Pub. date: 2007 | Online Pub. Date: March 15, 2008 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412939645 | Print ISBN: 9781412916080 | Online ISBN: 9781412939645| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this handbook
Chapter 60: Critical Sociology
Critical sociology Critical sociology is an approach to studying society, informed by historical materialism, which seeks to make problematic existing social relations in order to uncover the underlying structural explanations for those relations. As such, it can be applied to all areas of sociological inquiry and is not the study of any subfields within sociology. In each of these areas, we can identify a critical sociology, one that takes to task the underlying assumption of the corresponding mainstream sociology. Advocates of a critical sociology argue that mainstream sociology is, broadly stated, a catalog of what is expected and an explanation for how individuals act when functioning outside those expectations. For critical sociologists, the key is how the norms are defined and what constitutes actions by individuals who violate norms. Where mainstream sociology would see a plane flying out of formation, critical sociology asks whether or not the formation is flying ...