On the Social Structure of Pluralism
IT is no easy task, even in the comparatively fluid world of sociological parlance, to expose the rambling incoherence of pluralist social science. For one thing pluralism defies analysis, detracts reason and distorts understanding. It has no methodological epicentre, no historical overview, no pivotal standpoint or empirical focus. It is a miasma sui generis^ revolving around the abyss of its own emptiness, spinning against the rocks of fact into the far reaches of speculation, now lit by a chance inspiration, now smothered by an unsplendid turn of obfuscation, but ever creative, ever imaginative, ever aspiring after novelty until fact and fiction are finally united and made inseparable in one grand plural image. And yet it suffers continuously : suffers from a lack of centre, lack of system, stamina, integrity, purpose, passion and perseverance. It abounds in assumptions, it is empty in hypotheses; it regales with generalisation, it is lost in specifics; it thrives on empiricism, it falls by theory. Its contradictions are more latent than manifest, inherent than acquired, irresoluble than solvent. It shies from the normative, it is patently ideological; it pretends idealism, it is full of material compromises; it protests to reveal, it prefers to camouflage.