. As examples, Ronnie Frankenberg, David H. J. Morgan, Robert W. Connell and […]

Silverbacks across cultures

126 ——————————————————————————————- American male sociologists were chosen for this exercise only because they had made their published autobiographical narratives available. American silverbacks are no different from their peers in other cultures. There are parallel findings from other advanced societies. The autobio­graphical essays by two major male figures in British sociology, Halsey (1985) and Willmott (1985) […]