The Outline of the Book

Each chapter supports the major thesis that Addams was a centralfigure in applied sociology, especially in the Chicago Schoolof Sociology. Hull-House, which she headed and was the major women'ssociological institution, is discussed first (chapter 2). Someof the brilliant women sociologists who lived and worked thereare introduced, and the relation of social settlements to malesociology is analyzed. The influence of a core group of residentsat Hull-House upon Chicago Sociology is dramatically revealedin the next chapter (chapter 3), which discusses the cooperativelyproduced and critical text Hull-House Maps and Papers.This book, drawing upon detailed maps of social life on the SouthSide of Chicago, analyzed the effects of social disorganization,immigration, and the economy on the everyday life of an urbanneighborhood. In other words, this book established the majorsubstantive interests and methodological technique of ChicagoSociology that would define the School for the next forty years.Because of its central role in defining the Chicago School ofSociology, an entire chapter is devoted to a discussion of theproblems of getting it in print, its contents, and use by maleChicago sociologists. The erasure of its central role in shapingChicago Sociology is also documented.

The next three chapters also examine an interrelated set of ideas.Each of these chapters examines the men's relation to social reformas it changed over time. The earliest men, Small, Henderson, Zeublin,and Vincent, all worked on topics directly related to the concernsof Addams. Their work differed from her work, however, due totheir greater religious emphasis and more conservative politics.Despite these differences, Addams and these "religious"men shared a significant common core of interests centered onurban life and the particular problems besetting Chicago (chapter4).

Addams' relationship with the Chicago men reached its fullestdevelopment through her work with Mead and Thomas (chapter 5).With these three as colleagues, a flowering of sociological theoryand practice occurred. Uniting an interpretation of the worldas social in origin with a commitment to social change, they setthe foundation for a separate school of thought--symbolic interactionism.Although all of them were originally intimately tied to pragmatismand to Addams' particular practice of sociology, the linkagesbetween symbolic interactionism and social reform have been consistentlyoverlooked in historical accounts of the development of the theoreticalperspective.

This distortion of their work and the role of applied sociologyin its development is largely attributable to Burgess and Park.These two men, therefore, comprise another distinct position towardsocial reform and sociology that is found within the male ChicagoSchool (chapter 6). With Park's active hostility to the "label"of social reformer (although he frequently engaged in social reformactivities) and Burgess' wavering commitment to it, the applied,political component of sociology languished and finally died withinthe Chicago School. Although Park and Burgess denied the significanceof the work of Addams and many of the male founders of the ChicagoSchool, these successors in the Chicago School were still affectedby the early ideas, substantive concerns, and methodological techniquesof their predecessors.

But Park and Burgess were not the only cause of the decline ofAddams' type of sociological practice at the University of Chicago.Part of the reason for the transition in emphasis from socialreform to "scientific," apolitical sociology, is dueto the limits placed on faculty activism at the University ofChicago. Chapter 7 documents the form and type of political controlexercised by the academy concerning the conduct of sociology,and the direct impact such censorship had on the careers of Chicagosociologists.

Addams' relationship to sociology was also directly tied to thestatus of women as a topic of inquiry and as colleagues in thesociological enterprise. Both of these aspects are discussed inchapter 8 in reference to the eight Chicago men. A direct linkbetween the men's generalized attitudes toward women and theirspecific attitudes towards Addams as a colleague and intellectualis thereby established.

The final major topic is the sociology of Addams as an intellectuallegacy. Her work in this area is analyzed as a function of twomajor streams of thought: cultural feminism and critical pragmatism.Chapter 9 is a discussion of "cultural feminism," atheory of society that assumes that traditionally defined femininevalues are superior to traditionally defined male values. Chapters10 and 11 are both discussions of "critical pragmatism,"a term coined here, which is a theory of science that emphasizesthe need to apply knowledge to everyday problems based on radicalinterpretations of liberal and progressive values. Chapter 10is an intellectual history of Addams' sociological influencesthat range beyond the men of the Chicago School. Chapter 11 isan analysis of her explication of critical pragmatism. After bothcomponents of her thought have been analyzed, the incompatibilitybetween cultural feminism and critical pragmatism is briefly considered.This internal inconsistency of her work is also partially responsiblefor the decline in her sociological leadership. Clearly, her choiceof emphasizing cultural feminism with its preference of femininevalues over masculine ones was the major reason for her "fallfrom grace." Her national censure as a pacifist coincidedwith her "failure" as a sociologist, and for many yearsshe remained a social outcast. A brief summary of her life andsociological career after 1920 is presented in the concludingchapter. Here, too, a review of the changing times and professionis included and an overview of her legacy provided. Some areasfor future research are then considered. Her profound influenceon the course and development of sociology can only be suggestedin one volume. This book is a beginning analysis of a little-examined,alternative heritage and tradition of American sociology.


From Mary Jo Deegan, Jane Addams and the Men of the Chicago School, 1892-1918.New Brunswick NJ: Transaction Books, 1986, pp. 24-26.


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