Four Sociological Traditions

Four Sociological Traditions

Four Sociological Traditions

Four Sociological Traditions

Synopsis

Organized along the same lines as Three Sociological Traditions, Four Sociological Traditions is Randall Collins' updated guide to the development of modern sociology. Explaining in a brief, readable format the 4 main schools of sociological thought, this book represents a concise intellectual history of the development of sociology. Widely adopted as either a main or supplemental text, Four Sociological Traditions presents clearly the conflict tradition of Marx and Weber, the ritual solidarity tradition of Durkheim, and the microinteractionist tradition of Mead, Blumer, and Garfinkel, and - new in this edition - the rational choice/utilitarian tradition. One of the most lively and exciting writers in sociology, Randall Collins introduces students to the roots of social theory, indicating areas where progress has been made in our understanding, as well as those areas where controversy still exists. Students will find Four Sociological Traditions a fresh, thorough, and thought-provoking examination.

Excerpt

The argument of this book is that sociology has made good progress in its knowledge of the social world. Though it is often claimed that sociology does not cumulate, and that the classic thinkers remain as important, or even more so, than current theorists and researchers, I will attempt to show that there are some significant lines of development from the classics through modern versions of sociology. That does not mean that modern sociology is without some basic cleavages among theoretical positions. The reality of today's intellectual world is that we are deeply divided among opposing points of view. But these disagreements are not infinite in number, and they do not rule out another important fact about our field: that several lines of thought have been acquiring increasingly sophisticated knowledge throughout the last hundred years.

In the first edition of this book, I focused on three great sociological traditions. The first I call the conflict tradition, which in my view derives alike from Karl Marx, Friedrich Engels, and Max Weber. The Marxian and the Weberian traditions are frequently regarded as opponents, but in fact, sociologically speaking, they have a good deal in common. Together, they have developed the theories of capitalism, social stratification, political conflict, and related macro/historical themes in sociology. Especially in recent years, many theorists and researchers in the Marxian and Weberian traditions have borrowed a good deal from each other. If we leave aside the political activism associated with Marxism, as well as the most conservative politics that have sometimes been associated with the Weberians, and concentrate on their purely intellectual contributions, we can see that a sophisticated view of the macrostructure . . .

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