Journal article

Enduring Divisions: Critique, Method, and Questions of Value in the Sociology of Literature

Ashley Barnwell

Cultural Sociology | SAGE PUBLICATIONS LTD | Published : 2015


The sociology of literature has a troubled history. Across the past 50 years, proposal after proposal has attempted to develop a method and bridge the cultural division between the social sciences and literary studies. Focusing on the most recent attempt to revitalise the field, this article examines the legacy of the ‘two cultures’ in current debates about the politics and value of method. Departing from the Marxist tone of preceding arguments, James F. English’s (2010) description of the sociology of literature bears the influence of the recent turn away from critique toward alternative modes of inquiry. Tracing the logic of this turn, my article questions whether an opposition between cri..

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