Sociology, Department of


Date of this Version



Hill, Michael R. 1996. “Joan Huber, Irving Louis Horowitz, and the Ideological Future of Objectivity in American Sociology.” Sociological Imagination (Wisconsin Sociological Society) 33 (3-4): 228-239.


Copyright 1996 Michael R. Hill


The occasion of this essay is an unsolicited but welcome invitation to comment on Irving Louis Horowitz's (1993) most recent book, The Decomposition of Sociology, a work that is generating considerable discussion (e.g., Bauer Mengelberg 1995; Chriss 1994; Goldman 1994; Horowitz 1994, 1995; Pizzorno 1994; Wagner 1994). An invitation to discuss a book by Horowitz in a public forum-to which he is invited to respond-is a genuine honor eagerly accepted here with what is undoubtedly a too small twinge of apprehension, a twinge of the minimally regarded kind that allows proverbial fools to rush into intellectual tight spots from which only angels, sympathetic cronies, and humble mea culpas can extricate them. Professor Horowitz's debating skills are considerable and legendary; they are challenged only at one's peril. I vividly recall, for example, a peripheral critique that sociologist Harold Leonard Orbach, then and now an associate professor of sociology at Kansas State University, once launched at Horowitz's (1983) authoritative intellectual biography of C. Wright Mills.