THE R E WAS A TIM E when sociologists believed in progress. They were not fearful that any suggestion on their part that today

might be better than the yesterdays of earlier decades and centuries would be taken as an endorsement of the contemporary structure of society. But a lot of things have happened since the days when Spencer and Comte and Mill, and sometimes even Marx, could write under the confident assumption that they lived in the best days there had ever been, and that there were better days to come.