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Aux origines de la sociologie anglaise : le débat économique et social sur la pauvreté à l’orée du XXe siècle


  • Jacques Rodriguez


This article throws light on the contribution of sociologists to the debates relating to poverty in England at the turn of the 20th century and, additionally, the role of these debates in the emergence of sociology on the political, then academic scene. It shows that if sociology was still in its embryonic stages at the time, it tended to distinguish itself from economics in its analysis of the “social question”. Indeed, sociology revealed the existence of important industrial poverty, estimating its scope through the use of the “poverty line”, and trying to establish a convincing alternative to liberal individualism and socialism. Through a close examination of the works of Seebohm Rowntree, John Hobson or Leonard Hobhouse, in particular, this article finally underlines the true specificity of British sociology, namely its fundamental contribution to the clarification of the problems of poverty.

Suggested Citation

  • Jacques Rodriguez, 2010. "Aux origines de la sociologie anglaise : le débat économique et social sur la pauvreté à l’orée du XXe siècle," Cahiers d’économie politique / Papers in Political Economy, L'Harmattan, issue 59, pages 225-248.
  • Handle: RePEc:cpo:journl:y:2010:i:59:p:225-248

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    poverty; sociology; history; England; political cconomy;

    JEL classification:

    • I32 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - Measurement and Analysis of Poverty
    • N33 - Economic History - - Labor and Consumers, Demography, Education, Health, Welfare, Income, Wealth, Religion, and Philanthropy - - - Europe: Pre-1913
    • B13 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - History of Economic Thought through 1925 - - - Neoclassical through 1925 (Austrian, Marshallian, Walrasian, Wicksellian)


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