In Defence of SociologyEssays, Interpretations and Rejoinders
In Defence of Sociology
Essays, Interpretations and Rejoinders
Is there a future for sociology? To many, sociology seems to have lost its way. Born of the ideas of Auguste Comte in the nineteenth century, sociology established itself as 'the science of modernity', linked to a progressive view of history. Yet today the idea of progress has more or less collapsed; with its demise, some say, sociological thought has moved to the margins of contemporary intellectual culture.

In this book the author challenges such an interpretation, showing that sociology continues to hold a central position within the social sciences. Looking both to the past of sociology and the diversity of intellectual trends found in the present-day, Giddens explores many aspects of the sociological heritage. Comte, Durkheim, Parsons, Marshall, and Habermas are among the figures covered. Giddens also connects sociological work directly to current political issues and places the discipline of sociology in the context of broad questions of social and political theory.

This book will be of interest to undergraduates and professionals in the fields of sociology, anthropology and political science.
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  • December 1996
  • 296 pages
  • 155 x 229 mm / 6 x 9 in
Available Formats
  • Paperback $29.95
  • 9780745617626
  • Open eBook $29.95
  • 9780745666587
Table of Contents

1. In Defence of Sociology.

2. Living in a Post-Traditional Society.

3. What is Social Science?.

4. Functionalism: Aprés la Lutte.

5. 'Britishness' and the Social Sciences.

6. The Future of Anthropology.

7. Four Myths in the History of Social Thought.

8. Auguste Comte and Positivism.

9. The Suicide Problem in French Sociology.

10. Reason Without Revolution?: Habermas's Theory of Communicative Action. .

11. Literature and Society: Raymond Williams.

12. T. H. Marshall, the State and Democracy.

13. Brave New World: The New Context of Politics.

14. The Labour Party and British Politics.



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"Excellently understandable." The Times Higher Education Supplement

"It is difficult to imagine social-scientific thought and practice in Britain and much of Continental Europe without the distinctive contribution of Anthony Giddens ... In Defence of Sociology ... is a powerful restatement of the ways in which Giddens believes sociology should address the contemporary world. It brings under one cover Giddens's most recent studies and reassessments of some older ones." The Times Literary Supplement

"[A] timely defence of the discipline. In Defence of Sociology is reflective sociological theorising at its finest. It is a work that connects sociology to current social and political issues with theoretical lucidity and rigour." The Australian

"Erudition and enormous breadth of analysis ... delivered in accessible and enjoyable writing style." Thesis Eleven

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