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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.
In the late 1960s a ‘crisis’ erupted in social psychology, with many social psychologists highly critical of the ‘old paradigm’, laboratory-experimental approach. Originally published in 1989, The Crisis in Modern Social Psychology was the first book to provide a clear account of the complex body of work that is critical of traditional social psychological approaches. Ian Parker insisted that the ‘crisis’ was not over, showing how attempts to improve social psychology had failed, and explaining why we need instead a political understanding of social interaction which links research with change. Modern social psychology reflects the impact of structuralist and post-structuralist conceptual crises in other academic disciplines, and Parker describes the work of Foucault and Derrida sympathetically and lucidly, making these important debates accessible to the student and discussing their influence. He assesses the responses from both mainstream social psychology and from avant-garde textual social psychology to the influx of these radical ideas, and discusses the promises and pitfalls of a post-modern view of social action.
First published in 1985, Theories of Modern Capitalism provides a succinct study of Marxist and non-Marxist theories of Capitalism, its recent development, and the prospects of a transition to socialism. The study begins with a critical examination and comparison of four major theories of capitalism, in the works of Marx, Weber, Schumpeter and Hayek. This is followed by an analysis of the most recent phase of capitalism which has been conceptualised by Marxists thinkers in various ways as 'organised capitalism'', 'state monopoly', or 'late capitalism'. Finally, Bottomore considers the question of a 'transition to socialism' in the diverse interpretations which have been offered by Marxists on one side, and by Weber, Schumpeter and Hayek on the other. Theories of Modern Capitalism will be valuable in a wide range of courses in social and political theory, and will also have an appeal to a broader readership concerned with issues of social and economic policy.
This book, first published in 1976, discusses four classical paradigms for sociology – the positivism of Saint-Simon and Comte, Durkheim, Marx and Weber – and four contemporary developments or revisions of them – the sociologie active of Dumazedier and his colleagues in France, sociology in Socialist Poland, the work of Dahrendorf and the ‘new sociology’ of Mills and his successors. Christopher Bryant suggests that no neutral language exists in which to compare the characteristics of these different paradigms, yet highlights those features which are common to all of them. Unique in its approach and analysis of the relationship between sociology and action, this book is of value and interest to students of sociology and theory and professional sociologists.
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.

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