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Posts Tagged ‘Psychology’

I recently came across a copy of Durkheim’s Suicide at a used book sale and decided to buy it since it was 80 cents and I didn’t already have a copy. The version I got was published by the Free Press. The front cover looks like this:

Suicide Front CoverThe front cover, though, is not the reason for this post. It was the back cover that was particularly interesting. Here it is:

Suicide Back CoverDespite the fact that the book’s subtitle is “A Study in Sociology” and several of the descriptions identify Durkheim as a sociologist, the upper left corner clearly classifies the book as “Psychology.” Similarly, the quotes describing the book’s importance are from Psychoanalytic Quarterly and American Journal of Psychiatry.

It would have been interesting to hear the discussion that led to such a critical work of sociology being labeled this way, but I assume that the decision came down to marketing. A lot of small bookstores might not have sociology sections, but they probably do have psychology sections, so maybe the Free Press thought that labeling it this way would allow it to appear in more stores. To the slight credit of the Free Press, the newer cover of Suicide appears to be labeled as “Social Science” but the quotes remain the same.

I guess that this isn’t quite as bad as labeling Bill O’Reilly as “Social Science” or Glenn Beck as “Non-Fiction,” but it does indicate that sociology’s quest for legitimacy continues…

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