The End of Addams' Career as a Sociologist:

From Sociologist to Social Worker

After World War I, Addams and the men of the Chicago School traveleddifferent paths. From her central place as an early leader insociology, she moved to an undistinguished niche. Not only wasshe no longer a leader; her early influence was almost entirelyerased in historical accounts. This remarkable slip in staturewas presaged by a number of changes in her sociological thoughtand in that of the Chicago men, discussed throughout this book.The dramatic finale of her sociological career culminated withthe social changes and upheaval attending World War I and itsaftermath.

In this final chapter, three major issues are examined. The firstsection emphasizes the historical context, although the era affectedall the issues examined here. World War I inaugurated massivechanges in social thought, social institutions, and everyday life.[1] The decline of sociological activism and its association withcultural feminism is directly related to its zeitgeist. The defeatof Addams' ideas concerning elite education and the need to havea viable practice of sociology outside of the academy also occurredthen. At the University of Chicago, personnel and policy changesresulted in a different practice of sociology and social work.For example, in 1920 all the women sociologists in the Departmentof Sociology were moved en masse out of sociology and into socialwork. [2] Consequently, Addams became more identified with socialwork at the University of Chicago and less identified with thenow all male Department of Sociology. These local changes reflectednational movements that finalized a shift of women from sociologyinto social work. By 1918 Addams' ties to Chicago sociologistswere attenuated. Her life after this period is very briefly examinedin my second major section. This completes her life story andthe saga of her sociological career. This is followed by a briefrecapitulation of Addams' contributions to sociology. An evaluationof her work as a contemporary resource concludes the book.


1. There is an extensive literature on World War I and the shiftin values it initiated. For writings particularly relevant toquestions raised here see Allen F. Davis, American Heroine (New York: Oxford University Press, 1973), David Noble, TheProgressive Mind, 1890-1917 (Chicago: Rand, McNally, 1970):John Chamberlain, Farewell to Reform (Chicago: Quadrangle,1965, c. 1932): S. Cohen, "A Study in Nativism: The AmericanRed Scare of 1919-1920." Political Science Quarterly 79 (March 1964):52-75; John Higham, Strangers in the Land,Patterns of American Nativism, 1896-1925 (New Brunswick,N.J.: Rutgers University Press, 1955). Addams discusses the eraas well in The Second Twenty Years at Hull-House (New York: Macmillan, 1930), pp. 153-87 (hereafter referred toas The Second Twenty Years).

2. For documentation of the series of administrative shifts thatmoved female Chicago sociologists from sociology into social work,see Mary Jo Deegan. "Women in Sociology: 1890- 1930,"Journal of the History of Sociology 1 (Fall 1978):19-23.

From Mary Jo Deegan, Jane Addams and the Men of the Chicago School, 1892-1918.New Brunswick NJ: Transaction Books, 1986, pp. 309.

Forward to "The Historical Context: Addams and Sociology"
Back to "Addams' Cultural Feminism as Problematic"
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