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Comparative-historical sociology and ‘crackpot realism’

A special issue of the online journal Human Figurations has been published on the theme of ‘Comparative-historical sociology as antidote to the “crackpot realism” of the twenty-first century’. The engaging term ‘crackpot realism’ was coined by C. Wright Mills in The Sociological Imagination (1959).

Eight of the nine papers in the special issue, edited by Alexander Law and Stephen Mennell, originated as contributions to the International Sociological Association’s Forum 2016, at the University of Vienna, in a session organised for Research Committee 56, Historical Sociology, entitled ‘In what ways can comparative–historical sociology help to improve the workings of the modern world?’

See Human Figurations 6: 2 (2017), at:*?rgn=full+text


Guest Editors’ Introduction: Comparative–historical sociology as antidote to the ‘crackpot realism’ of the twenty-first century


Alexander Law and Stephen Mennell
History is not bunk: why comparative historical sociology is indispensable when looking to the future


Stephen Mennell
The decivilising effects of the financial system Fernando Ampudia de Haro


Difficulties of the EU as a common object for identification Behrouz Alikhani


The social bases of democracy revisited; or, why democracy cannot be dropped in bombs from B52s at 30,000 feet


Stephen Mennell
The narcissism of national solipsism: Civic nationalism and sub-state formation processes in Scotland


Alexander Law
Comparative-historical sociology as professional practice Eric Royal Lybeck


Learning from the past: how local economic conventions influence responses to global crises


Nina Baur and Linda Hering
‘Problems of involvement and detachment’: Norbert Elias and the investigation of contemporary social processes


John Lever and Ryan Powell