CAIRN-INT.INFO : International Edition

Taking off from statements made by major sociologists at the end of the nineteenth century regarding a sociology “fashion” in France, the article applies a bibliometric method to ascertain whether such a “fashion” existed, understanding sociology first as a matter of editing and publication. A corpus of over 400 printed works published between 1841 and 1925, all with the word “sociology” in the title, reveals a spectacular rise in number of occurrences of the “sociology” label around 1900. While most of the authors involved partook of a scientific and intellectual movement involving sociology and the social sciences, the fact that there was no scientific monopoly on the term “sociology” made possible non-scholarly – in most cases ideologically motivated – uses of the term. The sociology “fashion”, then inheres in the interaction between these two phenomena and may therefore be considered an episode in sociology’s cultural history.

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