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The Emergence of Sociological Theory

The Emergence of Sociological Theory

Seventh Edition

November 2011 | 520 pages | SAGE Publications, Inc

This scholarly text covers the first one hundred years of sociological theorizing, from 1830 to 1930, focusing primarily on Comte, Spencer, Marx, Weber, Simmel, Durkheim, and Mead. The authors provide an in-depth examination of these early sociological theorists with biographical background, analysis of key works, major influences, and critical insights. They answer the question, "What do these ideas tell us about the basic forces that shape the social world?" Posing this question for each theorist adds a unique perspective to the text and distinguishes it from other sociological theory books. In addition, it also includes material on the enduring models and principles of the theorists' work that continue to inform sociological theory today.

1 The Rise of Theoretical Sociology
The Enlightenment and New Ways of Thinking

Early Sociological Theory, 1830-1930

The First Masters


2 The Origin and Context of Auguste Comte’s Sociology
The Strange Biography of Auguste Comte

The Intellectual Origins of Comte’s Thought


3 The Sociology of Auguste Comte
Comte’s Early Essays

Comte’s Course of Positive Philosophy

Critical Conclusions

4 The Origin and Context of Herbert Spencer’s Thought
Biographical Influences on Spencerian Sociology

The Political Economy of ­Nineteenth-Century England

The Scientific Milieu of Spencer’s England

Spencer’s Synthetic Philosophy and the Sociology of Comte

Why Read Spencer?

5 The Sociology of Herbert Spencer
Spencer’s Moral Philosophy: Social Statics and Principles of Ethics

Spencer’s First Principles

Spencer’s The Study of Sociology

A Note on Spencer’s Descriptive Sociology

Spencer’s Principles of Sociology

The Analysis of Societal Institutions

Critical Conclusions

6 The Origin and Context of Karl Marx’s Thought
Biographical Influences on Marx’s Thought

G. W. F. Hegel and Karl Marx

Ludwig Feuerbach and Karl Marx

Adam Smith and Karl Marx

Friedrich Engels and Karl Marx

7 The Sociology of Karl Marx
The German Ideology

The Communist Manifesto


Critical Conclusions

8 The Origin and Context of Max Weber’s Thought
Biographical Influences on Weber’s Thought

The Early Years

Karl Marx and Max Weber

The Methodenstreit and Max Weber

Wilhelm Dilthey and Max Weber

Heinrich Rickert and Max Weber

Weber’s Theoretical Synthesis

9 The Sociology of Max Weber
Weber’s Methodology of the Social Sciences

Weber’s Image of Social Organization

Weber’s Analysis of Domination

Weber on Capitalism and Rationalization

Weber’s Study of Religion

Weber’s Outline of the Social System

Critical Conclusions

10 The Origin and Context of Georg Simmel’s Thought
Biographical Influences on Simmel’s Thought

Intellectual Influences on Simmel’s Thought

The Enigmatic Simmel

11 The Sociology of Georg Simmel
Simmel’s Methodological Approach to the Study of Society

The Web of Group Affiliations


The Philosophy of Money

Critical Conclusions

12 The Origin and Context of Émile Durkheim’s Thought
Biographical Influences on Durkheim’s Thought

Charles Montesquieu and Durkheim

Jean Jacques Rousseau and Durkheim

Auguste Comte and Durkheim

Alexis de Tocqueville and Durkheim

Herbert Spencer and Durkheim

Karl Marx and Durkheim

Anticipating Durkheimian Sociology

13 The Sociology of Émile Durkheim
The Division of Labor in Society

The Rules of the Sociological Method


The Elementary Forms of the Religious Life

A Science of “Morality”

Critical Conclusions

14 The Origin and Context of George Herbert Mead’s Thought
Biographical Influences on Mead’s Thought

Mead’s Synthesis of Schools of Thought

Wilhelm Wundt and Mead

William James and Mead

Charles Horton Cooley and Mead

John Dewey and Mead
Mead’s Synthesis

15 The Sociology of George Herbert Mead
Mead’s Broader Philosophy

Mind, Self, and Society

The Philosophy of the Act

Critical Conclusions

16 The Emergence of Contemporary Theoretical Perspective
Nine Theoretical Traditions and Perspectives



I did not receive this book

Mr Michael Donaldson
Care Humatities and sport, North Glasgow Collge
August 15, 2019

It's a Ph.D. course and the book is for undergraduated courses.

Dr Jacques-Bernard Gauthier
Administration, Université du Québec en Outaouais
November 14, 2013

Well-written. Ideas clearly communicated. Seemed accessible to students, even if they have little or no background in theory.

Dr Sharon Placide
The Honors College, Florida International University - Miami
January 10, 2013

Insightful, covered from old essential thinker and its contribution to enrich social sciences that cross to humanities studies to the current theorist and approach on learning. The sense of this book was delectation so it can discover theoretical grave to be light and meaningful.

Dr Abdullah Sumrahadi
COLGIS, Northern University of Malaysia (UUM)
November 1, 2012
Key features

Now published by SAGE, this impactful text is newly available in its Seventh Edition, printed in paperback format and at an affordable price!

Key Features & Benefits

  • Provides a comprehensive, in-depth examination of the early sociological theorists, including biographical background and an analysis of each theorist's key works
  • Portrays the historical context, Renaissance Europe to the Industrial Age, providing insight into how and why sociological theory emerged when it did
  • Covers all major developments in sociological theory from the Enlightenment to George Herbert Mead
  • Includes diagrams throughout the text to illustrate the connections and flow of the central elements of each theorist's contribution
  • Designed with a modular construction to allow flexibility in teaching, allowing professors to pick and choose any of the following areas of emphasis for their course: historical context of a theorist's ideas; the major works of each theorist; or the enduring models and principles that can be extracted from a theorists' work

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