• Summary
  • Contents
  • Subject index

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

Positivism in the Twentieth Century
Positivism in the twentieth century

Comte coined both the terms ‘positivism’ and ‘sociology’ in the early nineteenth century and their development has been intertwined ever since. The twentieth-century history of sociology is a prolonged engagement with positivism, attempting either to consolidate sociology's positivist inheritance or repudiate it. Given the multifarious forms which positivism takes, this history is convoluted, with critical rejection of one strand of positivism often leaving other strands untouched. Moreover, especially over the past twenty-five years, the number of practitioners of sociology has increased enormously, and they speak with proliferating voices. There has been no consolidation of the discipline into a dominant paradigm, instead diversity has increased. Some of this diversity has been expressed in terms of multiplying challenges ...

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