In this provocative analysis of the central issues and developments in modern social theory, Dr Strasser contends that enquiry into the function, tasks and mission of sociology as a discipline can be understood only in relation to the subject's historical development. He believes that a discussion of the origin and intention of sociology, particularly in relation to the established social order, enables us to grasp fully the nature of sociological theory, both past and present. He maintains that a sociologist's own position in society, and consequently his views on its development and his way of expressing those views, will affect the theoretical position he takes up.
1. Guiding Interests of Cognition and Vocabularies of Social Explanation Part 1. The Origins of Sociology: Its Intellectual and Social Matrix 2. Setting the Sociological Stage 3. The Case of the Scottish Enlightenment 4. French Social Criticism 5. The German Alternative Part 2. The Rise of Modern Sociological Theory 6. The Functional Approach: The Problem of Integration 7. The Conflict Theory of Society: A Theoretical Antithesis