Offers a detailed account of the FBI's investigation of prominent American sociologists, based on documents obtained through the Freedom of Information Act.
It is now common knowledge that the FBI and its long-time director, J. Edgar Hoover, were responsible for the creation of a massive internal security apparatus that undermined the very principles of freedom and democracy they were sworn to protect. While no one was above suspicion, Hoover appears to have held a special disdain for sociologists and placed many of sociology's most prominent American figures under surveillance. Using documents obtained through the Freedom of Information Act, this volume portrays the FBI's stalking of the sociological imagination, offering a detailed account of its investigations within the context of an overview of the history of American sociology. This groundbreaking analysis of a previously hidden chapter of American intellectual history suggests that the activities of Hoover and the FBI marginalized critical sociologists such as W.E.B. Du Bois and C. Wright Mills, suppressed the development of a Marxist tradition in American sociology, and likely pushed the mainstream of the discipline away from a critique of American society and towards a more quantitative and scientific direction. The author also turns sociology back upon the FBI, using the writings and ideas of the very sociologists Hoover had under surveillance to examine and explain the excesses of the Bureau and its boss.
Stalking the Sociological Imagination W.E.B. Du Bois: Sociologist beyond the Veil Ernest W. Burgess: Security Matter-C William Fielding Ogburn: Scientist, Statistician, Schizophrene Robert and Helen Lynd: From Middletown to Moronia E. Franklin Frazier: Enfant Terrible Pitirim A. Sorokin: Sociological Prophet in a Priestly Land No One above Suspicion: Talcott Parsons under Surveillance Testing a Concept: Herbert Blumer's Loyalty Samuel Stouffer: Patriot and Practitioner Our Man in Havana: C. Wright Mills Talks, Yankee Listens The Crimefighter and the Criminologist: The Case of Edwin H. Sutherland and J. Edgar Hoover Conclusion Bibliography Index
Reviews Keen raises important questions about academic freedom and whether the fear of subversive ideas shaped the direction of American sociology, leading to the marginalization of Marxism and to the hegemony of quantitative and statistical analyses.—Choice
Endorsements This ground-breaking book documents in meticulous detail decades of harassment and surveillance of major American sociologists by the FBI. This misuse of power, public funds, and national trust will outrage all Americans and raise significant professional issues within the social sciences.—Mary Jo Deegan^LProfessor of Sociology^LUniversity of Nebraska
Mike Keen has published a stimulating book that adds new grist to the mill of sociological theory and history of American sociology....[H]e has produced a book that is of interest to students of social theory and the experts who teach them. Students will find his clear and comprehensive discussion informative and engagingly written, and professors will glean new insights into topics and theorists that they know well....Because of the novelty of the information and the quality of prose, this book will have wide appeal.—Barry V. Johnston^LProfessor^LDepartment of Sociology^LIndiana University Northwest
Based on research of FBI files on some of America's most eminent sociologists, Mike Keen's ^IStalking the Sociological Imagination^R extends our understanding of the politics of FBI surveillance, the social costs of Cold War anti-communism, and the origins of McCarthyism.—Athan Theoharis^LProfessor of History^LMarquette University