A Handful of Thistles
Collected Papers in Moral Convicton
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This selection of essays by one of the most eminent sociologists of our time represents a selection of his analytical and moral or political writing over a lifetime of work. The book is organized thematically rather than chronologi-cally, and is divided into four parts: pa-pers on the uses of sociology, on ideas and ideologies, on sociological analysis, and a final section entitled professing sociology. While the collection demon-strates maturation, the author's central preoccupations have remained constant over the years. A reflective auto-biographical introduction places the au-thors choice of problems and the development of his ideas in the social and cultural context of his life and his work. He confesses to having experienced, in his life and his work, being a "stranger within the gate," and believes that this sense of marginality has both informed and influenced his thinking. And he sees the social conflicts that shook the world during his young adulthood as having creative as well as destructive consequences.