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 concept 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 trendy paradigms of functionalism, interactionism, structuralism and significant Marxism, and ends by way of discussing salient modern sociological thought, together with the theories of Foucault, Baudrillard, Giddens, Habermas and others. Systematic and entire, this can be a textual content that seriously engages with sociological conception all through its improvement, supplying scholars a direction via competing traditions and views that brings out the targeted worth and obstacles of those.

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His collectivist notion of society was broadly socialist and materialist; but on the other hand, Saint-Simon's analysis of technology and the role of science and intellectual elites mostly composed of scientists and industrialists- combined with his theory of moral crisis suggests a conservative standpoint close to the sociological positivism of Comte. In a very general sense Saint-Simon can be claimed as an influence on both nineteenth-century sociology and the development of socialism and Marxism.

For Ferguson, society was conceived as a definite structure in which the relation of part to whole constituted the 'principal object' of social science. Like Montesquieu, the writers of the Scottish Enlightenment emphasised the structural nature of social phenomena rejecting the view of society as the product of a haphazard and accidental process. In their notion of the unintended consequences of social action Ferguson and Smith went beyond the static limitations ofMontesquieu's synchronic, systemic definition of society to embrace a concept of society as both structure and process.

Can proceed from a deep sense of the connection of all kinds of natural phenomena with invariable natural laws. If there are political evils which ... cannot be remedied by science, science at least proves to us that they are 42 Industrialisation and the Rise qf Sociological Positivism incurable, so as to calm our restlessness under pain by the conviction that it is by natural laws that they are rendered insurmountable (Comte, 1896, Vol. 2, pp. 18~7). On this definition, therefore, sociology prescribes a wholly passive and fatalistic orientation to the social world and contrasts sharply with Vico's injunction that the social world was the work of humanity.

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