Positivism and Sociology (RLE Social Theory)

Explaining Social Life

Author: Peter Halfpenny

Publisher: Routledge

ISBN: 1317651391

Category: Social Science

Page: 138

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Any serious attempt to explain social life has to come to terms with sociology's positivist legacy. It is a heritage on the one hand from the seventeenth-century political arithmeticians and the later moral statisticians who believed that quantification would provide the basis for a dispassionate analysis of social affairs; and on the other hand from the nineteenth-century post-Enlightenment social philosophers who were eager to develop an empirical science of society that would enable them to control social conduct – just as the physical sciences had provided the knowledge to tame nature. Yet every debate about the relation between positivism and sociology is clouded by the diversity of uses of the term 'positivism' – uses that are so varied that some can pronounce positivism dead while others find it still the vital force that dominates sociology. The particular merit of Peter Halfpenny's book is that it makes this diversity of uses its central theme. In order to provide a clear basis from which to assess controversial questions about the contribution of the positivist traditions to sociology, the book reviews twelve different important uses of the term 'positivism' that have emerged at different times since the mid-nineteenth century, when Auguste Comte coined both 'positivism' and 'sociology'. This review is conducted by examining the historical development of the two independent roots of modern sociological positivism – positivist philosophy and statistics – and by analysing logical positivist philosophy, which in many ways defined the course of twentieth century philosophy of the social (as well as the natural) sciences.

Positivism and Imagination

Scientism and Its Limits in Emile Hennequin, Wilhelm Scherer, and Dmitrii Pisarev

Author: Catherine LeGouis

Publisher: Bucknell University Press

ISBN: 9780838753231

Category: Philosophy

Page: 269

View: 2509

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"In this book, Catherine LeGouis examines the work of three nineteenth-century positivist critics, each of whom struggled to overcome the contradictions of attempting to separate esthetic, psychological, and sociological concerns from individual subjectivity." "These positivists - staunch believers in the authority of scientific reason inspired by Auguste Comte, J. S. Mill, and Hippolyte Taine - attempted to turn literary criticism into an exact science that would observe and explain not only the social context of literature, but also its esthetics, without recourse to subjectivity based on individual reactions." "The writings of Emile Hennequin, a French journalist, editor, and literary critic of the 1880s, exemplify the tensions between the positivists' drive to systematic literary criticism and the unfettered imagination inherent in literature." "Dmitrii Pisarev, a firebrand Russian literary critic of the 1860s and a younger colleague of the great Russian radicals Nikolai Chernyshevsky and Nikolai Dobroliubov, combines rigid positivism and a rejection of esthetics with great critical sensitivity and spectacular displays of imaginative literary skill." "From the mid-1860s to the mid-1880s, German philologist and critic Wilhelm Scherer, more doctrinaire than Hennequin or Pisarev, links linguistic development and national character." "The positivists proposed theoretical frameworks so rigid that they were impossibly impractical, which guaranteed that only with infusions of imagination could their systems attain any credibility. Their fascination with the impossibility of impersonal, absolute literary judgements paradoxically became their first surrender to subjective taste, for choosing a system, even one based on objectivity, is an exercise in subjectivity. Entranced by their self-defeating objective, the positivists failed to appreciate that subjectivity and imagination are not illusions to be expunged, but a valuable - and fundamental - part of reality."--BOOK JACKET.Title Summary field provided by Blackwell North America, Inc. All Rights Reserved

Positivism, Presupposition and Current Controversies (Theoretical Logic in Sociology)

Author: Jeffrey C. Alexander

Publisher: Routledge

ISBN: 1317808827

Category: Social Science

Page: 234

View: 2594

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This volume begins by challenging the bases of the recent scientization of sociology. Then it challenges some of the ambitious claims of recent theoretical debate. The author not only reinterprets the most important classical and modern sociological theories but extracts from the debates the elements of a more satisfactory, inclusive approach to these general theoretical points.

Auguste Comte and Positivism

The Essential Writings

Author: Gunter Bischof

Publisher: Routledge

ISBN: 1351315269

Category: Philosophy

Page: 530

View: 9049

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Although Auguste Comte is conventionally acknowledged as one of the founders of sociology and as a key representative of positivism, few new editions of his writings have been published in the English language in this century. He has become virtually dissociated from the history of modern positivism and the most recent debates about it. Gertrud Lenzer maintains that the work of Comte is, for better or for worse, essential to an understanding of the modern period of positivism. This collection provides new access to the work of Comte and gives practitioners of various disciplines the possibility of reassessing concepts that were first introduced in Comte's writings. Today much of the ordinary business of academic disciplines is conducted under the assumption that the realm of science is essentially separate from the realms of politics and science. A close reading of Comte will reveal how deeply such current ideas and theories were originally embedded in a particular political context. One of his central methodological principles was that the theory of society had to be removed from the arena of political practice precisely in order to control that practice by means of these same sciences. It is in Comte's work that the reader will be able to observe how the forces of social and political reaction began to be powerfully organized to combat the critical forces in its own and later eras. Auguste Comte and Positivism will be of importance to the work of philosophers, sociologists, political theorists, and historians.

Sociology and Organization Theory

Positivism, Paradigms and Postmodernity

Author: John Hassard

Publisher: Cambridge University Press

ISBN: 9780521484589

Category: Business & Economics

Page: 167

View: 7308

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It has been claimed that organization theory is in a state of crisis. This book traces the history of the orthodox systems theory paradigm in organization studies from its foundations to its recent deconstruction by postmodernists. The analysis offers general support for the "sociology-in-crisis" thesis, but takes issue with one of its main propositions, that paradigms are incommensurable. It is argued that paradigms are porous rather than hermetic phenomena, a fact that has profound implications for the theory building process.

Sociology in Perspective

Author: Mark Kirby

Publisher: Heinemann

ISBN: 9780435331603

Category: Sociology

Page: 831

View: 8987

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This text, specifically for AQA specifications, is designed to be easy and encouraging for students to use. The book contains updated material and activities together with a new chapter on study skills. It also indicates clearly where activities meet the new evidence requirements for key skills.

The Politics of Method in the Human Sciences

Positivism and Its Epistemological Others

Author: George Steinmetz

Publisher: Duke University Press

ISBN: 0822386887

Category: Social Science

Page: 633

View: 7734

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The Politics of Method in the Human Sciences provides a remarkable comparative assessment of the variations of positivism and alternative epistemologies in the contemporary human sciences. Often declared obsolete, positivism is alive and well in a number of the fields; in others, its influence is significantly diminished. The essays in this collection investigate its mutations in form and degree across the social science disciplines. Looking at methodological assumptions field by field, individual essays address anthropology, area studies, economics, history, the philosophy of science, political science and political theory, and sociology. Essayists trace disciplinary developments through the long twentieth century, focusing on the decades since World War II. Contributors explore and contrast some of the major alternatives to positivist epistemologies, including Marxism, psychoanalysis, poststructuralism, narrative theory, and actor-network theory. Almost all the essays are written by well-known practitioners of the fields discussed. Some essayists approach positivism and anti-positivism via close readings of texts influential in their respective disciplines. Some engage in ethnographies of the present-day human sciences; others are more historical in method. All of them critique contemporary social scientific practice. Together, they trace a trajectory of thought and method running from the past through the present and pointing toward possible futures. Contributors. Andrew Abbott, Daniel Breslau, Michael Burawoy, Andrew Collier , Michael Dutton, Geoff Eley, Anthony Elliott, Stephen Engelmann, Sandra Harding, Emily Hauptmann, Webb Keane, Tony Lawson, Sophia Mihic, Philip Mirowski, Timothy Mitchell, William H. Sewell Jr., Margaret R. Somers, George Steinmetz, Elizabeth Wingrove

Antisemitism and the Constitution of Sociology

Author: Marcel Stoetzler

Publisher: U of Nebraska Press

ISBN: 0803266715

Category: Social Science

Page: 384

View: 2767

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Modern antisemitism and the modern discipline of sociology not only emerged in the same period, butOCoantagonism and hostility between the two discourses notwithstandingOCoalso overlapped and complemented each other. Sociology emerged in a society where modernization was often perceived as destroying unity and OC social cohesion.OCO Antisemitism was likewise a response to the modern age, offering in its vilifications of OC the JewOCO an explanation of societyOCOs deficiencies and crises. a"Antisemitism and the Constitution of Sociology" is a collection of essays providing a comparative analysis of modern antisemitism and the rise of sociology. This volume addresses three key areas: the strong influence of writers of Jewish background and the rising tide of antisemitism on the formation of sociology; the role of antisemitism in the historical development of sociology through its treatment by leading figures in the field, such as Emile Durkheim, Talcott Parsons, and Theodor W. Adorno; and the disciplineOCOs development in the aftermath of the Nazi Holocaust. Together the essays provide a fresh perspective on the history of sociology and the role that antisemitism, Jews, fascism, and the Holocaust played in shaping modern social theory. a"

Sociology, Work and Industry

Author: Tony J. Watson

Publisher: Psychology Press

ISBN: 9780415321655

Category: Business & Economics

Page: 310

View: 8930

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In this new edition, Tony Watson explains how the discipline of sociology can contribute to our wider understanding of the variety of work practices and institutions which exist in modern societies.

Auguste Comte: Volume 1

An Intellectual Biography

Author: Mary Pickering

Publisher: Cambridge University Press

ISBN: 9780521025744

Category: Biography & Autobiography

Page: 792

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This book constitutes the first volume of a two-volume intellectual biography of Auguste Comte, the founder of modern sociology and a philosophical movement called positivism. Volume One offers a reinterpretation of Comte's 'first career' (1798–1842), when he completed the scientific foundation of his philosophy. It describes the interplay between Comte's ideas and the historical context of post-revolutionary France, his struggles with poverty and mental illness, and his volatile relationships with friends, family and colleagues, including such famous contemporaries as Saint-Simon, the Saint-Simonians, Guizot and John Stuart Mill. Pickering shows that the man who called for a new social philosophy based on the sciences was not only ill at ease in the most basic human relationships, but also profoundly questioned the ability of the purely scientific spirit to regenerate the political and social world.

Criminological Theory

An Analysis of Its Underlying Assumptions

Author: Werner J. Einstadter,Stuart Henry

Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield

ISBN: 9780742542914

Category: Social Science

Page: 427

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Designed for upper-level senior and graduate criminological theory courses, this text thoroughly examines the ideas and assumptions underlying each major theoretical perspective in criminology. It lays bare theorists' ideas about human nature, social structure, social order, concepts of law, crime and criminals, the logic of crime causation and the policies and criminal justice practices that follow from these premises. The book provides students with a clear critical, analytic overview of criminological theory that enable enformed evaluative comparisons among different theorists.

Key Concepts in Sociology

Author: Peter Braham

Publisher: SAGE

ISBN: 1849203040

Category: Social Science

Page: 224

View: 7895

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This is a compact, yet comprehensive, title that clarifies and explains the main concepts within sociology. It is useful both for new students and for students who wants to refresh their memory and come up with new ideas for essay topics.

Handbook of Social Theory

Author: George Ritzer,Barry Smart

Publisher: SAGE

ISBN: 1847876730

Category: Social Science

Page: 552

View: 4486

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This book is an indispensable resource for anyone interested in the roots, current debates and future development of social theory. It draws together a team of outstanding international scholars and presents an authoritative and panoramic critical survey of the field. The volume is divided into three parts. The first part examines the classical tradition. Included here are critical discussions of Comte, Spencer, Marx, Durkheim, Weber, Simmel, Mead, Freud, Mannheim and classical feminist thought. This part conveys the classical tradition as a living resource in social theory, it demonstrates not only the critical significance of classical writings, but their continuing relevance. The second part moves on to examine the terrain of contemporary social theory. The contributions discuss the significance and strengths and weaknesses of structural functionalism, recent Marxian theory, critical theory, symbolic interactionism, phenomenology, ethnomethodology, exchange theory, rational choice, contemporary feminism, multiculturalism, postmodernism, the thought of Foucault and Habermas, and figurational sociology. The reader gains a comprehensive and informed picture of the key issues and central figures of the day. The final part ranges over the key debates in current social theory. Questions relating to positivism, metatheorizing, cultural studies, consumption, sexualities, the body, globalism, nationalism, socialism, knowledge societies, ethics and morality, as well as post-social relations are fully discussed. The dilemmas and promise of contemporary social theory are revealed with pinpoint accuracy.

Structure, Consciousness, and History

Author: Richard Harvey Brown,Stanford M. Lyman

Publisher: CUP Archive

ISBN: 9780521293402

Category: Social Science

Page: 284

View: 1029

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These essays adopt the approach of 'symbolic realism' or 'cognitive aesthetics' to overcome the crisis of dualism in conventional sociological theory. This strategy of symbolic realism is a philosophical amalgam forged from findings in existential phenomenology, ordinary language philosophy and pragmatism. The synthesis emergent from these essays suggests a paradigm with broad implications for all the human studies.