Raymond Aron research
Raymond Aron (1905-1983) assumed many guises over a long and fruitful career: journalist, polemicist, philosopher of history, counselor to political leaders and officials, theorist of nuclear deterrence and international relations. Raymond Aron was also France’s most notable sociologist. While Aron had especially close ties with Britain, a result of his days in active exile there during the Second World War, he was widely appreciated in the United States too. His survey of the Main Currents in Sociological Thought was hailed a masterpiece; more generally, Aron’s books were extensively reviewed in the AJS, the ASR (in earlier days it hosted a review section), Contemporary Sociology and Social Forces. He received honorary degrees from Columbia, Chicago and Harvard and foreign membership of the American Philosophical Society and of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. And he was admired and cited by sociologists of the stature of Daniel Bell, Edward Shils, and David Riesman. Yet despite appearing well poised to become a major force in international sociology, analogous to his younger collaborator, Pierre Bourdieu, Raymond Aron has almost vanished from the sociological landscape. This research explains why, compares Raymond Aron’s reception in American and in Britain, and offers some observations on the conditions – conceptual and motivational - of reputational longevity in sociological theory, showing how Aron failed to meet them. Special attention is devoted to a confusing equivocation in Raymond Aron’s description of sociology, and to the cultural basis of his ambivalence towards the discipline.
- “British Sociology and Raymond Aron,” in Sociological Amnesia: Cross Currents in Disciplinary History (eds. Alexander Law and Eric Royal Lybeck). London: Ashgate (forthcoming 2015).
- "The Honored Outsider. Raymond Aron as Sociologist," Sociological Theory, 31(2) 2013, pp. 93-115.
- "Marxism and Islamism. Intellectual Conformity in Raymond Aron's Time and Our Own," Journal of Classical Sociology(11:2), 2011, pp. 173-190.
- Journal of Classical Sociology. Special Issue on the Thought and Legacy of Raymond Aron. Guest Editor and contributor. 11:2 (2011).