The Grand Theory Is Alive: An Interview with Jonathan H. Turner

Jonathan H. Turner, Petr Jedlička



Jonathan H. Turner is the Distinguished Professor of Sociology at the University of California at Riverside and, for many decades, the world’s leading authority on sociological theory, with research interests in many other areas such as human and societal evolution, social stratification and inequality, philosophy of science, and historical sociology. Professor Turner has authored, co-authored, edited, or co-edited a number of works, including more than 43 influential books, which have been published in twelve different languages, including The Structure of Sociological Theory, The Emergence of Sociological Theory, and many others. He is a member of the American Sociological Association and a former president of the Pacific Sociological Society and the journal editor for Sociological Theory. Professor Turner received a B.A. with honors from University of California at Santa Barbara, a M.A. and a doctorate in sociology from Cornell University. The interview is Professor Turner’s critical reply to the arguments raised in the article “Against Grand Theories: A (Cautionary) Tale of Two Disciplines,” which presents the view that universally accepted grand theories in social sciences are not achievable because of the lack of a common methodology or a theoretical core which results in their multiparadigmatic nature, value-leadenness and insufficient objectivity. The interview took place on March 23, 2021 online.

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Jedlička, Petr. “Against Grand Theories: A (Cautionary) Tale of Two Disciplines.” Teorie vědy / Theory of Science 42, no. 2 (2020): 175–99.

Spencer, Herbert. The Principles of Sociology. 3 vols. New York: D. Appleton and Company, 1898.

Turner, Jonathan H. Patterns of Social Organization: A Survey of Social Institutions. New York: McGraw-Hill, 1971.

Turner, Jonathan H. American Society: Problems of Structure. New York: Harper & Row, 1972.

Turner, Jonathan H. The Structure of Sociological Theory. Homewood: The Dorsey Press, 1974.

Turner, Jonathan H. Inequality: Privilege and Poverty in America. Northbrook: Scott Foresman & Co, 1976.

Turner, Jonathan H. Social Problems in America. New York: Harper & Row, 1977.

Turner, Jonathan H., Royce Singleton, and David Musick. Oppression: A Socio-History of Black-White Relations in America. Chicago: Nelson-Hall, 1984.

Turner, Jonathan H., and David Musick. American Dilemmas: A Sociological Interpretation of Enduring Social Issues. New York: Columbia University Press, 1985.

Turner, Jonathan H. “Sociological Theory Today.” In Handbook of Sociological Theory, edited by Jonathan H. Turner. New York: Springer, 2001.

Turner, Jonathan H. Human Institutions: A Theory Of Societal Evolution. Lanham: Rowman & Littlefield, 2003.

Turner, Jonathan H. Theoretical Principles of Sociology, vol 1. New York: Springer, 2010.

Copyright (c) 2021 Jonathan H. Turner, Petr Jedlička

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