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Classical Sociological Theory

Classical Sociological Theory

Seventh Edition
Additional resources:

Other Titles in:
Social Theory

March 2017 | 592 pages | SAGE Publications, Inc

Now with SAGE Publishing, and co-authored by one of the foremost authorities on sociological theory, Classical Sociological Theory, Seventh Edition, provides a comprehensive overview of the major theorists and schools of sociological thought from the Enlightenment roots of theory through the early 20th century. The integration of key theories with biographical sketches of theorists and the requisite historical and intellectual context helps students to better understand the original works of classical authors as well as to compare and contrast classical theories.


1. A Historical Sketch of Sociological Theory: The Early Years

Social Forces in the Development of Sociological Theory

Intellectual Forces and the Rise of Sociological Theory

The Development of French Sociology

The Development of German Sociology

The Origins of British Sociology

The Key Figure in Early Italian Sociology

Turn-of-the-Century Developments in European Marxism

The Contemporary Relevance of Classical Sociological Theory

2. A Historical Sketch of Sociological Theory: The Later Years
Early American Sociological Theory

Sociological Theory to Midcentury

Sociological Theory from Midcentury

Late Twentieth-Century Developments in Sociological Theory

Theories of Modernity and Postmodernity

Social Theory in the Twenty-First Century

3. Alexis de Tocqueville
Comparative Study

American Politics

The Sociology in Tocqueville’s Work

The Key Sociological Problem(s)

Freedom, Democracy, and Socialism


Contemporary Applications

4. Auguste Comte
Comte’s Profound Ambitions

Comte’s Sociology

Theory and Practice

Criticisms and Contributions

5. Herbert Spencer
Spencer and Comte

General Theoretical Principles

The Evolution of Society

Ethics and Politics

Criticisms and Contemporary Applications

6. Karl Marx

The Dialectic

Dialectical Method

Human Potential


The Structures of Capitalist Society

Materialist Conception of History

Cultural Aspects of Capitalist Society

Marx’s Economics: A Case Study



Contemporary Applications

7. Emile Durkheim

Social Facts

The Division of Labor in Society


The Elementary Forms of Religious Life

Moral Education and Social Reform


Contemporary Applications

8. Max Weber

Substantive Sociology


Contemporary Applications

9. Georg Simmel
Primary Concerns

Individual Consciousness and Individuality

Social Interaction (“Association”)

Social Structures and Worlds

Objective Culture

The Philosophy of Money

Secrecy: A Case Study in Simmel’s Sociology


Contemporary Applications

10. Early Women Sociologists and Classical Sociological Theory: 1830-1930
Harriet Martineau (1802–1876)

Charlotte Perkins Gilman (1860–1935)

Jane Addams (1860–1935) and the Chicago Women’s School

Anna Julia Cooper (1858–1964) and Ida Wells-Barnett (1862–1931)

Marianne Schnitger Weber (1870–1954)

Beatrice Potter Webb (1858–1943)

11. W. E. B. Du Bois
Intellectual Influences

Studying Race Scientifically: The Philadelphia Negro

Theoretical Contributions


Karl Marx, Socialism, and Communism

Contemporary Applications

12. Thorstein Veblen
Intellectual Influences

Basic Premises

Substantive Issues

Criticisms and Contemporary Applications

13. Joseph Schumpeter
Creative Destruction

Schumpeter’s Broader Economic Theory

Toward a More Dynamic Theory of the Economy

Schumpeter’s Sociology

The Future

Contemporary Applications

14. Karl Mannheim
The Sociology of Knowledge

Ideology and Utopia

Rationality and the Irrationality of the Times

Criticisms and Contemporary Applications

15. George Herbert Mead
Intellectual Roots

The Priority of the Social

The Act

Mental Processes and the Mind



Criticisms and Contemporary Applications

16. Alfred Schutz
The Ideas of Edmund Husserl

Science and the Social World

Typifications and Recipes

The Life-World


Realms of the Social World

Consciousness, Meanings, and Motives

Criticisms and Contemporary Applications

17. Talcott Parsons
Parsons’s Integrative Efforts

General Principles

The Action System

Change and Dynamism in Parsonsian Theory

Criticisms and Contemporary Applications



Instructor Site

Password-protected Instructor Resources include the following:

    • A Microsoft® Word test bank, is available containing multiple choice, true/false, and essay questions for each chapter. The test bank provides you with a diverse range of pre-written options as well as the opportunity for editing any question and/or inserting your own personalized questions to effectively assess students’ progress and understanding.
    • Lecture notes summarize key concepts on a chapter-by-chapter basis to help with preparation for lectures and class discussions.

It offered more detail for theorists that were not included in the other book.

Professor Robert Anthony
Sociology/Geography Dept, Shepherd University
October 17, 2018

Sample Materials & Chapters

Chapter 1

Chapter 5

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