Sociology and Empire

The Imperial Entanglements of a Discipline

Sociology and Empire

Politics, History, and Culture

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Book Pages: 632 Illustrations: 5 photos, 3 tables, 2 maps, 1 figure Published: June 2013

History > World History, Postcolonial and Colonial Studies, Sociology

The revelation that the U.S. Department of Defense had hired anthropologists for its Human Terrain System project—assisting its operations in Afghanistan and Iraq—caused an uproar that has obscured the participation of sociologists in similar Pentagon-funded projects. As the contributors to Sociology and Empire show, such affiliations are not new. Sociologists have been active as advisers, theorists, and analysts of Western imperialism for more than a century.

The collection has a threefold agenda: to trace an intellectual history of sociology as it pertains to empire; to offer empirical studies based around colonies and empires, both past and present; and to provide a theoretical basis for future sociological analyses that may take empire more fully into account. In the 1940s, the British Colonial Office began employing sociologists in its African colonies. In Nazi Germany, sociologists played a leading role in organizing the occupation of Eastern Europe. In the United States, sociology contributed to modernization theory, which served as an informal blueprint for the postwar American empire. This comprehensive anthology critiques sociology's disciplinary engagement with colonialism in varied settings while also highlighting the lasting contributions that sociologists have made to the theory and history of imperialism.

Contributors. Albert Bergesen, Ou-Byung Chae, Andy Clarno, Raewyn Connell, Ilya Gerasimov, Julian Go, Daniel Goh, Chandan Gowda, Krishan Kumar, Fuyuki Kurasawa, Michael Mann, Marina Mogilner, Besnik Pula, Anne Raffin, Emmanuelle Saada, Marco Santoro, Kim Scheppele, George Steinmetz, Alexander Semyonov, Andrew Zimmerman


“This rich, agenda-setting book will quickly become required reading for all historical sociologists. Essential.” — J. Li, Choice

"George Steinmetz, who has edited this big and complex book, is well known for his pioneering work on the role of the social sciences in German overseas imperialism. He has invited 19 excellent social scientists to explore the links between sociology and empire. They have produced fresh and provocative knowledge, aiming to put an end to a long disciplinary amnesia." — Jean-Louis Fabiani, Social Anthropology

“This is overall an ambitious volume which does what it aims to do, that is, to drag sociology out of its amnesia and recognize its historical role in colonial research, and to foreground current sociological research on imperialism today. … [A] necessary and significant contribution.” — Yoke-Sum Wong, Sociology

"Sociology and Empire is a comprehensive and interdisciplinary inquiry into the imperial entanglements not only of a discipline but of the modern and present-day academy. The sort of unhindered self-analysis featured in this volume should be of interest and benefit to historians and science studies scholars of all stripes." — Theodora Dryer, ISIS

"This is a momentous volume in terms of vision, content, and—at more than 600 pages—sheer size. It will become essential reading in the field of historical sociology and a valuable resource for historians interested in sociological theory." — Britta Schilling, Central European History

"Sociology and Empire should be seen as an important intervention in a longstanding trend whereby sociologists have charted a new course for the future by rewriting the history of the past." — Zine Magubane, Contemporary Sociology

"A treasure trove of insightful essays outlining in lucid sociologese the many entanglements of empire, empire production, and empire decay. . . . Sociology and Empire will no doubt have a lasting impression." — Demetrius A. Lamar, Humanity and Society

"From the sociology of empire to the empire in sociology, this is a book of immense erudition and encyclopedic reach. By bringing colonialism, imperialism, and empire to its center, George Steinmetz and his collaborators recalibrate the history of sociology and endow contemporary research with a badly needed global reflexivity." — Michael Burawoy, University of California, Berkeley, and President of the International Sociological Association

"This is superior, highly innovative work, well-choreographed by the masterly hand of George Steinmetz. It makes a uniquely valuable contribution to historical and cultural sociology. Despite a growing interest in sociology's complicity in imperialism, there is nothing else like this book. It is attentive to networks and localities, as well as global concerns; contains wonderfully variegated cases, from countries including Italy, Russia, France, the Philippines, and the United States; and offers consistently brilliant field analyses. Sociology and Empire is an exceptional volume." — Peter Beilharz, La Trobe University


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Author/Editor Bios Back to Top

George Steinmetz is the Charles Tilly Collegiate Professor of Sociology at the University of Michigan. He is the author of The Devil’s Handwriting: Precoloniality and the German Colonial State in Qingdao, Samoa, and Southwest Africa and Regulating the Social: The Welfare State and Local Politics in Imperial Germany. He is the editor of The Politics of Method in the Human Sciences: Positivism and Its Epistemological Others, also published by Duke University Press.

Table of Contents Back to Top
Preface / George Steinmetz ix
1. Major Contributions to Sociological Theory and Research on Empire, 1830s–Present / George Steinmetz 1
Part I. National Sociological Fields and The Study of Empire
2. Russian Sociology in Imperial Context / Alexander Semyonov, Marina Mogilner, and Ilya Gerasimov 53
3. Sociology's Imperial Unconscious: The Emergence of American Sociology in the Context of Empire / Julian Go 83
4. Empire for the Poor: Imperial Dreams and the Quest for an Italian Sociology, 1870s–1950s / Marco Santoro 106
5. German Sociology and Empire: From Internal Colonization to Overseas Colonization and Back Again / Andrew Zimmerman 166
6. The Durkheimian School and Colonialism: Exploring the Constitutive Paradox / Fuyuki Kurasawa 188
Part II. Current Sociological Theories of Empire
7. The Recent Intensification of American Economic and Military Imperialism: Are They Connected? / Michael Mann 213
8. The Empire's New Laws: Terrorism and the New Security Empire after 9/11 / Kim Lane Scheppele 245
9. Empires and Nations: Convergence or Divergence? / Krishan Kumar 279
10. The New Surgical Imperialism: China, Africa, and Oil / Albert J. Bergesen 300
Part III. Historical Studies of Colonialism and Empire
11. Nation and Empire in the French Context / Emmanuelle Saada 321
12. Empire and Development in Colonial India / Chandan Gowda 340
13. Building the Cities of Empire: Urban Planning in the Colonial Cities of Italy's Fascist Empire / Besnik Pula 366
14. Japanese Colonial Structure in Korea in Comparative Perspective / Ou-Byung Chae 396
15. Native Policy and Colonial State Formation in Pondicherry (India) and Vietnam: Recasting Ethnic Relations, 1870s–1920s / Anne Raffin 415
16. The Constitution of State/Space and the Limits of "Autonomy" in South Africa and Palestine/Israel / Andy Clarno 436
17. Resistance and the Contradictory Rationalities of State Formation in British Malaya and the American Philippines / Daniel P. S. Goh 465
Conclusion. Understanding Empire / Raewyn Connell 489
Bibliography 499
List of Contributors 575
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Additional InformationBack to Top
Paper ISBN: 978-0-8223-5279-2 / Cloth ISBN: 978-0-8223-5258-7
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