Peter Murray
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The empirical turn of Irish Catholic sociology in the 1950s
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Catholic sociology in Ireland changed significantly during the 1950s and 1960s. This change had four principal strands. First, the joint action of the Maynooth Professor and Muintir na Tire to secure European and US help in fostering rural sociology. Second, the use made by Archbishop McQuaid of his power within UCD to establish social science teaching in the state’s largest university. Third, the tension between useful and critical social science that emerged as the growing number of Irish Catholic immigrants in an increasingly secular Britain became a focal point for research proposals. Finally, the manner in which Ireland’s initially abundant, but later faltering, supply of religious vocations and the maximization of its clergy’s contribution to worldwide Catholic missionary efforts was studied. All of these strands are tied together by a broad turn away from exclusive preoccupation with ethical principles and towards increasing involvement in empirical social investigations.

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Church, state and social science in Ireland

Knowledge institutions and the rebalancing of power, 1937– 73


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