This article provides a historical analysis of intellectual and institutional development of the early American sociology. The two most frequent historical narratives, one of the 'intellectual irrelevance', and the other of the 'institutional triumph', examining the legacy of the first American sociologists are confronted and dissected in detail. It is argued that the reconstructions of early American tradition often project current problems into historically specific contexts of the formative period. The problem of continuity/discontinuity of American sociology is interpreted in terms of a historically conditioned 'quest for objectivity and coherence'. The design of the article is historical, theoretical, and conceptual. Its main intention is to identify the key problems put forward by the first American sociologists and to address their conceptions aimed at founding a unified theoretical and methodological approach. Detailed attention is also paid to the attempts at disciplinary separation and identity formation of the early American sociology.
Financed by the National Centre for Research and Development under grant No. SP/I/1/77065/10 by the strategic scientific research and experimental development program:
SYNAT - “Interdisciplinary System for Interactive Scientific and Scientific-Technical Information”.