By Robert Bierstedt
American Sociological idea: A serious historical past discusses the background of yank sociological conception by way of delivering a selective and significant account of ten writers principally keen on the topic.
Chapters 1 to ten of this booklet are dedicated to the contributions and investigations of ten acclaimed sociological theorists— William Graham Sumner, Lester Frank Ward, Charles Horton Cooley, Edward Alsworth Ross, Florian Znaniecki, Robert Morrison Maclver, Pitirim A. Sorokin, George A. Lundberg, Talcott Parsons, and Robert ok. Merton. The sociological label, legacy of Spencer, normative taboo, American references, and the ""Holy Trinity"" (Marx, Durkheim, and Weber) also are elaborated during this textual content.
This ebook is an efficient reference for college students and researchers accomplishing paintings on common sociological concept.
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Extra resources for American Sociological Theory. A Critical History
For that matter, not even scientists can free themselves from the presuppositions contained in the mores of their society: "It is vain to imagine that 'a scientific man' can divest himself of prejudice or previous opinion, and put himself in an attitude of neutral independence towards the mores. " 58 Sumner does not seem to notice that his own political and social doctrines are also products of the mores. In discussing the "capricious interest of the masses," for example, he suggests that whether the masses will regard certain things as reasonable and sensible or ridiculous and fantastic depends upon the convictions and feelings that are dominant in the mores.
If we now pay him less than is his due it is because we now take his views for granted. They are part of the stuff and substance—indeed the very vocabulary—of sociology. Someone had to give them first expression and it was Sumner's role to do so. His philosophy was shallow, his "system" nonexistent. But in his emphasis upon the nonrational actions that constitute the folkways and mores, in his identification (if frequently inconsistent) of the morals of an age with its mores, and in his insistence that social processes are natural processes, he was a beacon that continues to shed a powerful beam in the American tradition of sociological inquiry.
All efforts to do good, by legislation or otherwise, almost always have evil as their unintended consequences. What good can one do when what one does does none? Why then did Sumner bother to write his books and essays? And why did he believe that the science of sociology, then in its infancy, would have any more effect upon the natural processes of society than the foolish schemes of the reformers? Why not sit back and enjoy the show, as a kind of Olympian spectator? Here, of course, he is caught in the Humean problem.
American Sociological Theory. A Critical History by Robert Bierstedt