Main Currents in Sociological Thought : 2 Volume Set book cover
1st Edition

Main Currents in Sociological Thought
2 Volume Set

ISBN 9780367000585
Published November 5, 2018 by Routledge
744 Pages

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Book Description

Raymond Aron's classic two-volume study of the sociological tradition is arguably the definitive work of its kind. More than a work of reconstruction, Aron's study is, at its deepest level, an engagement with the question of modernity: What constitutes the essence of the modern order that, having emerged in the eighteenth century, still shapes our experience? With scrupulous fairness, Aron examines the thought and arguments of the major social thinkers in this two volume set.

Volume one explores three traditions: the French liberal school of political sociology, represented by Montesquieu and Tocqueville; the Comtean tradition, anticipating Durkheim in its its elevation of social unity and consensus; and the Marxists, who posited the struggle between classes and placed their faith in historical necessity. Volume two explores the work of three figures who profoundly shaped sociology as it entered the twentieth century: Emile Durkheim, who continued Auguste Comte's quest for a science of society and a scientific validation of morality; Vilfredo Pareto, the Italian "neo-Machiavellian" who emphasized the oligarchic or elitist character of all societies; and the German sociologist Max Weber, who reflected critically on the prospects for human freedom in an age marked by bureaucratization and rationalization.

Both volumes of Main Currents of Sociological Thought are essential reading for any student of sociology, political thought and political philosophy, as well as any general reader interested in the ideas the thinkers who shaped modern social and political thought.

Table of Contents

Volume One:

Foreword to the Routledge Classics edition

Introduction to the Routledge Classics edition

  1. Introduction
  2. Montesquieu
  3. Auguste Comte
  4. Karl Marx
  5. Alexis de Tocqueville
  6. The Sociologists and the Revolution of 1848





Volume Two:

Introduction to the Routledge Classics edition

1. Introduction

2. Preface

3. Introduction

4. Emile Durkheim

5. Vilfredo Pareto

6. Max Weber







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Raymond Aron was the foremost political and social theorist of post-World War Two France. Born in Paris in 1905 he studied at the Ecole Normale Superieur, where he met Jean-Paul Sartre, later to become a life-long friend and intellectual sparring partner. After the war he taught at the Sorbonne from 1955-1968, also maintaining a long commitment to journalism, first in Le Figaro then in L’Express. He was one of a handful of scholars to have two books appear on the Times Literary Supplement‘s 100 Most Influential Books since World War II: The Opium of the Intellectuals (1955) and Memoirs (1983). He wrote many books, some of the best known being Main Currents of Sociological Thoughts (1967); Clausewitz: Philosopher of War (1976) and The Imperial Republic: The United States and the World 1945-1973 (1974). He died in Paris in 1983.