A Short History of Sociological Thought by Alan Swingewood

A Short History of Sociological Thought by Alan Swingewood

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 fashionable paradigms of functionalism, interactionism, structuralism and important Marxism, and ends by means of discussing salient modern sociological idea, together with the theories of Foucault, Baudrillard, Giddens, Habermas and others. Systematic and finished, this can be a textual content that severely engages with sociological concept all through its improvement, supplying scholars a course via competing traditions and views that brings out the particular price and barriers of those.

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For Saint-Simon, science was positive, and therefore, through its principles of prediction and verification, formed the basis of practice. Like Adam Smith, Saint-Simon's model of society was based on astronomy: 'The astronomers only accepted those facts which were verified by observation; they chose the system which linked them best, and since that time, they have never led science astray' (lonescu, 1976, pp. 76--8). Saint-Simon coined the terms 'social physiology' and 'social physics' and, following Maistre and Bonald, defined society as an organic unity.

The active relation ofhuman labour and thought to the development and transformation of social forms is effectively assimilated to a theory of objective, determining facts. The polemical thrust ofComte's positivism is thus clear: but what of his concept of science? Sociology was defined in its relations with other sciences and Comte's stated aim was the synthesis of all available knowledge, a task facilitated by the law of three stages and hierarchical classification of the sciences. Both these conceptions had been stated by previous writers notably Turgot, Condorcet and Saint-Simon: in their beginnings all the sciences, wrote Saint-Simon, are conjectural but end by being positive, developing from the simple to the complex.

Comte remained a marginal figure in French intellectual culture, ridiculed in academic circles, suffering from periodic bouts of madness and suffering the indignity of being listed as deceased 40 Industrialisation and the Rise of Sociological Positivism in a contemporary bibliography. S. Mill, who corresponded with Comte, argued that his influence in the development of social science was greater than his actual achievements and that while not creating sociology as a science Comte's work nevertheless made it possible.

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