Essays in the Theory of Society  book cover
1st Edition

Essays in the Theory of Society

  • Available for pre-order. Item will ship after January 3, 2022
ISBN 9781032196688
January 3, 2022 Forthcoming by Routledge
316 Pages

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Book Description

Originally published in 1968, these ten essays by one of Europe’s leading sociological theorists deal with important issues on the borderline between sociology and social philosophy and demonstrate the author’s deep insight into history and political analysis. The author maintains that the structures of power in which the political process takes place not only originate change and give it direction, but also produce the fertile conflicts that give expression to the fundamental uncertainty of human existence. Through an examination of various concepts inherent in this dynamic process – power, resistance, conflict, change, freedom, uncertainty – a coherent theory of society emerges.

Table of Contents

  1. Values and Social Science
  2. The Value Dispute in Perspective

  3. Homo Sociologicus
  4. On the History, Significance and Limits of the Category of Social Role

  5. Sociology and Human Nature
  6. A Postscript to Homo Sociologicus

  7. Out of Utopia
  8. Toward A Reorientation of Sociological Analysis

  9. In Praise of Thrasymachus
  10. On the Origin of Inequality Among Men
  11. Liberty and Equality
  12. Reflections of a Sociologists on a Classical Theme of Politics

  13. Market and Plan
  14. Two Types of Rationality

  15. Uncertainty, Science and Democracy
  16. Sociology and the Sociologist

On the Problem of Theory and Practice

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Ralf Dahrendorf was a German-British sociologist, philosopher, political scientist and liberal politician. He was director of the LSE and Research Professor at the Berlin Social Science Research Center.


‘Provocative, informative, lucid, pleasurable – one could go on multiplying complimentary adjectives about these essays. They show sociology to be a discipline in which the literate and human values still flourish.’ Alasdair Macintyre, The Guardian.