The sociological craft through the lens of theatre

A call for imaginative critical research




sociologi, sociologiska fantasin, dokumentärteater


Since its inception as an academic discipline in the 19th century, sociology has carried an internal tension between the “scientific” and the “hermeneutic” orientations. In response to this tension, the present article reviews important sociological publications that address the art-science dichotomy and explores the relationship between academic sociology and artistic work on society. It takes its departure point from a collaboration between the author and the dramatist Mattias Andersson in the documentary theatre project The mental states of Gothenburg (2006, Angered Theatre). To a large extent, the play’s script consisted of extracts of interviews with young people from different parts of the city of Gothenburg. Both “the sociologist”, who carried out the interviews, and “the dramatist” ended up as characters on stage. The article especially emphasises the relevance of The sociological imagination by C. Wright Mills (1967[1959]), arguing that through collaborative work with artists, the sociological craft can be further cultivated and thus realise its potential in terms of making well-founded interventions, both in academic discussions and in public conversations.




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Holgersson, Helena. 2022. ”The Sociological Craft through the Lens of Theatre: A Call for Imaginative Critical Research”. Sociologisk Forskning 58 (4):361–382.