Sociology and politics. Anthony Giddens’ and Cătălin Zamfir’s answer.

Competent voices, like A. Giddens in UK (2006) and C. Zamfir in Romania (2009), claim that sociology, as an academic science, is declining in prestige, public  interest and significance of its researches. This paper argues that we face a social process whose causes are rooted in the changes that took place in the relationship between sociology (the scientific research of modern society) and politics. Sociology was significant as a science as much time as different groups of politicians confronted themselves on the issue of the best distribution system of social and economic resources of the society. In such conjunctures, alternative sociological paradigms developed in order to support the legitimacy of alternative distribution systems. The mechanism is as old as known political history, and it had its “ups”, when alternative political options for alternative distribution systems were competing, and “downs”, when a dominant distribution system was unchallenged by alternative political options. The last decades illustrate times when a politically unchallenged distribution system – the “free market capitalism” – dominated both the political action, and the academic and everyday ideology, via globalization and post communism. The present financial crises and the economic recession it produces, both in developed and in developing economies like Romania’s, are questioning the dominating distribution system, but sociology and sociologists are poor prepared for a debate and, thus, for renewal.