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Jane Addams and the Birth of Microsociology as a Science and a Social Enterprise
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Sociology.ORCID iD: 0000-0001-8017-6900
2018 (English)In: Jane Addams' Sociology and the Spirit of Social Entrepreneurship / [ed] Vessela Misheva; Andrew Blasko, Uppsala: Uppsala University, 2018, p. 217-274Chapter in book (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

This paper comprises an extended, unified version of several conference presentations that focus on the relationship between Addams’ sociology and social entrepreneurship that the author delivered primarily between 2010 and 2013 at national and international conferences. While it acknowledges the unusually large number of social roles that Addams played, it defines sociology as Addams’ overarching professional identity that subsumes all the others and explains them as attached to the various social roles she played. Addams’s distinctive contribution to sociology is further defined in relation to her becoming a founder of a distinctive type of sociology – radically different from and yet compatible to that which emerged in Europe and is attributed to sociological Fathers – namely, microsociology. The original meaning of microsociology as both a science and a social enterprise is retrieved from a thorough analysis of Addams’ voluminous sociological works, and its difference from macrosociology is explained in reference to the radical difference between gendered social experiences.

A discussion of the various designations of Addams’ activities at Hull-House, including charity work, philanthropy, applied sociology, settlement sociology, and social work, assists in demonstrating that Hull-House was the prototype of a not-for-profit social enterprise that embodied a conception of sociology that linked the production of true knowledge about social life to the production of social value. It is argued that Addams’ sociological enterprise consequently became a driving force for the emergence of a number of radically new social enterprises, including the establishment of academic sociology and social work as autonomous sciences, through the creation of the scientific and social conditions necessary for their development and institutionalization. Addams is thus given scientific credit for being both the founder of microsociology, and a pioneer social entrepreneur. Addams’ sociology, including the wealth of autoethnographic sociological records she left concerning her life and work as a social entrepreneur, is thus regarded as invaluable, on the one hand, for advancing our knowledge concerning the essence and main principles of social entrepreneurship, which distinguishes it from traditional entrepreneurship as well as the socio-psychological motives and social forces that bring it into being, and, on the other, for reconstructing the history of microsociology, reconsidering its place in science and society, and recovering its status as applied sociology and a driving force in social innovation through its inherent unity of science and social enterprise.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Uppsala: Uppsala University, 2018. p. 217-274
Series
Acta Universitatis Upsaliensis, ISSN 0346-5462Studia Sociologica Upsaliensia, ISSN 0585-5551 ; 65
National Category
Sociology (excluding Social Work, Social Psychology and Social Anthropology)
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-350857ISBN: 978-91-513-0336-9 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-350857DiVA, id: diva2:1206300
Available from: 2018-05-16 Created: 2018-05-16 Last updated: 2018-06-19Bibliographically approved

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