Alan J. Banks

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)




Carl Cuneo




An attempt was made in this thesis to explore some of the relationships between New Deal politics and sociology in post-1930 America. It was argued that uncritical acceptance of the logic of domination embodied in New Deal politics prevented sociologists from confronting the central problems of freedom and reason in an industrialized society-world. Using pre-defined categories for investigation and accepting a methodology that embodied the logic of domination, sociologists translated moral and political questions into administrative and methodological questions.

From this perspective, sociologists have performed a vital service to the development of the theory and practice of the modern business state, although this is not to say that sociologists have had a profound impact on anyone besides themselves. The sociologists role was that of a state-builder in that the ideology of the state was covertly supported in a maze of scientistic rhetoric and slogans which, in effect, hid ideology from sociologists and thus ended debate within the discipline. As moral and political lines of thought were excluded from debate (but not the content of sociological work), the way was opened for increased participation in state and corporate sponsored projects and in the training of properly trained civil servants.

The importance of sociology in the New Deal was not whether it was right or wrong but in the way questions were addressed and answered--the way the problem of liberty and order in a highly industrialized world was evaded.

McMaster University Library

Files over 3MB may be slow to open. For best results, right-click and select "save as..."

Included in

Sociology Commons