• Summary
  • Contents
  • Subject index

In this book, one of the foremost sociologists of the present day, turns his gaze upon the key figures and seminal institutions in the rise of sociology. Turner examines the work of Karl Marx, Max Weber, Karl Mannheim, Georg Simmel, Emile Durkheim and Talcott Parsons to produce a rich and authoritative perspective on the classical tradition. He argues that classical sociology has developed on many fronts, including debates on the family, religion, the city, social stratification, generations and citizenship. The book defends classical perspectives as a living tradition for understanding contemporary social life and demonstrates how the classical tradition produces an agenda for contemporary sociology.

The Sociology and Anthropology of Religion
The sociology and anthropology of religion

The study of religious phenomena, including magic and mythical systems, was an important general feature of the origins of contemporary social science. Indeed, speculation about religion represented a continuous theme in sociology and anthropology, running through the nineteenth century and into the classical period of the sociology of religion with writers like Emile Durkheim, Max Weber, Herbert Spencer and Georg Simmel. With the nineteenth-century growth of European colonialism, there developed a consistent preoccupation with so-called primitive tribes, ‘lower races’, primitive cultures and finally with primitive mentality. Increasing evidence drawn from reports by colonial administrators, missionaries and amateur anthropologists fired speculation about the contrasting nature of advanced civilizations and primitive communities, where magical beliefs were ...

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