A SOCIOLOGICAL INTERVIEW
                       With Hoda Mahmoudi
                 California Lutheran University
                         by Cheryl Gerth
                                


1.  GERTH:  Which sociological tradition do you find yourself most
in alignment with?

    MAHMOUDI:  In more recent years I have been bound up with
feminist sociology.  Feminist sociology views society as constantly
changing and that we need to look at new ways of doing things.  We
need a new model to view society with.

2.  GERTH:  Which sociological tradition do you find yourself
disagreeing with?

    MAHMOUDI:  I find myself disagreeing with the Conflict Theory
which is rather simplistic in their view that human beings are
motivated through conflict.  There are enough recent examples to
show differently.

3.  GERTH:  Name some sociologists that you admire?  Why?

    MAHMOUDI:  Durkheim, Sorokan's material and nonmaterial
civilization, Marxist's Theory of Alienation, and Max Weber.  Each
of these sociologists have something to offer into understanding
society and social organization.

4.  GERTH:  What do you feel has been your greatest contribution to
sociology?

    MAHMOUDI:  My greatest contribution was my dissertation on a
cross national comparison on bureaucracy.  I was the first to write
on social structure and bureaucracy comparing seventy complex
organizations in the United States with seventy organizations in
the Middle East.

5.  GERTH:  In your research, what have you discovered that is of
interest or significance?

    MAHMOUDI:  Learning what the major needs of the Third World are
in terms of economic and social development.  How the Third World
nations need to manage their organization structures differently.

6.  GERTH:  As you know, sociology is still in its infancy as a
science.  What fields in sociology do you think hold the most
promise?

     MAHMOUDI:  Complex Organization, Demography, and Medical
Sociology.


7.  GERTH:  What fields of sociology do you think hold the least
promise?

     MAHMOUDI:  Symbolic interactionism and Social Psychology.

8.  GERTH:  In the 1990's and into the 21st century, what are some
of the key problems that sociologists must confront in further
establishing their discipline?

     MAHMOUDI:  Better understanding of ethnic relations as related
to general society.  Creating a link between institutions in
society and their ability to serve humans.

9.  GERTH:  In teaching students the subjects of sociology, what
are some of the major misconceptions about individuals and society
that you would like to clear up?

     MAHMOUDI:  The first is the notion of race.  The word race is
misleading because their is only one race, the human race.  Also,
to eliminate ethnocentrism and the knowing how much of human
behavior is learned versus innate.

10.  GERTH:  Sociology books are not generally popular and a number
of them turn out to be dated just shortly after they are published. 
If you had to choose four or five sociology related works (books or
articles) which would they be?  Why?

     MAHMOUDI:  Sociology: A Global Perspective by Ferrante, Making
War Making Peace by Gibson and Cancian, Sociology by Ian Robertson. 
These are all general sociology books that I would use in my
classes.  They give a global perspective bringing interesting
current social issues to the students of this day and age that they
can relate to.  The issues are well written and well presented.
Giving global nature interdependence with the planet and peoples. 
A global society needs to manage social systems learning to be
planetary systems.  [They contain] issues about peace and war being
an outmoded institution, and being able to resolve conflict
peacefully.

11.  GERTH:  If you were stranded on a desert island and you could
choose books from any subject, which books would you take?

     MAHMOUDI:  Of course, I would choose books about my faith [the
Baha'i faith].  I would take the Hidden Words and the Gleanings of
the Writings of Baha'u'llah and all of Shoghi Effendi's books.  I
would also take a general book on the history of the world,
sociology books on peace studies about a new world and a new
system, poetry by Adrian Rich, E.E. Cummings, and the complete
works of Shakespeare.

12.  GERTH:  If you were to interview yourself, what question would
you most like to answer?  Ask that question now and answer it, if
you like.


      MAHMOUDI:  What have I done with my education in sociology in
providing service to humanity in order to make this world a better
place?  I would feel presumptuous to answer this question but I
have tried to take my knowledge of sociology and apply it in action
oriented ways to improve society.  I have tried to improve racial
and ethnic relations with workshops.  [Trying to improve the
problem of] sexism by teaching that people must change their own
lives and to be an example.  I give time to organizations and
people.  I apply sociology concepts to improve human behavior and
action.

14.  GERTH:  Why did you choose sociology?

     MAHMOUDI:  I love the scope of sociology, in looking at human
groups and at the larger picture.  Sociological thinking is
important in giving a new perspective to solve some of the problems
that we have.  Sociology has a broad all-encompassing vision.  I am
attracted to this vision