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.
Chapter 10: Rediscovering Theory and Theorists
The starting point for this book was the view, most cogently expressed by Perry Anderson (1968), that Britain has no significant tradition of social theory and so the achievements of British sociology do not bear comparison with those of sociologists in France, Germany, or even the United States. This view has been so widely shared and proved so influential that many writers on the history of sociology have felt that they can legitimately omit any consideration of British writers from their works. The names of Britons, therefore, are noticeable only for their absence from the conventional accounts. Most readers of these have concluded that significant British sociologists never existed before the appearance of Anthony Giddens in the ...