The Sociologist’s Eye

As the much of the world remains under stay-at-home orders, we take a sociologist's look at social life

The Sociologist’s Eye: Reflections on Social Life

Erikson, Kai. Yale, 2017
420p index, 9780300106671 $35.00, 9780300231779

The Sociologist’s Eye: Reflections on Social Life book cover. Abstract painting of a crowd of people.

Combining biography and the history of a discipline, sociologist Erikson (emer., Yale) chronicles his life journey within sociology. Most titles on the subject offer information and facts, but Erikson gives readers one more thing: the accumulated wisdom of an eminent scholar as he revisits, reexamines, and reinterprets familiar but taken-for-granted topics such as the individual, total institutions, social life, urban places, suburbia, and community. The book is equally valuable as an introduction to the discipline as it is a work for those already acquainted with its subject matter. The writing style is lively yet academic, and Erikson balances explanation with analysis. Furthermore, the author’s intimate understanding of sociology makes for an engaging read, and readers will benefit from the work’s exploration into the ideas and stories within sociology. As might be expected from a book that is retrospective in character, Erikson briefly discusses his early work but only to give context to his lifelong encounter with his academic discipline. The Sociologist’s Eye will stand alongside other essential titles by Erikson, such as Wayward Puritans (CH, Dec’66) and Everything in its Path (1976), and is a valuable contribution to as well as a meta-analysis of sociology.

Summing Up: Essential. All public and academic levels/libraries.
Reviewer: R. P. Lorenzo, Prairie View A&M University
Subject: Social & Behavioral Sciences – Sociology
Choice Issue: Mar 2018