Geriatrics. A study in role conflict
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameMaster of Arts
'It is true that a scientific study may prove its usefulness if it is productive of practical results, provided however, that in the pursuit of the study no other goals are kept in mind than those of science'. (P. V. Young). Throughout its development sociology has been involved in the debate of the relationship between social theory and social practice, between values and social science. Social practice has necessarily meant a commitment to some values or ethical position. Positions taken in this debate have ranged variously from Weber's myth of a value-free sociology to Berger's and Remmling’s conception of sociology as a modern form of consciousness. Though the idea of a value-free sociology is not seriously entertained by most sociologists now (certainly not by the so called New Sociologists as illustrated in Horowitz's attack on project Camelot) the heritage of the debate has been a delineation between social theory and social practice. The social theorists see the proper pursuit of sociologists as the continued expansion and development of sociology as a scientific discipline. While this may result in results which can be used by social practitioners, such results are a latent function of the scientific contribution. This is expressed in the quotation above from Young. For those sociologists concerned with social practice it has meant a concentration on social problems as an end in itself. Where these sociologists have tried to incorporate theory it has usually been in the form of ad hoc explanations for the problem being studied. Alienation and anomie are two concepts which have been used extensively by such workers. Few social practitioners have used the problem situations for testing the major assumptions of the theories existing in sociology, or for formulating more general theories for social structure and social processes. Even such noted writers as Mills see applied social science as antithetical to true scientific endeavours, when it results in the abdication of the choice of specific problems to others.