Biography[ edit ] Sumner wrote an autobiographical sketch for the fourth of the histories of the Class of Yale College.
He studied political economy at Yale, graduating inand then studied French and Hebrew at Geneva, ancient languages and history at Gottingen, and Anglican theology at Oxford. In he returned to a tutorship at Yale. Ordained as an Episcopal clergyman, he served parishes in New York City and Morristown, New Jerseybut gave up the ministry when, inhe was appointed to a professorship of political and social science at Yale.
During the next 38 years at Yale he achieved a reputation as teacher, polemicist, and scholar. Before that time, he had been nationally known as an economist and essayist, fighting brilliantly against tariffs, socialism, sentimental social movements, and big government; thus, his undergraduate courses were enormously popular.
After he increasingly deserted economics for sociology; polemics gave way to research, and the rostrum to the study.
Consequently, his public reputation waned. Yet, the early and popular Sumner now merits only a few paragraphs in American social histories as a representative social Darwinian, whereas the later Sumner is given whole chapters in histories of sociological thought. Sumner the economist represented a current of opinion, but Sumner the sociologist was a brilliant innovator.
He believed the economic, political, and social worlds to be governed by natural laws. According to these laws, perfect competition results in a struggle for existence, and the fittest survive in the social, as in the natural, order.
To the extent that the social order is rational, interference with it is irrational; to the extent that it is beneficent, interference is pernicious. In any case, interference will eventually prove futile, for the laws, such as those of supply and demandare relatively fixed.
Sumner fought ardently for free trade and sound money. He spoke of the sacredness of private property. He was constantly engaged in controversy, and his drastic, uncompromising language not only revealed his impatience with any suggestion of sentimentality, but even implied that he regarded tact as hypocrisy.
This is the basis for the claim that Sumner gave the first university course in sociology. It had seemed to them then that it was necessary to develop a true social science and that it must be based upon history in the broadest sense.
Drawing, like Spencer, on ethnographical material, Lippert traced the evolution of specific cultural traits such as the use of tools or fireof institutions, and of ideas. To Sumner it seemed that Lippert, like Spencer, Gumplowicz, and Tylor, hovered on the brink of a social science of sufficient scope to include the whole social life of man.
From on, Sumner felt it his duty to develop an inductive science of society. He called it sociology reluctantly, since he disliked the word partly because of its impure etymology, partly because it had been invented and used by philosophers, and partly because it had been seized upon by sentimentalists.
Whereas Spencer had employed half a dozen young scholars to collect ethnographical material, Sumner thriftily collected all his own; to that end he learned eight languages in addition to the six already at his command. His absorption in his herculean task precluded further polemics; he now saw economics as merely one important aspect of the science of society.
Sumner himself succinctly described how he came to make his greatest contribution to sociology: In I began to write out a text-book of sociology from material which I had used in lectures during the previous ten or fifteen years. Or, in terms of a further analogy, he asserted that as habits are to the individual, so folkways are to the group:William Graham Sumner In Brazil, if you give someone a "thumbs up" gesture, William Graham Sumner would say that you are violating one of Brazil's__________ folkways.
William Graham Sumner often gets unfairly labeled a social Darwinist. In this first post in a new series, Zwolinski tries to nail down just what “social Darwinism” means. Unfortunately, Sumner’s intellectual legacy suffered essentially the same fate as that of his contemporary Herbert Spencer.
The American sociologist and educator William Graham Sumner () was one of the earliest proponents of sociology in the United States and was especially notable for his advocacy of the evolutionary viewpoints of Herbert Spencer in academic and public circles.
William Graham Sumner was born on Oct. 30, , in Paterson, N. J. To be ashio-midori.comts of Culture • Norms – Established standards of behavior maintained by a society – Norms are rules by which a society guides the behavior of its members. William Graham Summer coined the term ashio-midori.comdes towards Cultural Diversity Cultural ethnocentrism – The tendency to assume that one’s own.
Sumner, William GrahamWORKS BY SUMNER SUPPLEMENTARY BIBLIOGRAPHY William Graham Sumner  () was one of the founders of the science of sociology in the United States .
William Graham Sumner In , Sumner wrote his seminal book, Folkways, in which he detailed the arbitrary nature of social rules, customs, taboos and morals. In it, he envisioned the critical society.