On theoretical sociology five essays old and new

Auguste Comte Auguste Comte — first described the epistemological perspective of positivism in The Course in Positive Philosophya series of texts published between and

On theoretical sociology five essays old and new

Everything of importance has been said before by somebody who did not discover it. The distinction between the two is more than casual.

Yet the two are often mingled in academic curricula and publications. Indeed, the social sciences in general, with the growing exception of psychology and economics, tend to merge current theory with its history to a far greater degree than do such sciences as biology, chemistry, or physics.

For Auguste Comte, often described as the father of sociology, has also been described as the father of the history 1. This discussion draws upon an earlier paper discussing "the position of sociological theory," American Sociological Review,13, For apposite observations on the role of the history of social thought as distinct from that of currently sociological theory, see Howard Becker, "Vitalizing sociological theory," ibid.

Houghton Mifflin Company,ix-xii, and William R.

On theoretical sociology five essays old and new

A somewhat different view of the nature and functions of social theory will be found in Theodore Abel, T h e present status of social theory," American Sociological Beview,17, as well as in the discussion of this paper by Kenneth E. Bock and Stephen W. Heed, ; and in Herbert Blumer, "What is wrong with social theory?

V] [2] of science. Suitable recognition of the difference between the history and systematics of history might result in the writing of authentic histories. These would have the ingredients and formal characteristics of the better histories of other sciences.

They would take up such matters as the complex filiation of sociological ideas, the ways in which they developed, the connections of theory with the changing social origins and subsequent social statuses of its exponents, the interaction of theory with the changing social organization of sociology, the diffusion of theory from centers of sociological thought and its modification in the course of diffusion, and die ways in which it was influenced by changes in the environing culture and social structure.

The distinction put into practice would, in short, make for a sociological history of sociological theory. Yet sociologists retain a most parochial, almost Pickwickian conception of the history of sociological theory as a collection of critical summaries of past theories spiced with short biographies of major theorists.

This helps to explain why almost all sociologists see themselves as qualified to teach and to write the "history" of sociological theory—after all, they are acquainted with the classical writings of an earlier day.

But this conception of the history of theory is in fact neither history nor systematics, but a poorly thought-out hybrid. In fact, this conception is an anomaly in contemporary intellectual work, and it signals a developing reversal of roles between sociologists and historians.

For sociologists retain their narrow and shallow conception of the history of ideas at the very time that a new breed of special2.

Harvard University Press, The nomination of Comte or Marx or St. Simon or many others for the status of the father of sociology is partly a matter of opinion and partly the result of an unexamined assumption about how new disciplines emerge and crystallize. It remains an opinion because there are no generally acknowledged criteria for having fathered a science; the unexamined assumption is that there is typically one father for each science, after the biological metaphor.

In fact the history of science suggests that polygenesis is the rule. However, there is little doubt that Comte in coined the term "sociology," the horrible hybrid that has ever since designated the science of society.

Scholars then and today have protested the now domesticated barbarism.- On Theoretical Sociology. Five Essays, Old and New. Functionalism. Comparative method refers to the study of different types of groups and - On Theoretical Sociology.

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Functionalism. Uploaded by. rodolfoarruda.1/5(1). - On Theoretical Sociology. Five Essays, Old and New - Ebook download as PDF File .pdf), Text File .txt) or read book online. The life course perspective is a theoretical model that has been developing over the last 40 years across several disciplines.

It is intende. Origin* of American Sociology (New York: T." the horrible hybrid that has ever since designated the science of society. "On the origin and use of the word sociology.

formed partly of an English and partly of a Greek word. that it is unintelligible to a foreigner unacquainted with our language.

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[Robert King Merton]. Origin* of American Sociology (New York: T. ). they are acquainted with the classical writings of an earlier day. almost Pickwickian conception of the history of sociological theory as a collection of critical summaries of past theories spiced with short biographies of major theorists.

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