Applied Sociology occupies contested territory between academic sociology and social activism. An examination of applied sociology at the turn of the 20th century, as practiced by Caroline Bartlett Crane, Unitarian minister and Progressive Era social reformer, provides an excellent case study of these disciplinary debates. This article examines Crane’s efforts to utilize the new discipline of sociology to improve society through municipal sanitation. Sociology and community social reform were often closely linked in the Progressive Era. Early reformers and applied sociologists involved in sociology at the turn of the 20th century would likely be puzzled by the academic focus of the field today and dismayed by the privileged position of scholarship over social reform in contemporary sociology. One can only question how sociology j. mission and message might d#er today if the legacy of early, community-based sociology was more widely known within the discipline.


Original Citation: Rynbrandt, Linda. "Caroline Bartlett Crane and Municipalsanitation: Applied Sociology in the Progressive Era." Journal of Applied Sociology/Sociological Practice 21, no 1/6, no. 1 (2004): 84-94.

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