By Alan Swingewood
This lucidly written, jargon-free textual content bargains an account of the increase of sociological idea from its origins within the eighteenth century. starting with the classical sociology of Marx, Durkheim, Weber and Simmel, it is going directly to study the fashionable paradigms of functionalism, interactionism, structuralism and significant Marxism, and ends through discussing salient modern sociological thought, together with the theories of Foucault, Baudrillard, Giddens, Habermas and others. Systematic and accomplished, it is a textual content that severely engages with sociological thought all through its improvement, providing scholars a direction via competing traditions and views that brings out the certain price and barriers of those.
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Extra resources for A Short History of Sociological Thought
Comte's attitude to the Enlightenment was, of course, negative: although he accepted the theory of progress, especially Condorcet's notion of social evolution developing through the workings of specific natural laws, he rejected the critical positivism of eighteenth-century philosophic rationalism abhoring its 'negative' attacks on the values of traditional authority and morality, on religious institutions and the family. In particular he rejected the Enlightenment view that preindustrial society, especially the Middle Ages, constituted the dark age of civilisation.
For Maistre and Bonald society was apprehended through intuition, not reason or science. This belief inintuition and feeling is linked with attempts to discover a new source of political authority in the post-revolutionary world that followed the collapse of the old regime. Revolution and industrialism were creating a new kind of society, one in which the old traditional values no longer held sway. The result was a concept of society which emphasised the creative role of the family, corporations and a hierarchical structure of authority similar to the rigid estate system of feudalism.
If there are political evils which ... cannot be remedied by science, science at least proves to us that they are 42 Industrialisation and the Rise qf Sociological Positivism incurable, so as to calm our restlessness under pain by the conviction that it is by natural laws that they are rendered insurmountable (Comte, 1896, Vol. 2, pp. 18~7). On this definition, therefore, sociology prescribes a wholly passive and fatalistic orientation to the social world and contrasts sharply with Vico's injunction that the social world was the work of humanity.