Sociology at the present moment offers a confused picture. To be sure, among the 15,000 sociologists in the United States and Canada—not to speak of those in other countries—there are many competent professionals who produce well-conceived pieces of research. But many of these pieces of research lack significance because they take their departure from a method in search of a topic rather than from an attempt to elucidate a topic with whatever methods would seem serviceable. At best we have before us a bewildering array of isolated findings, significant or insignificant as they may be, but without the guidance of a theory. We have no image of mankind and the way it travels. If one listens to theoretical discussions, one hears of conflict theory versus system theory or of Marxism versus functionalism, but on closer investigation these dichotomies appear less than convincing. Conflict is not a theory but a fact and ‘system’ is a formal concept that can be filled in with a variety of contents. Marxism, for example, is indeed a system, but one built upon the notion of conflict, not in opposition to it. And again, functionalism, referring to the relationship of parts to a whole, including a Marxistically conceived interdependence of parts and a whole, is a virtual synonym for system, not an antonym or alternative. In such a fashion, we are moving in circles.