• Summary
  • Contents
  • Subject index

A unique contribution to discussions of social theory, this book counters the argument that no social theory was ever produced in Britain before the late twentieth century. Reviewing a period of 300 years from the seventeenth century to the mid-twentieth century, it sets out a number of innovative strands in theory that culminated in powerful contributions in the classical period of sociology. The book discusses how these traditions of theory were lost and forgotten and sets out why they are important today.

Was There A Failure Of British Social Theory?
Was There A Failure Of British Social Theory?

This is not a history of British sociology but of British social theory. Sociology in Britain is well-known for its long history of empirical and statistical research on poverty, inequality, and social conditions (Abrams 1968; Kent 1981; Platt 2014; Goldman 2002). Studies such as those of Booth (1901–2), Rowntree (1901), and Bowley (Bowley and Burnett-Hurst 1915) are widely seen as the characteristic achievements of British sociologists in the first half of the twentieth century. Far less often is there any mention of theoretical work undertaken in Britain. Indeed, many people, including many British sociologists, think that there is no British social theory. This book is an attempt to counter ...

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