One thought on “A conversation with Gary Hall about pirate philosophy, academic celebrity and social theory

  1. If you ever get a chance to read Phillipe Steiner’s book (2010) “Durkheim and the Birth of Economic Sociology” (translated into English from French by Keith Tribe) I highly recommend it. He points out that before Durkheim wrote Division of Labor, he was writing about political economy at the Historical School with folks from the Marginal Revolution. Durkheim developed a bad taste in his mouth for political economy, telling his François Simiand in a letter that (paraphrasing) “I’m glad that you can do political economy, because I can’t stand the subject.”

    Durkheim did something fascinating however in his correspondence with Simiand. He suggested the development of a “Social Utility” theory to contrast Bentham, as well as a “social theory of value” to contrast Ricardo, and the Marginalists of the time. This reminds me of that.

    It also reminds me of the accolades that von Mises had for Max Weber in developing the idea of Rational Action based on Methodological Individualism. Neoliberal economics has been running with that idea ever since. I often wondered if Max realized just what the consequences of that theory would be.

    I recently listened to a cohort tell me how Durkheim isn’t relevant to anything anymore, and asked why do we still talk about him? Maybe Sociology threw out the Durkheimian baby with the Parsonian bath water. I personally think that Durkheim’s work is worth another look. Gary Hall is on to something, and we owe it to ourselves as Sociologists, and to society to go see if there was a baby in that bathwater that got tossed out.

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