• 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

Polity
Polity

Sociology, at least major parts of what goes under that name, has been an attempt to understand the viability of a polity by means other than those offered by political philosophy, including importantly means of empirical analysis (see ch. 9; and Wagner 2000: ch. 2). The problem has been defined, I shall argue, as that of the relation between social identities, social practices and modes of collective rule-setting. Sociology has mostly insisted on some need for — as well as tendency towards — a neat coherence of identities, practices and rules in a society. Coherence, in this sense, means that there is a collectivity of human beings, forming a ‘society’ by virtue of the fact that they share common understandings about what is important ...

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