First published in 1975, this collection of essays embodies a conception of sociological thought as a critical analysis of social theories and doctrines, of social institutions and political regimes, of recent social movements. They deal, in particular, with some conservative versions of sociology and with attempts to develop more radical theories; they extend the author's previous writings on classes, elites and politics; and they analyse some of the problems of socialism in the late twentieth century.
There is a close unity of theme througout the book in its critical attempt to formulate new intellectual bases for future radical and egalitarian politics. It is written with that quiet wisdom and impressive command of sources which readers have come to associate with Professor Bottomore's work.
Part I: Social Theories 1. Conservative Man 2. Out of this World: The Sociogical Theory of Talcott Parsons 3. The Crisis in Sociology 4. Capitalism, Socialism and Development 5. Karl Marx: Sociologist or Marxist Part II: Classes and Elites 6. In Search of a Proletariat 7. Class Structure and Social Consciousness 8. Class and Politics in Western Europe 9. The Administrative Elite 10. Cohesion and Division in Indian Elites Part III: Social Movements and Political Action 11. Conflict and Social Change 12. The Political Context of Technology 13. Reflections on the Student Movement 14. The Prospect for Radicalism