This book is an indispensable resource for anyone interested in the roots, current debates and future development of social theory. It draws together a team of outstanding international scholars, and presents an authoritative and panoramic critical survey of the field. The volume is divided into three parts. The first part examines the classical tradition. Included here are critical discussions of Comte, Spencer, Marx, Durkheim, Weber, Simmel, Mead, Freud, Mannheim and classical feminist thought. This part conveys the classical tradition as a living resource in social theory, it demonstrates not only the critical significance of classical writings, but their continuing relevance. The second part moves on t

Phenomenology and Social Theory

Phenomenology and social theory

Spirit has not only lost its essential life; it is also conscious of this loss, and of the fmitude that is its own content… and now demands from philosophy not so much knowledge of what it is as the recovery through its agency of that lost sense of solid and substantial being.

(G.W.F. Hegel, Phenomenology of Spirit, 1807)

The title of this chapter is deliberately disjunctive. The troubled relationship between phenomenology and social theory throughout the twentieth century renders dangerously misleading the seamless ‘phenomenological social theory’ or ‘phenomenological sociology’. Indeed, if it were not for their short-lived union in the early writing of Hegel, it might well be judged advisable to treat phenomenology and social theory as two quite distinct ...

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