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

The Origins of Positivism: The Contributions of Auguste Comte and Herbert Spencer

The origins of positivism: The contributions of auguste comte and herbert spencer

By the beginning of the nineteenth century, the social world was increasingly viewed by Enlightenment thinkers as part of the natural universe; and indeed, many were coming to the conclusion that the natural and social sciences could be used to promote human progress. This perspective was not accepted by all; and in fact, it took well over a century for the various social sciences to become institutionalized inside and outside of academia. Still, for well over a century, beginning in the early 1700s, the idea that human beings and their social world could be studied scientifically had been gaining momentum; and by ...

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