In this detailed history of the Chicago School of Sociology, Andrew Abbott investigates central topics in the emergence of modern scholarship, paying special attention to "schools of science" and how such schools reproduce themselves over time. What are the preconditions from which schools arise? Do they exist as rigid rules or as flexible structures? How do they emerge from the day-to-day activities of academic life such as editing journals and writing papers?
Abbott analyzes the shifts in social scientific inquiry and discloses the intellectual rivalry and faculty politics that characterized different stages of the Chicago School. Along the way, he traces the rich history of the discipline's main journal, the American Journal of Sociology.
Embedded in this analysis of the school and its practices is a broader theoretical argument, which Abbott uses to redefine social objects as a sequence of interconnected events rather than as fixed entities. Abbott's theories grow directly out of the Chicago School's insistence that social life be located in time and place, a tradition that has been at the heart of the school since its founding one hundred years ago.