• Summary
  • Contents
  • Subject index

Divided into two parts, this book examines the train of social theory from the 19th century, through to the `organization of modernity', in relation to ideas of social planning, and as contributors to the `rationalistic revolution' of the `golden age' of capitalism in the 1950s and 60s. Part two examines key concepts in the social sciences. It begins with some of the broadest concepts used by social scientists: choice, decision, action and institution and moves on to examine the `collectivist alternative': the concepts of society, culture and polity, which are often dismissed as untenable by postmodernists today. This is a major contribution to contemporary social theory and provides a host of essential insights into the task of social scie

Introduction: Historicising the Social Sciences
Introduction historicising the social sciences

In many respects, the twentieth century appears now, after its end, as the century of the social sciences. It was in intellectual debates, often accompanied by institutional struggles, at the end of the nineteenth century that the social sciences emerged from under the tutelage of philosophy and of history. They gained an independent status and some recognition for their own claim to provide valid knowledge about, and useful orientation in, the contemporary world. From those debates and struggles were then created what is now known as, among other approaches, ‘classical sociology’, ‘neoclassical economics’, an anthropology based on participant observation and experimental psychology as well as psychoanalysis, i.e. the whole range of approaches and disciplines in the ...

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