Format Type: PDF
Read Online: 434
The eighteenth-century Enlightenment saw the birth of an era which sought legitimacy not from the past but from the future. No longer would human beings invoke the authority of tradition; instead, modern societies emerging in the West justified themselves by their success at increasing, through the application of scientific knowledge, human control over the world. Ever since this notion of modernity was formulated it has provoked intense debate. In this wide-ranging historical introduction to social theory, Alex Callinicos explores the controversies over modernity and examines the connections between social theory and modern philosophy, political economy and evolutionary biology. He offers clear and accesssible treatments of the thought of Montesquieu, Adam Smith and the Scottish Enlightenment, Hegel, Marx, Tocqueville, Maistre, Gobineau, Darwin, Spencer, Kautsky, Nietzsche, Durkheim, Weber, Simmel, Freud, Lukacs, Gramsci, Heidegger, Keynes, Hayek, Parsons, the Frankfurt School, Levi-Strauss, Althusser, Foucault, Habermas and Bourdieu, and concludes by surveying the state of contemporary social thought. A remarkably comprehensive and lucid primer, Social Theoryis essential reading for students of politics, sociology and social and political thought.