[Marxism] Mark Lause on sociology as "unscientific" and "bourgeois"

Jurriaan Bendien andromeda246 at hetnet.nl
Sun Aug 15 08:00:22 MDT 2004

From: Rickypagered at aol.com 
  To: andromeda246 at hetnet.nl 
  Sent: Sunday, August 15, 2004 2:29 PM
  Subject: Re: [Marxism] Mark Lause on sociology as "unscientific" and "bourgeois"

  Dear Comrade, 
     Some of us uneducated, working class types agree with comrade Lause. With the provision that we should include "bourgeois" economics to that list of academic silliness. 
                                   Peace&Socialism, Rick Page  rickypagered at aol.com 

A case could be made that some sociological research is specifically "bourgeois" in its perspective, method, goals or staffing, but this does not make all sociology as discipline "bourgeois" in principle, nor does it prove that the research is thereby invalid. 

Lause's crude and vulgar antipathy to sociology (hardly scholarly) ignores that many sociologists are socialists or left-wing. Sociology is necessary for the self-understanding of modern society. As assistant professor, Lause can moreover hardly claim to be any less bourgeois than the people he attacks. Marx himself was a bourgeois, and adopted many viewpoints by bourgeois authors. For his part, Carrol claims that class does not apply to individuals, yet seeks to characterise the personality of a "petty-bourgeois". At that rate, class conciousness will be slow in coming.

What Marx means with "class" is an empirically verifiable social group whose way of life is defined by property relations, income source and type of economic activity, thus, class relations refer to the social relations between individuals INSOFAR as they are members of social classes, relations between social classes, and social relations between an individual and a social class. An interpersonal relation is ipso facto no a class relation, but may be viewed as such insofar as the related individuals are members of social classes.

To define a viewpoint as e.g. "bourgeois" means that it reflects or expresses the interests and concerns of the bourgeoisie as a class. But just because scientific findings might express or be conducive to that viewpoint, does not itself invalidate those findings. A scientific proposition might be perfectly true, even although it serves class purposes. To say that it serves class purposes therefore does not disprove its truth or validity. One ought to dismiss a viewpoint because it is demonstrably mistaken, and not because it is in some sense "bourgeois". 

An important part of sociology concerns itself with the social basis or the social roots of ideas, and the social context in which they are formulated. Marxists do this all the time, and in that sense they don't get away from sociologising at all.


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