• 204 pages
  • 5.5 x 8.25
  • Price: $45.00
  • EAN: 9781439914595
  • Publication: Feb 2018
  • Price: $45.00
  • EAN: 9781439914618
  • Publication: Feb 2018

Toward a Pragmatist Sociology

John Dewey and the Legacy of C. Wright Mills

Robert G. Dunn

In Toward a Pragmatist Sociology, Robert Dunn explores the relationship between the ideas and principles of philosopher and educator John Dewey and sociologist C. Wright Mills to provide a philosophical and theoretical foundation for the development of a critical and public sociology. Dunn recovers an intellectual and conceptual framework for transforming sociology into a more substantive, comprehensive, and socially useful discipline.

Arguing that Dewey and Mills shared a common vision of a relevant, critical, public sociology dedicated to the solution of societal problems, Toward a Pragmatist Sociology investigates the past and present state of the discipline, critiquing its dominant tendencies, and offering historical examples of alternatives to conventional sociological approaches. This original treatment of two influential American thinkers whose work offers a conception of and model for a sociology with public relevance and a sense of moral and political purpose should inspire future sociologists and others to regard the discipline as not only a science but also an intellectual, moral, and political enterprise.


With Toward a Pragmatist Sociology , Robert Dunn has taken on a massive intellectual task, the goal of which is to reinvigorate the discipline of sociology. One of the early roots of the field, a deep concern for the practical betterment of society, never achieved a high or sustained status within the disciplinary boundaries. While C. Wright Mills is well known, Dunn’s ability to seamlessly and convincingly resituate Mills in the pragmatist tradition will surprise many.
Troy Duster, Chancellor’s Professor Emeritus, University of California, Berkeley

"(A)n attempt to delve into pragmatist philosophy with an open mind and a passion for the as-yet-unfulfilled promise of pragmatism. The author tackles this assignment by pairing John Dewey and C. Wright Mills, a philosopher and a sociologist, united in their critical stance toward their respective disciplines and American society. This juxtaposition is apt.... Interrogating Dewey and Mills gives the book its moral force and intellectual vigor..... Toward a Pragmatist Sociology is a manifesto that can be read with profit." — Contemporary Sociology

"Parts of this book are simply superb.... Primarily, the book is a recuperation of the philosophy and social theory of John Dewey for sociology. It is very well and lightly done.... Dunn writes sparely and with elegance."
International Sociology

About the Author(s)

Robert G. Dunn is Professor Emeritus of Sociology, California State University, East Bay. He is the author of Identifying Consumption: Subjects and Objects in Consumer Society (Temple) and Identity Crises: A Social Critique of Postmodernity.