Social Theory: A Historical Introduction

Social Theory: A Historical Introduction

by Alex Callincos


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Social Theory: A Historical Introduction by Alex Callincos, Michelle Jacobs

The second edition of this remarkably lucid text provides a wide-ranging historical introduction to social theory. The new edition preserves, and further enhances, the book's striking qualities - its clarity, reliability, comprehensiveness and scholarship. The theorists treated include Montesquieu, Adam Smith and the Scottish Enlightenment, Hegel, Marx, Tocqueville, Maistre, Gobineau, Darwin, Spencer, Kautsky, Nietzsche, Durkheim, Weber, Simmel, Freud, Lukacs, Gramsci, Heidegger, Keynes, Hayek, Parsons, the Frankfurt School, Levi-Strauss, Althusser, Foucault, Habermas, Bourdieu, Beck and Giddens.

Callinicos examines the ways in which social theory grew out of the eighteenthcentury Enlightenment, a time when societies emerging in the West ceased to invoke the authority of tradition to validate themselves, instead looking to scientific knowledge to justify their mastery of the world. He traces social theory's connections with central themes in modern philosophy, with the development of political economy, and with the impact of evolutionary biology on social thought.

The book has been carefully updated to ensure that it engages with the most current debates in social theory, and concludes with a substantial new chapter. Here Callinicos assesses the significance of contemporary debates about globalization, including the recent re-emergence of critiques of capitalism and imperialism in the work of Michael Hardt, Toni Negri, Luc Boltanski, Eve Chiapello, David Harvey, Robert Brenner, Giovanni Arrighi and Slavoj Zizek. The updated version of this widely praised text will be essential reading for students of politics, sociology and social and political thought.

About theAuthor:
Alex Callinicos is Professor of European Studies at King's College London

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780814715932
Publisher: New York University Press
Publication date: 09/01/1999
Pages: 218
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x (d)

About the Author

Alex Callinicos is professor of politics at the University of York and author of Making History, Against Postmodernism, The Revenge of History, and Theories and Narratives.

Table of Contents

Preface to the First Edition and Acknowledgements     x
Preface to the Second Edition and Acknowledgements     xi
Note to Readers     xiii
Introduction     1
The Enlightenment     10
Prehistory     10
The concept of modernity     13
A moral science     15
The development of social theory     20
Inner strains     25
Hegel     39
Reconciling modernity     39
The labour of the negative     47
The debate over modernity     54
Liberals and Reactionaries     57
Post-Revolutionary debates     57
Agonistic liberalism: Tocqueville and Mill     67
Providence and race: Maistre and Gobineau     72
Marx     78
The adventures of the dialectic     78
History and capitalism     84
Class struggle and revolution     92
Life and Power     100
Evolution before and after Darwin     100
Two evolutionists: Spencer and Kautsky     108
Nature as the will to power: Nietzsche     115
Durkheim     123
Social evolution and scientific objectivity     123
Society as a moral reality     133
Meaning and belief     139
Weber     146
Prussian agriculture and the German state     146
Science and the warring gods     153
History and rationalization     159
Liberal imperialism and democratic politics     170
The Illusions of Progress     179
The strange death of liberal Europe     179
Objectivity and estrangement: Simmel     182
The self dissected: Freud     187
Memories of underdevelopment: Russian intellectuals and capitalism     193
Revolution and Counter-Revolution     202
Hegelian Marxism: Lukacs and Gramsci     202
Heidegger and the conservative revolution     214
The Golden Age     227
Theories of capitalism: Keynes and Hayek     227
Functionalist sociology: Talcott Parsons     237
Despairing critique: the Frankfurt School     245
Crack-Up?     258
The 1960s and after     258
Structure and subject: Levi-Strauss and Althusser     267
Nietzsche's revenge: Foucault and post-structuralism     276
Carrying on the tradition: Habermas and Bourdieu      284
Debating Modernity and Postmodernity     299
Changing the Subject: Globalization, Capitalism, and Imperialism     323
Much ado about globalization     323
The social as networks ... or as nothing     330
Back to capitalism - and imperialism?     340
The debate resumed     345
Further Reading     353
Index     363

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