By Alan Swingewood
This lucidly written, jargon-free textual content deals an account of the increase of sociological inspiration from its origins within the eighteenth century. starting with the classical sociology of Marx, Durkheim, Weber and Simmel, it is going directly to study the fashionable paradigms of functionalism, interactionism, structuralism and significant Marxism, and ends by way of discussing salient modern sociological idea, together with the theories of Foucault, Baudrillard, Giddens, Habermas and others. Systematic and complete, this can be a textual content that significantly engages with sociological concept all through its improvement, delivering scholars a course via competing traditions and views that brings out the exact price and boundaries of those.
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Additional resources for A Short History of Sociological Thought
It is this complex relation between human agent and structure which lies at the heart of the Scottish contribution to social theory and not, as some historians of sociology have argued, their emphasis on the social aspects of humanity and their analysis of the social effects of specific material forces. Many of the insights developed in the work ofFerguson, Millar and Smith would be lost in the subsequent emergence of nineteenth-century sociology. But Vico, Montesquieu and Ferguson had laid the foundations and posed the essential problems of a science of human society, culture and historical 27 Foundations change, of the relationship between human action, objective social structures and historical evolution.
Saint-Simon described industrial society in terms of collaboration and consensus: under the old syster'l force constituted the means of social cohesion, but industrial society creates partners not subjects and associated modes of co-operation involving labourers and the wealthiest property owners. The principles of free production generate moral solidarity. Saint-Simon contrasted the authority structure of feudal society, in which corporations symbolised coercion, with the unequal, hierarchical nature of industrial society arguing that industrial institutions were, by their nature, both functional and spontaneous.
Systems of law and government ... we must undoubtedly resort ... to the differences of situation . . the fertility or barrenness of the soil, the nature of its productions, the species of labour requisite for procuring subsistence, in the number of individuals collected together in one community, their proficiency in the arts ... The variety that frequently occurs in these and such other particulars must have a prodigious influence upon the great body of the people; as, by giving a peculiar direction to their inclinations and pursuits, it must be productive of corresponding habits, dispositions and ways ofthinking (Millar, in Lehmann, 1960).