Date of this Version
Hill, Michael R. 1989. “Mari Sandoz’ Sociological Imagination: Capital City as an Ideal Type.” Platte Valley Review (University of Nebraska-Kearney Press, Papers from the Conference on Mari Sandoz) 17 (1): 102-22. 1989. [Note: Due to a printer’s error, the pages of the references and appendices (pp. 116-122) were misnumbered and thus inadvertently scrambled. The proper sequence is: 116, 119, 120, 117, 118, 121, 122. In this digital file, these pages, although not renumbered, do appear the proper order.]
This paper examines Mari Sandoz' (1939) novel Capital City from the perspective of sociology. ‘I outline Sandoz' data collection methods and consider her use of ideal-type analysis and sociological imagination. From the perspective of literary critics it may be, as Helen Stauffer (1982: 131) judged, that Capital City "is not a successful novel." It is not my purpose, however, to contest the merit of Sandoz' work on literary grounds. Rather, I invoke the viewpoint of the sociologist and note the criteria on which I conclude that Capital City is a complex and well-executed sociological study.