By Alan Swingewood
This lucidly written, jargon-free textual content deals an account of the increase of sociological idea from its origins within the eighteenth century. starting with the classical sociology of Marx, Durkheim, Weber and Simmel, it is going directly to research the trendy paradigms of functionalism, interactionism, structuralism and demanding Marxism, and ends via discussing salient modern sociological concept, together with the theories of Foucault, Baudrillard, Giddens, Habermas and others. Systematic and accomplished, it is a textual content that seriously engages with sociological thought all through its improvement, supplying scholars a course via competing traditions and views that brings out the distinct worth and obstacles of those.
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Additional info for A Short History of Sociological Thought
Saint-Simon's model of society was thus holistic: he defined a 'healthy' socicty as one in which the various parts subsisted in astate of functional harmony with the whole. Social health was closely identified with production and the role of the productive social classes. Industrial society, in contrast to all previous forms of social organisation, was not based on a centraliscd powcr structure but rather built around the institutions of civil society. Saint-Simon did not argue for the abolition of political institutions only that decision-making must increasingly devolve on the institutions associated with scicnce and technology.
Thus in his discussion ofthe role ofthe working dass Comte described their 'inevitable lot' as existing on the 'precarious fruits' oflabour and to suffer constant deprivation. Positivist sociology, while recognising this as a 'great social problem', would seek to ameliorate the workers' condition, but not at the cost of 'destroying its dassification and disturbing the general economy' (Comte, 1896, Vol. 3, pp. 3~7). In his early writings ofthe 1820s Comte agreed with Saint-Simon's argument that the aftermath ofthe French Revolution had created a spiritual vacuum and absence of 'any moral discipline whatsoever'.
46 Industrialisation and the Rise qf Sociological Positivism Positivism and determinism All social phenomena are subject to invariable laws and once these have been scientifically established humanity must, from necessity, sub mit to their dictation. Science makes possible social control and Comte defined 'true liberty' as the 'rational submission' of the individual to the la ws of nature. Positivist sociology effectively abolishes 'the absolute liberty of the revolutionary school ... and, by establishing social principles, will meet the need at once of order and progress'.
A Short History of Sociological Thought by Alan Swingewood