This book is intended to introduce students to the classical social theory of Karl Marx, Emile Durkheim, Max Weber, and T. Robert Malthus, as well as the modern expressions of these perspectives. It does this through two mechanisms. First, it provides an overview and critique of the four major classical traditions in sociology. Rather than discussing these theories as history, the book will focus upon elements of the perspectives that have proved useful in understanding sociocultural systems. Then, the book will provide an overview and critique of the perspective and analysis of three contemporary social scientists writing within each of these traditions. For contemporary followers of Marx the theories of Immanuel Wallerstein, Harry Braverman, and John Bellamy Foster will be examined. Representing the Durkheimian worldview will be Stjepan Mestrovic, Robert K. Merton, Robert A. Nisbet, and Neil Postman. Modern day Weberians are represented by C. Wright Mills, Norbert Elias, and George Ritzer. Finally, as modern representatives of Malthusian/Spencerian theory, the book will examine the theories of Ester Boserup, Gerhard Lenski, and Stephen K. Sanderson. F. The overarching goal of the book is to provide students with an in-depth understanding of each of the macro-sociological traditions and their usefulness in understanding contemporary societies. Through study of contemporary social scientists such as Lenski, Braverman, Mestrovic, and Elias students will truly come to appreciate the usefulness of classical social theory in understanding the modern world. The concluding chapter demonstrates how the various perspectives can be integrated into a single comprehensive worldview.
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About the Author
Dr. Frank W. Elwell received a Ph.D. in sociology from the University at Albany, Masters degrees from the University at Albany (sociology) and the State University of New York at New Paltz (political science/education), and a bachelor's degree from Eastern Michigan University (history/ education). He is the author of the several books on macro sociology, cultural ecology, and social theory.