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Buku Ideology And The Development Of Sociological Theory

Books CollectionBuku Ideology And The Development Of Sociological Theory
  • Judul Buku: Ideology And The Development Of Sociological Theory
  • Penulis: Irving M. Zeitlin
  • Penerbit: New Jersey: Prentice-Hall, Inc., 1968
  • Bahasa: English

Sinopsis Buku Ideology And The Development Of Sociological Theory

Much of classical sociology arose within the context of a debate first with eighteenth-century thought, the Enlightenment, and later with its true heir in the nineteenth century, Karl Marx.

From this perspective, the Enlightenment appears as the least arbitrary and most appropriate point of departure in the study of the origins of sociological theory. The eighteenth-century thinkers began more consistently than any of their predecessors to study the human condition in a methodical way, consciously applying what they considered to be scientific principles of analysis to man, his nature, and society.

But there are still other reasons for beginning with the thinkers of the Enlightenment: they upheld reason as the critical measure of social institutions and their suitability for man’s nature.

Man, they believed, is essentially rational and his rationality can lead him to freedom. They believed, too, in the perfectibility of man. Being infinitely perfectible meant that by criticizing and changing social institutions man could create for himself ever greater degrees of freedom, which, in turn, would enable him increasingly to actualize his potentially creative powers.

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These powers were inhibited and repressed by the existing institutions so long as they remained unreasonable and hence not in accord with man’s basic nature.

The thinkers of the Enlightenment were therefore critical as well as scientific. Their major premises, the rationality and perfectibility of man, eventually inspired the French revolutionaries, and after the Revolution many of the most influential thinkers in Europe attributed the causes of that great upheaval to the Philosophes and their ideas and attempted to repudiate and discredit them.

EYRCLS Books Collection - Ideology And The Development Of Sociological Theory
EYRCLS Books Collection – Ideology And The Development Of Sociological Theory

The response to the theories of the Enlightenment and the French Revolution has been treated by historians under the headings of Romanticism and the Conservative Reaction. This reaction constitutes an exceedingly interesting and important phase in the development of social theory, for it was in this general context, as we shall see, that sociology in the more formal sense emerged.

In this first section of the book, Hegel’s historical synthesis, the rise of positivism as a reaction to “negative” philosophy, and the thought of Saint-Simon and Comte, the founders of sociology, are given special attention.

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From Saint-Simon and Hegel, and particularly one aspect of the latter’s philosophy-negative-critical thinking it is apparent that Marx and his work is a logical next step. Marx’s social thought is treated as a kind of intellectual watershed, for more than any of his contemporaries he revived and synthesized in his work both tendencies of Enlightenment thought: the critical-revolutionary and the scientific.

Marx’s contribution to sociological thinking, it will be argued, is one of the most important of the late nineteenth century-perhaps the most important. This is true, I believe, not only because of the immensely rich ideas he himself advanced but also because his work provoked a response that accounts, in a large measure, for the character of Western sociology. My discussion of Marx, then, sets the stage for the intense debate with his ghost, the major theme of this book.

In a series of essays the theories of Weber, Pareto, Mosca, Michels, Durkheim, and Mannheim are examined primarily in relation to Marxian thought. Hopefully, this approach achieves a number of purposes: It provides a sophisticated critique of Marx’s social thought; it indicates the extent to which the assumptions, concepts, and specific theories of subsequent thought were shaped by the debate with Marxism; and, finally, it brings into relief the polemical aspects and ideological elements of classical sociological theory.

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This study is therefore conceived as a critical examination of the development of sociological theory-and, more particularly, of its ideological elements.

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