Notes from the 1926 meeting of the American Sociological Society
IT was altogether natural that the sociologists, youngest of professional groups, meeting under the presidency of Prof. John L. Gillin of Wisconsin, should throw themselves eagerly into the bowings and scrapings at the corners in this minuet of the social sciences. Indeed, to the point of giving active consideration of dropping out of the quadrille to take Opposition with other opposites. The upshot of the discussions was less radical however. On the one hand it took the form of setting up a social work committee, which next year will become a permanent section of the society. The relations of social work and sociology were the subject of penetrating discussion by Frank J. Bruno, formerly secretary of Family Society of Minneapolis and now professor of applied sociology at Washington University, St. Louis, Thomas J. Riley of the Brooklyn Bureau of Charities and M. J. Karpf of the Training School for Jewish Social Work, New York. This on the one hand, and on the other a move to get the psychologists and the anthropologists to meet next Christmas time at the same time and place.
The recent programs of the sociologists have changed radically from those which characterized their meetings half a dozen years ago. The shift has been away from that preoccupation with abstractions which characterized -the formative period. The sections at St. Louis included social research, rural sociology, community activities, social psychology, the family, religion. Each of these divisions presented papers which were rich in concrete materials, and in each was there appreciation of a great treasure-trove of materials which lies in the records and experiences of social work. The case-worker and the sociologist touch hands. In the field of social dynamics there were joint sessions with the National Community Center Association. The mounting interest in the family as a social unit, the rapproachment with psychology, the- place of sex in the scheme of human relations, stood out. And the election of Prof. William I. Thomas as president for the coming year was a register of this trend, no less than a recognition of the master work of one of the most creative pioneers in this field of social theory and discovery.
THE election of Mrs. W. F. Dummer of Chicago as a member of the executive committee was no less significant. Mrs. Dummer is known for her original projects in opening up new leads in the fields of education and the treatment of behavior. For several years past she has been quietly boring from within in getting the sociologists to take over family relations as a major concern. How completely they have responded to her quiet initiative was illustrated by the St. Louis meetings. There were papers on factors of choice in marriage, reports on studies of the family, on family disorganization, the parent-child relationship and so on. There was a joint meeting with the American Home Economics Association on the Outside Work of Married Women. Not a few papers traversed ground that was explored in the Woman's Place number of Survey Graphic; and an outstanding feature were the addresses of Dr. Miriam Van Waters, referee of the Los Angeles Juvenile Court, who interpreted the findings of those studies in behavior which are the background of her series of articles for Baffled Parents in The Survey this winter. At a joint meeting of the economists and the Association for Labor Legislation, Dr. Jessica Peixotto of the University of California, Prof. William F. Ogburn of Columbia and others discussed family budgets, swinging over from the consideration of wage-earners' households to those of the average run of American families.