Thursday, July 29, 2004

Maxing the envelope!

I've been reading a fantastic article by Mario Luis SmallCulture, Cohorts and Social Organisation Theory:  Understanding Local Participation in a Latino Housing Project.  It is so good because he basically pushes social organisation theory to its limits by introducing a number of different critiques. 

For him, I think, the most telling point is that he brings the idea of culture back into sociological debate, but the article appeals to me for two reasons.  Firstly, Small makes a bridge between social theory and practice by reviving the debate about culture and placing it at the heart of his thinking around citizen participation and civil society - previously a no-go area.  Secondly, his methods and the way he writes situate his work right at the coal face.  The fact that you can empathise with his subjects and the social problems they face is a rare thing in contemporary sociological writing and has been rightly applauded (this paper won the Robert Park Award for Best Article in community and urban sociology from the American Sociological Association).

Unfortunately, it is really hard to find online, but it is available in the American Journal of Sociology 108 (1).

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