Sociological Analyses of Race and Ethnicity Since the 1950s: A Sociology of Sociology Explanation for Metatheoretical Shift

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This contribution to the sociology of sociology identifies and offers an explanation for a transformation in the categorical underpinnings of the discipline. Through the articulation of the arguments of Chertok (1990) and Szymanski (1985), it is argued that 'metatheoretical shifts" — systematic changes in the categorical and paradigmatic underpinnings of sociological theories and analyses — are a function of the vitality of social movements. Through a historical and textual analysis of the characteristics of sociological analyses of race and ethnicity since the 1950s, tentative evidence for the existence of a recent metatheoretical shift is documented.