Publisher description for Politics, sociology and social theory : encounters with classical and contemporary social thought / Anthony Giddens.


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Counter This book consists of a series of critical engagements with major figures in classical and present-day social and political thought. It offers not only a challenging critique of major traditions of social and political analysis but also unique insights into the ideas that Anthony Giddens has developed over the past two decades. In selecting the ten essays for this volume, Giddens has attempted to strike a balance between classical and contemporary theorists. Two essays discuss politics and sociology in the thought of Weber, notably his views on the development of capitalism. Two essays analyse Durkheim's political sociology and his interpretation of individualism and solidarity in modern societies. An essay on Comte and the origins of positivism provides a useful link between the nineteenth century and current preoccupations. The last four essays deal with such figures as Parsons (the concept of power), Marcuse (One-Dimensional Man), Garfinkel (ethnomethodology and hermeneutics), Habermas (labor and interaction), and Foucault (the new French conservatism), with a backward glance at Nietzsche and Marx. In sum, the volume serves as a comprehensive introduction to some of the main debates in the social sciences and politics today. A number of themes associated with Giddens's thought run through each of the essays: the methodological reconstruction of social investigation, the reinterpretation of modernity, and the reformulation of a critical theory of politics.

Library of Congress subject headings for this publication: Sociology Philosophy, Social sciences Philosophy