Document Type

Book Chapter


Martin Nicolaus (1975, pp. 52-59) told the American Sociological Association in 1969 - - that "the one and only general sociological law that has ever been discovered ... [is] that the oppressors research the oppressed .... What scientists are these who peer into everything below?" Alvin Gouldner (1975) had talked about this issue of subject position, too, in 1967. "We find [in sociology]", he wrote, "a specific standpoint, a kind of underdog identification ... -a school of thought that finds itself at home in the world of hip, drug addicts, jazz musicians, cab drivers, prostitutes, night people, drifters, grifters and skidders: the 'cool world'." This sociology noir was and is fixed on "deviance" and "social problems", and has had and continues to have a long association with voyeurism, something it shares with women's studies, men's studies, anthropology, studies of sexuality and a lot of fine literature. It involves, as Nicolaus (1975, p. 49) again so neatly put it, "taking notebook and conscience in hand and going slumming". Now, I suppose, after poststructuralism we could call it "giving voice to difference", or then again, might it be called "victim sociology"?,