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Sociology 1 1 25 25 35 35 47 49 61 65 70 70 76 81 85 87 87 92
History of sociology
History of sociology
Theory and method
Positivism Antipositivism Structural functionalism Conflict theory Structure and agency
Scope and topics of sociology
Social stratification Sociology of religion Sociology of the Internet Political sociology
Sociological research methods
Social research Philosophy of social science
Article Sources and Contributors Image Sources, Licenses and Contributors 96 98
Sociology is the scientific study of human society and its origins, development, organizations, and institutions. It is a social science which uses various methods of empirical investigation and critical analysis to develop a body of knowledge about human social activity, structures, and functions. A goal for many sociologists is to conduct research which may be applied directly to social policy and welfare, while others focus primarily on refining the theoretical understanding of social processes. Subject matter ranges from the micro level of individual agency and interaction to the macro level of systems and the social structure. The traditional focuses of sociology include social stratification, social class, culture, social mobility, religion, secularization, law, and deviance. As all spheres of human activity are affected by the interplay between social structure and individual agency, sociology has gradually expanded its focus to further subjects, such as health, medical, military and penal institutions, the Internet, and the role of social activity in the development of scientific knowledge. The range of social scientific methods has also expanded. Social researchers draw upon a variety of qualitative and quantitative techniques. The linguistic and cultural turns of the mid-twentieth century led to increasingly interpretative, hermeneutic, and philosophic approaches to the analysis of society. Conversely, recent decades have seen the rise of new analytically, mathematically and computationally rigorous techniques, such as agent-based modelling and social network analysis. Sociology should not be confused with various general social studies courses which bear little relation to sociological theory or social science research methodology.
Sociological reasoning predates the foundation of the discipline. Social analysis has origins in the common stock of Western knowledge and philosophy, and has been carried out from as far back as the time of ancient Greek philosopher Plato if not before. The origin of the survey, i.e., the collection of information from a sample of individuals, can be traced back at least early as the Domesday Book in 1086, while ancient philosophers such as Confucius wrote on the importance of social roles. There is evidence of early sociology in medieval Islam. Some consider Ibn Khaldun, a 14th century Arab Islamic scholar from North Africa, to have been the first sociologist; his Muqaddimah was perhaps the first work to advance social-scientific reasoning on social cohesion and social conflict.       Most sociological concepts were used in English prior to their adoption as the technical language of sociology. The word sociology (or "sociologie") is derived from both Latin and Greek origins. The Latin word: socius, "companion"; -ology, "the study of", and in Greek €•‚ƒ„, l€gos, "word", "knowledge". It was first coined in 1780 by the
Ibn Khaldun (1332-1406)
Sociology French essayist Emmanuel-Joseph Siey…s (1748€1836) in an unpublished manuscript. Sociology was later defined independently by the French philosopher of science, Auguste Comte (1798€1857), in 1838. Comte used this term to describe a new way of looking at society. Comte had earlier used the term "social physics", but that had subsequently been appropriated by others, most notably the Belgian statistician Adolphe Quetelet. Comte endeavored to unify history, psychology and economics through the scientific understanding of the social realm. Writing shortly after the malaise of the French Revolution, he proposed that social ills could be remedied through sociological positivism, an epistemological approach outlined in The Course in Positive Philosophy [1830€1842] and A General View of Positivism (1848). Comte believed a positivist stage would mark the final era, after conjectural theological and metaphysical phases, in the progression of human understanding. In observing the circular dependence of theory and observation in science, and having classified the sciences, Comte may be regarded as the first philosopher of science in the modern sense of the term. Comte gave a powerful impetus to the development of sociology, an impetus which bore fruit in the later decades of the nineteenth century. To say this is certainly not to claim that French sociologists such as Durkheim were devoted disciples of the high priest of positivism. But by insisting on the irreducibility of each of his basic sciences to the particular science of sciences which it presupposed in the hierarchy and by emphasizing the nature of sociology as the scientific study of social phenomena Comte put sociology on the map. To be sure, [its] beginnings can be traced back well beyond Montesquieu, for example, and to Condorcet, not to speak of Saint-Simon, Comte's immediate predecessor. But Comte's clear recognition of sociology as a particular science, with a character of its own, justified Durkheim in regarding him as the father or founder of this science, in spite of the fact that Durkheim did not accept the idea of the three states and criticized Comte's approach to sociology.
Auguste Comte (1798-1857)
• Frederick Copleston A History of Philosophy: IX Modern Philosophy 1974,  Both Auguste Comte and Karl Marx set out to develop scientifically justified systems in the wake of European industrialization and secularization, informed by various key movements in the philosophies of history and science. Marx rejected Comtean positivism but in attempting to develop a science of society nevertheless came to be recognized as a founder of sociology as the word gained wider meaning. For Isaiah Berlin, Marx may be regarded as the "true father" of modern sociology, "in so far as anyone can claim the title." To have given clear and unified answers in familiar empirical terms to those theoretical questions which most occupied men's minds at the Karl Marx (1818-1883) time, and to have deduced from them clear practical directives without creating obviously artificial links between the two, was the principle achievement of Marx's theory. The sociological treatment of historical and moral problems, which Comte and after him, Spencer and Taine, had discussed and mapped, became a precise and concrete study only when the attack of militant Marxism made its conclusions a burning issue, and so made the search for evidence more zealous and the attention to method more intense. • Isaiah Berlin Karl Marx: His Life and Environment 1937, 
Herbert Spencer (27 April 1820†€ 8 December 1903) was one of the most popular and influential 19th century sociologists. It is estimated that he sold one million books in his lifetime, far more than any other sociologist at the time. So strong was his influence that many other 19th century thinkers, including ‡mile Durkheim, defined their ideas in relation to his. Durkheim‚s Division of Labour in Society is to a large extent an extended debate with Spencer from whose sociology, many commentators now agree, Durkheim borrowed extensively. Also a notable biologist, Spencer coined the term "survival of the fittest". Whilst Marxian ideas defined one strand of sociology, Spencer was a critic of socialism as well as strong advocate for a laissez-faire style of government. His ideas were highly observed by conservative political circles, especially in the United States and England.
Herbert Spencer (1820-1903)
Foundations of the academic discipline
Formal academic sociology was established by ‡mile Durkheim (1858€1917), who developed positivism as a foundation to practical social research. While Durkheim rejected much of the detail of Comte's philosophy, he retained and refined its method, maintaining that the social sciences are a logical continuation of the natural ones into the realm of human activity, and insisting that they may retain the same objectivity, rationalism, and approach to causality. Durkheim set up the first European department of sociology at the University of Bordeaux in 1895, publishing his Rules of the Sociological Method (1895). For Durkheim, sociology could be described as the "science of institutions, their genesis and their functioning". Durkheim's seminal monograph, Suicide (1897), a case study of suicide rates amongst Catholic and Protestant populations, distinguished sociological analysis ‡mile Durkheim from psychology or philosophy. It also marked a major contribution to the theoretical concept of structural functionalism. By carefully examining suicide statistics in different police districts, he attempted to demonstrate that Catholic communities have a lower suicide rate than that of Protestants, something he attributed to social (as opposed to individual or psychological) causes. He developed the notion of objective suis generis "social facts" to delineate a unique empirical object for the science of sociology to study. Through such studies he posited that sociology would be able to determine whether any given society is 'healthy' or 'pathological', and seek social reform to negate organic breakdown or "social anomie". Sociology quickly evolved as an academic response to the perceived challenges of modernity, such as industrialization, urbanization, secularization, and the process of "rationalization". The field predominated in continental Europe, with British anthropology and statistics generally following on a separate trajectory. By the turn of the 20th century, however, many theorists were active in the Anglo-Saxon world. Few early sociologists were confined strictly to the subject, interacting also with economics, jurisprudence, psychology and philosophy, with theories being appropriated in a variety of different fields. Since its inception, sociological epistemologies, methods, and frames of inquiry, have significantly expanded and diverged. Durkheim, Marx, and the German theorist Max Weber are typically cited as the three principal architects of social science. Herbert Spencer, William Graham Sumner, Lester F. Ward, Vilfredo Pareto, Alexis de Tocqueville, Werner Sombart, Thorstein Veblen, Ferdinand Tˆnnies, Georg Simmel and Karl Mannheim are occasionally included on academic curricula as founding theorists. Each key figure is associated with a particular theoretical perspective and orientation.
Sociology Marx and Engels associated the emergence of modern society above all with the development of capitalism; for Durkheim it was connected in particular with industrialization and the new social division of labor which this brought about; for Weber it had to do with the emergence of a distinctive way of thinking, the rational calculation which he associated with the Protestant Ethic (more or less what Marx and Engels speak of in terms of those 'icy waves of egotistical calculation'). Together the works of these great classical sociologists suggest what Giddens has recently described as 'a multidimensional view of institutions of modernity' and which emphasizes not only capitalism and industrialism as key institutions of modernity, but also 'surveillance' (meaning 'control of information and social supervision') and 'military power' (control of the means of violence in the context of the industrialization of war). • John Harriss The Second Great Transformation? Capitalism at the End of the Twentieth Century 1992, 
The first college course entitled "Sociology" was taught in the United States at Yale in 1875 by William Graham Sumner. In 1883 Lester F. Ward, the first president of the American Sociological Association, published Dynamic Sociology€Or Applied social science as based upon statical sociology and the less complex sciences and attacked the laissez-faire sociology of Herbert Spencer and Sumner. Ward's 1200 page book was used as core material in many early American sociology courses. In 1890, the oldest continuing American course in the modern tradition began at the University of Kansas, lectured by Frank W. Blackmar. The Department of Sociology at the University of Chicago was established in 1892 by Albion Small, who also published the first sociology Ferdinand Tˆnnies' bust in Husum, textbook: An introduction to the study of society 1894. George Herbert Mead Germany and Charles Cooley, who had met at the University of Michigan in 1891 (along with John Dewey), would move to Chicago in 1894. Their influence gave rise to social psychology and the symbolic interactionism of the modern Chicago School. The American Journal of Sociology was founded in 1895, followed by the American Sociological Association (ASA) in 1905. The sociological "canon of classics" with Durkheim and Max Weber at the top owes in part to Talcott Parsons, who is largely credited with introducing both to American audiences. Parsons consolidated the sociological tradition and set the agenda for American sociology at the point of its fastest disciplinary growth. Sociology in the United States was less historically influenced by Marxism than its European counterpart, and to this day broadly remains more statistical in its approach. The first sociology department to be established in the United Kingdom was at the London School of Economics and Political Science (home of the British Journal of Sociology) in 1904. Leonard Trelawny Hobhouse and Edvard Westermarck became the lecturers in the discipline at the University of London in 1907. Harriet Martineau, an English translator of Comte, has been cited as the first female sociologist. In 1909 the Deutsche Gesellschaft f•r Soziologie (German Sociological Association) was founded by Ferdinand Tˆnnies and Max Weber, among others. Weber established the first department in Germany at the Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich in 1919, having presented an influential new antipositivist sociology. In 1920, Florian Znaniecki set up the first department in Poland. The Institute for Social Research at the University of Frankfurt (later to become the Frankfurt School of critical theory) was founded in 1923. International co-operation in sociology began in 1893, when Ren‰ Worms founded the Institut International de Sociologie, an institution later eclipsed by the much larger International Sociological Association (ISA), founded in 1949.
Positivism and Anti-positivism
The overarching methodological principle of positivism is to conduct sociology in broadly the same manner as natural science. An emphasis on empiricism and the scientific method is sought to provide a tested foundation for sociological research based on the assumption that the only authentic knowledge is scientific knowledge, and that such knowledge can only arrive by positive affirmation through scientific methodology. "Our main goal is to extend scientific rationalism to human conduct... What has been called our positivism is but a consequence of this rationalism." • ‡mile Durkheim, The Rules of Sociological Method (1895),  The term has long since ceased to carry this meaning; there are no fewer than twelve distinct epistemologies that are referred to as positivism. Many of these approaches do not self-identify as "positivist", some because they themselves arose in opposition to older forms of positivism, and some because the label has over time become a term of abuse by being mistakenly linked with a theoretical empiricism. The extent of antipositivist criticism has also diverged, with many rejecting the scientific method and others only seeking to amend it to reflect 20th century developments in the philosophy of science. However, positivism (broadly understood as a scientific approach to the study of society) remains dominant in contemporary sociology, especially in the United States. Loic Wacquant distinguishes three major strains of positivism: Durkheimian, Logical, and Instrumental. None of these are the same as that set forth by Comte, who was unique in advocating such a rigid (and perhaps optimistic) version. While ‡mile Durkheim rejected much of the detail of Comte's philosophy, he retained and refined its method. Durkheim maintained that the social sciences are a logical continuation of the natural ones into the realm of human activity, and insisted that they should retain the same objectivity, rationalism, and approach to causality. He developed the notion of objective sui generis "social facts" to delineate a unique empirical object for the science of sociology to study. The variety of positivism that remains dominant today is termed instrumental positivism. This approach eschews epistemological and metaphysical concerns (such as the nature of social facts) in favor of methodological clarity, replicability, reliability and validity. This positivism is more or less synonymous with quantitative research, and so only resembles older positivism in practice. Since it carries no explicit philosophical commitment, its practitioners may not belong to any particular school of thought. Modern sociology of this type is often credited to Paul Lazarsfeld, who pioneered large-scale survey studies and developed statistical techniques for analyzing them. This approach lends itself to what Robert K. Merton called middle-range theory: abstract statements that generalize from segregated hypotheses and empirical regularities rather than starting with an abstract idea of a social whole.
Reactions against social empiricism began when German philosopher Hegel voiced opposition to both empiricism, which he rejected as uncritical, and determinism, which he viewed as overly mechanistic. Karl Marx's methodology borrowed from Hegelian dialecticism but also a rejection of positivism in favour of critical analysis, seeking to supplement the empirical acquisition of "facts" with the elimination of illusions. He maintained that appearances need to be critiqued rather than simply documented. Early hermeneuticians such as Wilhelm Dilthey pioneered the distinction between natural and social science ('Geisteswissenschaft'). Various neo-Kantian philosophers, phenomenologists and human scientists further theorized how the analysis of the social world differs to that of the natural world due to the irreducibly complex aspects of human society, culture, and being. At the turn of the 20th century the first generation of German sociologists formally introduced methodological anti-positivism, proposing that research should concentrate on human cultural norms, values, symbols, and social processes viewed from a resolutely subjective perspective. Max Weber argued that sociology may be loosely
Sociology described as a science as it is able to identify causal relationships of human "social action"•especially among "ideal types", or hypothetical simplifications of complex social phenomena. As a non-positivist, however, Weber sought relationships that are not as "historical, invariant, or generalizable" as those pursued by natural scientists. Fellow German sociologist, Ferdinand Tˆnnies, theorized on two crucial abstract concepts with his work on "Gemeinschaft and Gesellschaft" (lit. community and society). Tˆnnies marked a sharp line between the realm of concepts and the reality of social action: the first must be treated axiomatically and in a deductive way ("pure sociology"), whereas the second empirically and inductively ("applied sociology"). [Sociology is ] ... the science whose object is to interpret the meaning of social action and thereby give a causal explanation of the way in which the action proceeds and the effects which it produces. By 'action' in this definition is meant the human behavior when and to the extent that the agent or agents see it as subjectively meaningful ... the meaning to which we refer may be either (a) the meaning actually intended either by an individual agent on a particular historical occasion or by a number of agents on an approximate average in a given set of cases, or (b) the meaning attributed to the agent or agents, as types, in a pure type constructed in the abstract. In neither case is the 'meaning' to be thought of as somehow objectively 'correct' or 'true' by some metaphysical criterion. This is the difference between the empirical sciences of action, such as Max Weber sociology and history, and any kind of prior discipline, such as jurisprudence, logic, ethics, or aesthetics whose aim is to extract from their subject-matter 'correct' or 'valid' meaning. • Max Weber The Nature of Social Action 1922,  Both Weber and Georg Simmel pioneered the "Verstehen" (or 'interpretative') method in social science; a systematic process by which an outside observer attempts to relate to a particular cultural group, or indigenous people, on their own terms and from their own point-of-view. Through the work of Simmel, in particular, sociology acquired a possible character beyond positivist data-collection or grand, deterministic systems of structural law. Relatively isolated from the sociological academy throughout his lifetime, Simmel presented idiosyncratic analyses of modernity more reminiscent of the phenomenological and existential writers than of Comte or Durkheim, paying particular concern to the forms of, and possibilities for, social individuality. His sociology engaged in a neo-Kantian inquiry into the limits of perception, asking 'What is society?' in a direct allusion to Kant's question 'What is nature?' The deepest problems of modern life flow from the attempt of the individual to maintain the independence and individuality of his existence against the sovereign powers of society, against the weight of the historical heritage and the external culture and technique of life. The antagonism represents the most modern form of the conflict which primitive man must carry on with nature for his own bodily existence. The eighteenth century may have called for liberation from all the ties which grew up historically in politics, in religion, in morality and in economics in order to permit the original natural virtue of man, which is equal in everyone, to develop without inhibition; the nineteenth century may have sought to promote, in addition to man's freedom, his individuality (which is connected with the division of labor) and his achievements which make him unique and
Sociology indispensable but which at the same time make him so much the more dependent on the complementary activity of others; Nietzsche may have seen the relentless struggle of the individual as the prerequisite for his full development, while socialism found the same thing in the suppression of all competition†€ but in each of these the same fundamental motive was at work, namely the resistance of the individual to being leveled, swallowed up in the social-technological mechanism. • Georg Simmel The Metropolis and Mental Life 1903, 
The contemporary discipline of sociology is theoretically multi-paradigmatic. Modern sociological theory descends from the historical foundations of functionalist (Durkheim) and conflict-centered (Marx) accounts of social structure, as well as the micro-scale structural (Simmel) and pragmatist (Mead) theories of social interaction. Contemporary sociological theory retains traces of these approaches. Presently, sociological theories lack a single overarching foundation, and there is little consensus about what such a framework should consist of. However, a number of broad paradigms cover much present sociological theorizing. In the humanistic parts of the discipline, these paradigms are referred to as social theory, and are often shared with the humanities. The discipline's dominant scientifically-oriented areas generally focus on a different set of theoretical perspectives, which by contrast are generally referred to as sociological theory. These include new institutionalism, social networks, social identity, social and cultural capital, toolkit and cognitive theories of culture, and resource mobilization. Analytical sociology is an ongoing effort to systematize many of these middle-range theories.
A broad historical paradigm in both sociology and anthropology, functionalism addresses the social structure as a whole and in terms of the necessary function of its constituent elements. A common analogy (popularized by Herbert Spencer) is to regard norms and institutions as 'organs' that work toward the proper-functioning of the entire 'body' of society. The perspective was implicit in the original sociological positivism of Comte, but was theorized in full by Durkheim, again with respect to observable, structural laws. Functionalism also has an anthropological basis in the work of theorists such as Marcel Mauss, BronisŠaw Malinowski and Radcliffe-Brown. It is in Radcliffe-Brown's specific usage that the prefix 'structural' emerged. Classical functionalist theory is generally united by its tendency towards biological analogy and notions of social evolutionism. As Giddens states: "Functionalist thought, from Comte onwards, has looked particularly towards biology as the science providing the closest and most compatible model for social science. Biology has been taken to provide a guide to conceptualizing the structure and the function of social systems and to analyzing processes of evolution via mechanisms of adaptation ... functionalism strongly emphasizes the pre-eminence of the social world over its individual parts (i.e. its constituent actors, human subjects)."
Functionalism aims only toward a general perspective from which to conduct social science. Methodologically, its principles generally contrast those approaches that emphasize the "micro", such as interpretivism or symbolic interactionism. Its emphasis on "cohesive systems", however, also holds political ramifications. Functionalist theories are often therefore contrasted with "conflict theories" which critique the overarching socio-political system or emphasize the inequality of particular groups. The works of Durkheim and Marx epitomize the political, as well as theoretical, disparities, between functionalist and conflict thought respectively: To aim for a civilization beyond that made possible by the nexus of the surrounding environment will result in unloosing sickness into the very society we live in. Collective activity cannot be encouraged beyond the point set by the condition of the social organism without undermining health.
Sociology • ‡mile Durkheim The Division of Labor in Society 1893,  The history of all hitherto existing society is the history of class struggles. Freeman and slave, patrician and plebeian, lord and serf, guild-master and journeyman, in a word, oppressor and oppressed, stood in constant opposition to one another, carried on an uninterrupted, now hidden, now open fight, a fight that each time ended, either in a revolutionary re-constitution of society at large, or in the common ruin of the contending classes. • Karl Marx & Friedrich Engels The Communist Manifesto 1848, 
20th century social theory
The functionalist movement reached its crescendo in the 1940s and 1950s, and by the 1960s was in rapid decline. By the 1980s, functionalism in Europe had broadly been replaced by conflict-oriented approaches. While some of the critical approaches also gained popularity in the United States, the mainstream of the discipline instead shifted to a variety of empirically-oriented middle-range theories with no single overarching theoretical orientation. To many in the discipline, functionalism is now considered "as dead as a dodo." As the influence of both functionalism and Marxism in the 1960s began to wane, the linguistic and cultural turns led to myriad new movements in the social sciences: Anthony Giddens "According to Giddens, the orthodox consensus terminated in the late 1960s and 1970s as the middle ground shared by otherwise competing perspectives gave way and was replaced by a baffling variety of competing perspectives. This third 'generation' of social theory includes phenomenologically inspired approaches, critical theory, ethnomethodology, symbolic interactionism, structuralism, post-structuralism, and theories written in the tradition of hermeneutics and ordinary language philosophy." The structuralist movement originated from the linguistic theory of Ferdinand de Saussure and was later expanded to the social sciences by theorists such as Claude L‰vi-Strauss. In this context, 'structure' refers not to 'social structure' but to the semiotic understanding of human culture as a system of signs. One may delineate four central tenets of structuralism: First, structure is what determines the structure of a whole. Second, structuralists believe that every system has a structure. Third, structuralists are interested in 'structural' laws that deal with coexistence rather than changes. Finally, structures are the 'real things' beneath the surface or the appearance of meaning. Post-structuralist thought has tended to reject 'humanist' assumptions in the conduct of social theory. Michel Foucault provides a potent critique in his archaeology of the human sciences, though Habermas and Rorty have both argued that Foucault merely replaces one such system of thought with another. The dialogue between these intellectuals highlights a trend in recent years for certain schools of sociology and philosophy to intersect. The anti-humanist position has been associated with "postmodernism," a term used in specific contexts to describe an era or phenomena, but occasionally construed as a method.
Structure and agency
Structure and agency, form an enduring ontological debate in social theory: "Do social structures determine an individual's behaviour or does human agency?" In this context 'agency' refers to the capacity of individuals to act independently and make free choices, whereas 'structure' relates to factors which limit or affect the choices and actions of individuals (such as social class, religion, gender, ethnicity, and so on). Discussions over the primacy of either structure and agency relate to the core of sociological epistemology ("What is the social world made of?", "What is a cause in the social world, and what is an effect?"). A general outcome of incredulity toward structural or agential thought has been the development of multidimensional theories, most notably the action theory of Talcott Parsons and Anthony Giddens's theory of structuration.
Sociological research methods may be divided into two broad categories: ‹ Quantitative designs approach social phenomena through quantifiable evidence, and often rely on statistical analysis of many cases (or across intentionally designed treatments in an experiment) to create valid and reliable general claims ‹ Qualitative designs emphasize understanding of social phenomena through direct observation, communication with participants, or analysis of texts, and may stress contextual and subjective accuracy over generality Sociologists are divided into camps of support for particular research techniques. These disputes relate to the epistemological debates at the historical core of social theory. While very different in many aspects, both qualitative and quantitative approaches involve a systematic interaction between theory and data. Quantitative methodologies hold the dominant position in sociology, especially in the United States. In the discipline's two most cited journals, quantitative articles have historically outnumbered qualitative ones by a factor of two. (Most articles published in the largest British journal, on the other hand, are qualitative.) Most textbooks on the methodology of social research are written from the quantitative perspective, and the very term "methodology" is often used synonymously with "statistics." Practically all sociology PhD program in the United States require training in statistical methods. The work produced by quantitative researchers is also deemed more 'trustworthy' and 'unbiased' by the greater public, though this judgment continues to be challenged by antipositivists. The choice of method often depends largely on what the researcher intends to investigate. For example, a researcher concerned with drawing a statistical generalization across an entire population may administer a survey questionnaire to a representative sample population. By contrast, a researcher who seeks full contextual understanding of an individual's social actions may choose ethnographic participant observation or open-ended interviews. Studies will commonly combine, or 'triangulate', quantitative and qualitative methods as part of a 'multi-strategy' design. For instance, a quantitative study may be performed to gain statistical patterns or a target sample, and then combined with a qualitative interview to determine the play of agency.
Quantitative methods are often used to ask questions about a population that is very large, making a census or a complete enumeration of all the members in that population infeasible. A 'sample' then forms a manageable subset of a population. In quantitative research, statistics are used to draw inferences from this sample regarding the population as a whole. The process of selecting a sample is referred to as 'sampling'. While it is usually best to sample randomly, concern with differences between specific subpopulations sometimes calls for stratified sampling. Conversely, the impossibility of random sampling sometimes necessitates nonprobability sampling, such as convenience sampling or snowball sampling.
The bean machine, designed by early social research methodologist Sir Francis Galton to demonstrate the normal distribution, which is important to much quantitative hypothesis testing.
The following list of research methods is neither exclusive nor exhaustive: ‹ Archival research or the Historical method: draws upon the secondary data located in historical archives and records, such as biographies, memoirs, journals, and so on. ‹ Content analysis: The content of interviews and other texts is systematically analyzed. Often data is 'coded' as a part of the 'grounded theory' approach using qualitative data analysis (QDA) software, such as NVivo, Atlas.ti,
Sociology or QDA Miner. ‹ Experimental research: The researcher isolates a single social process and reproduces it in a laboratory (for example, by creating a situation where unconscious sexist judgments are possible), seeking to determine whether or not certain social variables can cause, or depend upon, other variables (for instance, seeing if people's feelings about traditional gender roles can be manipulated by the activation of contrasting gender stereotypes). Participants are randomly assigned to different groups which either serve as controls•acting as reference points because they are tested with regard to the dependent variable, albeit without having been exposed to any independent variables of interest•or receive one or more treatments. Randomization allows the researcher to be sure that any resulting differences between groups are the result of the treatment. ‹ Longitudinal study: An extensive examination of a specific person or group over a long period of time. ‹ Observation: Using data from the senses, the researcher records information about social phenomenon or behavior. Observation techniques may or may not feature participation. In participant observation, the researcher goes into the field (such as a community or a place of work), and participates in the activities of the field for a prolonged period of time in order to acquire a deep understanding of it. Data acquired through these techniques may be analyzed either quantitatively or qualitatively. ‹ Survey research: The researcher gathers data using interviews, questionnaires, or similar feedback from a set of people sampled from a particular population of interest. Survey items from an interview or questionnaire may be open-ended or closed-ended. Data from surveys is usually analyzed statistically on a computer.
Sociologists increasingly draw upon computationally intensive methods to analyze and model social phenomena. Using computer simulations, artificial intelligence, text mining, complex statistical methods, and new analytic approaches like social network analysis, computational sociology develops and tests theories of complex social processes through bottom-up modeling of social interactions. Although the subject matter and methodologies in social science differ from those in natural science or computer science, several of the approaches used in contemporary social simulation originated from fields such as physics and artificial intelligence. By the same token, some of the approaches that originated in computational sociology have been imported into the natural sciences, such as measures of network centrality from the A social network diagram: individuals (or fields of social network analysis and network science. In relevant literature, 'nodes') connected by relationships. computational sociology is often related to the study of social  complexity. Social complexity concepts such as complex systems, non-linear interconnection among macro and micro process, and emergence, have entered the vocabulary of computational sociology. A practical and well-known example is the construction of a computational model in the form of an "artificial society", by which researchers can analyze the structure of a social system.
Practical applications of social research
Social research informs politicians and policy makers, educators, planners, lawmakers, administrators, developers, business magnates, managers, social workers, non-governmental organizations, non-profit organizations, and people interested in resolving social issues in general. There is often a great deal of crossover between social research, market research, and other statistical fields.
 A sociological study of violence by text mining. Arrow width proportional to number of violent acts. (Click on large animated GIF image to see evolution)
Areas of sociology
‹ Social organization is the study of the various institutions, social groups, social stratification, social mobility, bureaucracy, ethnic groups and relations, and other similar subjects like family, education, politics, religion, economy, and so on and so forth. ‹ Social psychology is the study of human nature as an outcome of group life, social attitudes, collective behavior, and personality formation. It deals with group life and the individual's traits, attitudes, beliefs as influenced by group life, and it views man with reference to group life. ‹ Social change and disorganization is the study of the change in culture and social relations and the disruption that may occur in society, and it deals with the study of such current problems in society such as juvenile delinquency, criminality, drug addiction, family conflicts, divorce, population problems, and other similar subjects. ‹ Human ecology deals with the nature and behavior of a given population and its relationships to the group's present social institutions. For instance, studies of this kind have shown the prevalence of mental illness, criminality, delinquencies, prostitution, and drug addiction in urban centers and other highly developed places. ‹ Population or demography is the study of population number, composition, change, and quality as they influence the economic, political, and social system. ‹ Sociological theory and method is concerned with the applicability and usefulness of the principles and theories of group life as bases for the regulation of man's environment, and includes theory building and testing as bases for the prediction and control of man's social environment. ‹ Applied sociology utilizes the findings of pure sociological research in various fields such as criminology, social work, community development, education, industrial relations, marriage, ethnic relations, family counseling, and other aspects and problems of daily life.
Scope and topics
For Simmel, culture referred to "the cultivation of individuals through the agency of external forms which have been objectified in the course of history". Whilst early theorists such as Durkheim and Mauss were influential in cultural anthropology, sociologists of culture are generally distinguished by their concern for modern (rather than primitive or ancient) society. Cultural sociology is seldom empirical, preferring instead the hermeneutic analysis of words, artifacts and symbols. The field is closely allied with critical theory in the vein of Theodor W. Adorno, Walter Benjamin, and other members of the Max Horkheimer (left, front), Theodor Adorno Frankfurt School. Loosely distinct to sociology is the field of cultural (right, front), and JŒrgen Habermas (right, back) studies. Birmingham School theorists such as Richard Hoggart and 1965. Stuart Hall questioned the division between "producers" and "consumers" evident in earlier theory, emphasizing the reciprocity in the production of texts. Cultural Studies aims to examine its subject matter in terms of cultural practices and their relation to power. For example, a study of a subculture (such as white working class youth in London) would consider the social practices of the group as they relate to the dominant class. The "cultural turn" of the 1960s, which ushered in structuralist and so-called postmodern approaches to social science and placed culture much higher on the sociological agenda.
Criminality, deviance, law and punishment
Criminologists analyze the nature, causes, and control of criminal activity, drawing upon methods across sociology, psychology, and the behavioural sciences. The sociology of deviance focuses on actions or behaviors that violate norms, including both formally enacted rules (e.g., crime) and informal violations of cultural norms. It is the remit of sociologists to study why these norms exist; how they change over time; and how they are enforced. The concept of deviance is central in contemporary structural functionalism and systems theory. Robert K. Merton produced a typology of deviance, and also established the terms "role model", "unintended consequences", and "self-fulfilling prophecy". The study of law played a significant role in the formation of classical sociology. Durkheim famously described law as the "visible symbol" of social solidarity. The sociology of law refers to both a sub-discipline of sociology and an approach within the field of legal studies. Sociology of law is a diverse field of study which examines the interaction of law with other aspects of society, such as the development of legal institutions and the effect of laws on social change and vice versa. For example, an influential recent work in the field relies on statistical analyses to argue that the increase in incarceration in the US over the last 30 years is due to changes in law and policing and not to an increase in crime; and that this increase significantly contributes to maintaining racial stratification.
The term "economic sociology" was first used by William Stanley Jevons in 1879, later to be coined in the works of Durkheim, Weber and Simmel between 1890 and 1920. Economic sociology arose as a new approach to the analysis of economic phenomena, emphasizing class relations and modernity as a philosophical concept. The relationship between capitalism and modernity is a salient issue, perhaps best demonstrated in Weber's The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism (1905) and Simmel's The Philosophy of Money (1900). The contemporary period of economic sociology, also known as new economic sociology, was consolidated by the 1985 work of Mark Granovetter titled "Economic Action and Social Structure: The Problem of Embeddedness". This work
Sociology elaborated the concept of embeddedness, which states that economic relations between individuals or firms take place within existing social relations (and are thus structured by these relations as well as the greater social structures of which those relations are a part). Social network analysis has been the primary methodology for studying this phenomenon. Granovetter's theory of the strength of weak ties and Ronald Burt's concept of structural holes are two best known theoretical contributions of this field.
Environmental sociology is the study of human interactions with the natural environment, typically emphasizing human dimensions of environmental problems, social impacts of those problems, and efforts to resolve them. As with other subfields of sociology, scholarship in environmental sociology may be at one or multiple levels of analysis, from global (e.g. world-systems) to local, societal to individual. Attention is paid also to the processes by which environmental problems become defined and known to humans.
The sociology of education is the study of how educational institutions determine social structures, experiences, and other outcomes. It is particularly concerned with the schooling systems of modern industrial societies. A classic 1966 study in this field by James Coleman, known as the "Coleman Report", analyzed the performance of over 150,000 students and found that student background and socioeconomic status are much more important in determining educational outcomes than are measured differences in school resources (i.e. per pupil spending). The controversy over "school effects" ignited by that study has continued to this day. The study also found that socially disadvantaged black students profited from schooling in racially mixed classrooms, and thus served as a catalyst for desegregation busing in American public schools.
Family, gender, and sexuality
Family, gender and sexuality form a broad area of inquiry studied in many subfields of sociology. The sociology of the family examines the family, as an institution and unit of socialization, with special concern for the comparatively modern historical emergence of the nuclear family and its distinct gender roles. The notion of "childhood" is also significant. As one of the more basic institutions to which one may apply sociological perspectives, the sociology of the family is a common component on introductory academic curricula. Feminist sociology, on the other hand, is a normative subfield that observes and critiques the cultural "Rosie the Riveter" was an iconic symbol of the categories of gender and sexuality, particularly with respect to American homefront and a departure from gender roles power and inequality. The primary concern of feminist theory is due to wartime necessity. the patriarchy and the systematic oppression of women apparent in many societies, both at the level of small-scale interaction and in terms of the broader social structure.Feminist sociology also analyses how gender interlocks with race and class to produce and perpetuate social inequalities. "How to account for the differences in definitions of femininity and masculinity and in sex role across different societies and historical periods" is also a concern.Social psychology of gender, on the other hand, uses experimental methods to uncover the microprocesses of gender stratification. For example, one recent study has shown that resume evaluators penalize women for motherhood while giving a boost to men for fatherhood. Another set of experiments showed that men whose sexuality is questioned compensate by expressing a greater desire for military intervention and sport utility vehicles as well as a greater opposition to gay marriage.
Health and illness
The sociology of health and illness focuses on the social effects of, and public attitudes toward, illnesses, diseases, disabilities and the aging process. Medical sociology, by contrast, focuses on the inner-workings of medical organizations and clinical institutions. In Britain, sociology was introduced into the medical curriculum following the Goodenough Report (1944).
The Internet is of interest to sociologists in various ways; most practically as a tool for research and as a discussion platform. The sociology of the Internet in the broad sense regards the analysis of online communities (e.g. newsgroups, social networking sites) and virtual worlds. Online communities may be studied statistically through network analysis or interpreted qualitatively through virtual ethnography. Organizational change is catalyzed through new media, thereby influencing social change at-large, perhaps forming the framework for a transformation from an industrial to an informational society. One notable text is Manuel Castells' The Internet Galaxy•the title of which forms an inter-textual reference to Marshall McLuhan's The Gutenberg Galaxy.
Knowledge and science
The sociology of knowledge is the study of the relationship between human thought and the social context within which it arises, and of the effects prevailing ideas have on societies. The term first came into widespread use in the 1920s, when a number of German-speaking theorists, most notably Max Scheler, and Karl Mannheim, wrote extensively on it. With the dominance of functionalism through the middle years of the 20th century, the sociology of knowledge tended to remain on the periphery of mainstream sociological thought. It was largely reinvented and applied much more closely to everyday life in the 1960s, particularly by Peter L. Berger and Thomas Luckmann in The Social Construction of Reality (1966) and is still central for methods dealing with qualitative understanding of human society (compare socially constructed reality). The "archaeological" and "genealogical" studies of Michel Foucault are of considerable contemporary influence. The sociology of science involves the study of science as a social activity, especially dealing "with the social conditions and effects of science, and with the social structures and processes of scientific activity." Important theorists in the sociology of science include Robert K. Merton and Bruno Latour. These branches of sociology have contributed to the formation of science and technology studies.
Sociology of literature is a subfield of sociology of culture. It studies the social production of literature and its social implications. A notable example is Pierre Bourdieu's 1992 Les R‚gles de L'Art: Gen‚se et Structure du Champ Littƒraire, translated by Susan Emanuel as Rules of Art: Genesis and Structure of the Literary Field (1996). None of the founding fathers of sociology produced a detailed study of literature, but they did develop ideas that were subsequently applied to literature by others. Marx's theory of ideology was directed at literature by Pierre Macherey, Terry Eagleton and Fredric Jameson. Weber's theory of modernity as cultural rationalisation, which he applied to music, was later applied to all the arts, literature included, by Frankfurt School writers such as Adorno and JŒrgen Habermas. Durkheim's view of sociology as the study of externally-defined social facts was redirected towards literature by Robert Escarpit. Bourdieu's own work is clearly indebted to Marx, Weber and Durkheim.
As with cultural studies, media studies is a distinct discipline which owes to the convergence of sociology and other social sciences and humanities, in particular, literary criticism and critical theory. Though the production process or the critique of aesthetic forms is not in the remit of sociologists, analyses of socialising factors, such as ideological effects and audience reception, stem from sociological theory and method. Thus the 'sociology of the media' is not a subdiscipline per se, but the media is a common and often-indispensable topic.
Military sociology aims toward the systematic study of the military as a social group rather than as an organization. It is a highly specialized subfield which examines issues related to service personnel as a distinct group with coerced collective action based on shared interests linked to survival in vocation and combat, with purposes and values that are more defined and narrow than within civil society. Military sociology also concerns civilian-military relations and interactions between other groups or governmental agencies. Topics include the dominant assumptions held by those in the military, changes in military members' willingness to fight, military unionization, military professionalism, the increased utilization of women, the military industrial-academic complex, the military's dependence on research, and the institutional and organizational structure of military.
Historically political sociology concerned the relations between political organization and society. A typical research question in this area might be: "Why do so few American citizens choose to vote?" In this respect questions of political opinion formation brought about some of the pioneering uses of statistical survey research by Paul Lazarsfeld. A major subfield of political sociology developed in relation to such questions, which draws on comparative history to analyze socio-political trends. The field developed from the work of Max Weber and Moisey Ostrogorsky.
Contemporary political sociology includes these areas of research, but it has been opened up to wider questions of power and politics. Today political sociologists are as likely to be concerned with how identities are formed that contribute to structural domination by one group over another; the politics of who knows how and with what authority; and questions of how power is contested in social interactions in such a way as to bring about widespread cultural and social change. Such questions are more likely to be studied qualitatively. The study of social movements and their effects has been especially important in relation to these wider definitions of politics and power.
Race and ethnic relations
The sociology of race and of ethnic relations is the area of the discipline that studies the social, political, and economic relations between races and ethnicities at all levels of society. This area encompasses the study of racism, residential segregation, and other complex social processes between different racial and ethnic groups. This research frequently interacts with other areas of sociology such as stratification and social psychology, as well as with postcolonial theory. At the level of political policy, ethnic relations are discussed in terms of either assimilationism or multiculturalism. Anti-racism forms another style of policy, particularly popular in the 1960s and 70s.
The sociology of religion concerns the practices, historical backgrounds, developments, universal themes and roles of religion in society. There is particular emphasis on the recurring role of religion in all societies and throughout recorded history. The sociology of religion is distinguished from the philosophy of religion in that sociologists do not set out to assess the validity of religious truth-claims, instead assuming what Peter L. Berger has described as a position of "methodological atheism". It may be said that the modern formal discipline of sociology began with the analysis of religion in Durkheim's 1897 study of suicide rates amongst Roman Catholic and Protestant populations. Max Weber published four major texts on religion in a context of economic sociology and his rationalization thesis: The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism (1905), The Religion of China: Confucianism and Taoism (1915), The Religion of India: The Sociology of Hinduism and Buddhism (1915), and Ancient Judaism (1920). Contemporary debates often center on topics such as secularization, civil religion, and the role of religion in a context of globalization and multiculturalism.
A social network is a social structure composed of individuals (or organizations) called "nodes", which are tied (connected) by one or more specific types of interdependency, such as friendship, kinship, financial exchange, dislike, sexual relationships, or relationships of beliefs, knowledge or prestige. Social networks operate on many levels, from families up to the level of nations, and play a critical role in determining the way problems are solved, organizations are run, and the degree to which individuals succeed in achieving their goals. Social network analysis makes no assumption that groups are the building blocks of society: the approach is open to studying less-bounded social systems, from non-local communities to networks of exchange. Rather than treating individuals (persons, organizations, states) as discrete units of analysis, it focuses on how the structure of ties affects individuals and their relationships. In contrast to analyses that assume that Harrison White socialization into norms determines behavior, network analysis looks to see the extent to which the structure and composition of ties affect norms. Unlike most other areas of sociology, social network theory is usually defined in formal mathematics.
Sociological social psychology focuses on micro-scale social actions. This area may be described as adhering to "sociological miniaturism", examining whole societies through the study of individual thoughts and emotions as well as behavior of small groups. Of special concern to psychological sociologists is how to explain a variety of demographic, social, and cultural facts in terms of human social interaction. Some of the major topics in this field are social inequality, group dynamics, prejudice, aggression, social perception, group behavior, social change, nonverbal behavior, socialization, conformity, leadership, and social identity. Social psychology may be taught with psychological emphasis. In sociology, researchers in this field are the most prominent users of the experimental method (however, unlike their psychological counterparts, they also frequently employ other methodologies). Social psychology looks at social influences, as well as social perception and social interaction.
Social stratification is the hierarchical arrangement of individuals into social classes, castes, and divisions within a society. . Modern Western societies stratification traditionally relates to cultural and economic classes arranged in three main layers: upper class, middle class, and lower class, but each class may be further subdivided into smaller classes (e.g. occupational). Social stratification is interpreted in radically different ways within sociology. Proponents of structural functionalism suggest that, since the stratification of classes and castes is evident in all societies, hierarchy must be beneficial in stabilizing their existence. Conflict theorists, by contrast, critique the inaccessibility of resources and lack of social mobility in stratified societies. Karl Marx distinguished social classes by their connection to the means of production in the capitalist system: the bourgeoisie own the means, but this effectively includes the proletariat itself as the workers can only sell their own labour power (forming the material base of the cultural superstructure). Max Weber critiqued Marxist economic determinism, arguing that social stratification is not based purely on economic inequalities, but on other status and power differentials (e.g. patriarchy). According to Weber, stratification may occur amongst at least three complex variables: (1) Property (class): A person's economic position in a society, based on birth and individual achievement. Weber differs from Marx in that he does not see this as the supreme factor in stratification. Weber noted how managers of corporations or industries control firms they do not own; Marx would have placed such a person in the proletariat. (2) Prestige (status): A person's prestige, or popularity in a society. This could be determined by the kind of job this person does or wealth. and (3) Power (political party): A person's ability to get their way despite the resistance of others. For example, individuals in state jobs, such as an employee of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, or a member of the United States Congress, may hold little property or status but they still hold immense power Pierre Bourdieu provides a modern example in the concepts of cultural and symbolic capital. Theorists such as Ralf Dahrendorf have noted the tendency toward an enlarged middle-class in modern Western societies, particularly in relation to the necessity of an educated work force in technological or service-based economies. Perspectives concerning globalization, such as dependency theory, suggest this effect owes to the shift of workers to the Third World.
Urban and rural sociology
Urban sociology involves the analysis of social life and human interaction in metropolitan areas. It is a normative discipline, seeking to provide advice for planning and policy making. After the industrial revolution, works such as Georg Simmel's The Metropolis and Mental Life (1903) focused on urbanization and the effect it had on alienation and anonymity. In the 1920s and 1930s The Chicago School produced a major body of theory on the nature of the city, important to both urban sociology and criminology, utilising symbolic interactionism as a method of field research. Contemporary research is commonly placed in a context of globalization, for instance, in Saskia Sassen's study of the "Global city". Rural sociology, by contrast, is the analysis of non-metropolitan areas.
Work and industry
The sociology of work, or industrial sociology, examines "the direction and implications of trends in technological change, globalization, labour markets, work organization, managerial practices and employment relations to the extent to which these trends are intimately related to changing patterns of inequality in modern societies and to the changing experiences of individuals and families the ways in which workers challenge, resist and make their own contributions to the patterning of work and shaping of work institutions."
Sociology and the other academic disciplines
Sociology overlaps with a variety of disciplines that study society, in particular anthropology, political science, economics, and social philosophy. Many comparatively new fields such as communication studies, cultural studies, demography and literary theory, draw upon methods that originated in sociology. The terms "social science" and "social research" have both gained a degree of autonomy since their origination in classical sociology. The distinct field of social psychology emerged from the many intersections of sociological and psychological interests, and is further distinguished in terms of sociological or psychological emphasis. Sociology and applied sociology are connected to the professional and academic discipline of social work. Both disciplines study social interactions, community and the effect of various systems (i.e. family, school, community, laws, political sphere) on the individual. However, social work is generally more focused on practical strategies to alleviate social dysfunctions; sociology in general provides a thorough examination of the root causes of these problems. For example, a sociologist might study why a community is plagued with poverty. The applied sociologist would be more focused on practical strategies on what needs to be done to alleviate this burden. The social worker would be focused on action; implementing theses strategies "directly" or "indirectly" by means of mental health therapy, counseling, advocacy, community organization or community mobilization. Social anthropology is the branch of anthropology that studies how contemporary living human beings behave in social groups. Practitioners of social anthropology, like sociologists, investigate various facets of social organization. Traditionally, social anthropologists analysed non-industrial and non-Western societies, whereas sociologists focused on industrialized societies in the Western world. In recent years, however, social anthropology has expanded its focus to modern Western societies, meaning that the two disciplines increasingly converge. Sociobiology is the study of how social behavior and organization have been influenced by evolution and other biological process. The field blends sociology with a number of other sciences, such as anthropology, biology, and zoology. Sociobiology has generated controversy within the sociological academy for allegedly giving too much attention to gene expression over socialization and environmental factors in general (see 'nature versus nurture'). Entomologist E. O. Wilson is credited as having originally developed and described Sociobiology. Irving Louis Horowitz, in his The Decomposition of Sociology (1994), has argued that the discipline, whilst arriving from a "distinguished lineage and tradition", is in decline due to deeply ideological theory and a lack of relevance to policy making: "The decomposition of sociology began when this great tradition became subject to ideological thinking, and an inferior tradition surfaced in the wake of totalitarian triumphs." Furthermore: "A problem yet unmentioned is that sociology's malaise has left all the social sciences vulnerable to pure positivism•to an empiricism lacking any theoretical basis. Talented individuals who might, in an earlier time, have gone into sociology are seeking intellectual stimulation in business, law, the natural sciences, and even creative writing; this drains sociology of much needed potential." Horowitz cites the lack of a 'core discipline' as exacerbating the problem. Randall Collins, the Dorothy Swaine Thomas Professor in Sociology at the University of Pennsylvania and a member of the Advisory Editors Council of the Social Evolution & History journal, has voiced similar sentiments: "we have lost all coherence as a discipline, we are breaking up into a conglomerate of specialities, each going on its own way and with none too high regard for each other." In 2007, The Times Higher Education Guide published a list of 'The most cited authors of books in the Humanities' (including philosophy and psychology). Seven of the top ten are listed as sociologists: Michel Foucault (1), Pierre Bourdieu (2), Anthony Giddens (5), Erving Goffman (6), JŒrgen Habermas (7), Max Weber (8), and Bruno Latour (10).
The most highly ranked journals in the field of general sociology are Sociological Perspectives, the American Sociological Review, the American Journal of Sociology, the British Journal of Sociology, and Sociology. Many more specialized journals also exist.
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‹ Aby, Stephen H. Sociology: A Guide to Reference and Information Sources, 3rd edn. Littleton, Colorado, Libraries Unlimited Inc., 2005, ISBN 1-56308-947-5 . OCLC†57475961. ‹ Babbie, Earl R.. 2003. The Practice of Social Research, 10th edition. Wadsworth, Thomson Learning Inc., ISBN 0-534-62029-9 . OCLC†51917727. ‹ Collins, Randall. 1994. Four Sociological Traditions. Oxford, Oxford University Press ISBN 0-19-508208-7 . OCLC†28411490. ‹ Coser, Lewis A., Masters of Sociological Thought : Ideas in Historical and Social Context, New York, Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1971. ISBN 0-15-555128-0. ‹ Giddens, Anthony. 2006. Sociology (5th edition), Polity, Cambridge. ISBN 0-7456-3378-1 . OCLC†63186308. ‹ Landis, Judson R (1989). Sociology: Concepts and Characteristics (7th ed.). Belmont, California: Wadsworth. ISBN†0-534-10158-5. ‹ Macionis, John J (1991). Sociology (3rd ed.). Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey: Prentice Hall. ISBN†0-13-820358-X. ‹ Merton, Robert K.. 1959. Social Theory and Social Structure. Toward the codification of theory and research, Glencoe: Ill. (Revised and enlarged edition) . OCLC†4536864. ‹ Mills, C. Wright, The Sociological Imagination,1959 (http://www.camden.rutgers.edu/~wood/ 207socimagination.htm). OCLC†165883. ‹ C. Wright Mills, Intellectual Craftsmanship Advices how to Work for young Sociologist (http://ddl.uwinnipeg. ca/res_des/files/readings/cwmills-intel_craft.pdf) ‹ Mitchell, Geoffrey Duncan (2007, originally published in 1968). A Hundred Years of Sociology: A Concise History of the Major Figures, Ideas, and Schools of Sociological Thought. New Brunswick, New Jersey: Transaction Publishers. ISBN†978-0-202-36168-0. OCLC†145146341. ‹ Nisbet, Robert A. 1967. The Sociological Tradition, London, Heinemann Educational Books. ISBN 1-56000-667-6 . OCLC†26934810. ‹ Ritzer, George and Douglas J. Goodman. 2004. Sociological Theory, Sixth Edition. McGraw Hill. ISBN 0-07-281718-6 . OCLC†52240022. ‹ Scott, John & Marshall, Gordon (eds) A Dictionary of Sociology (3rd Ed). Oxford University Press, 2005, ISBN 0-19-860986-8, . OCLC†60370982. ‹ Wallace, Ruth A. & Alison Wolf. 1995. Contemporary Sociological Theory: Continuing the Classical Tradition, 4th ed., Prentice-Hall. ISBN 0-13-036245-X . OCLC†31604842. ‹ White, Harrison C.. 2008. Identity and Control. How Social Formations Emerge. (2nd ed., Completely rev. ed.) Princeton, Princeton University Press. ISBN 978-0-691-13714-8 . OCLC†174138884. ‹ Willis, Evan. 1996. The Sociological Quest: An introduction to the study of social life, New Brunswick, New Jersey, Rutgers University Press. ISBN 0-8135-2367-2 . OCLC†34633406.
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History of sociology
History of sociology
Sociology emerged from enlightenment thought, shortly after the French Revolution, as a positivist science of society. Its genesis owed to various key movements in the philosophy of science and the philosophy of knowledge. Social analysis in a broader sense, however, has origins in the common stock of philosophy and necessarily pre-dates the field. Modern academic sociology arose as a reaction to modernity, capitalism, urbanization, rationalization, and secularization, bearing a particularly strong interest in the emergence of the modern nation state; its constituent institutions, its units of socialization, and its means of surveillance. An emphasis on the concept of modernity, rather than the Enlightenment, often distinguishes sociological discourse from that of classical political philosophy. Within a relatively brief period the discipline greatly expanded and diverged, both topically and methodologically, particularly as a result of myriad reactions against empiricism. Historical debates are broadly marked by theoretical disputes over the primacy of either structure or agency. Contemporary social theory has tended toward the attempt to reconcile these dilemmas. The linguistic and cultural turns of the mid-twentieth century led to increasingly interpretative, and philosophic approaches to the analysis of society. Conversely, recent decades have seen the rise of new analytically and computationally rigorous techniques. Quantitative social research techniques have become common tools for governments, businesses and organizations, and have also found use in the other social sciences. This has given social research a degree of autonomy from the discipline of sociology. Similarly, "social science" has come to be appropriated as an umbrella term to refer to various disciplines which study society or human culture.
Sociological reasoning may be traced back at least as far as the ancient Greeks (cf. Xenophanesƒ remark: "If horses would adore gods, these gods would resemble horses"). Proto- sociological observations are to be found in the founding texts of Western philosophy (Herodotus, Thucydides, Plato, Polybius and so on), as well as in the non-European thought of figures such as Confucius. The characteristic trends in the sociological thinking of the ancient Greeks can be traced back to the social environment. Because there was rarely any extensive or highly centralized political organization within states this allowed the tribal spirit of localism and provincialism to have free play. This tribal spirit of localism and provincialism pervaded most of the Greek thinking upon social phenomena. The origin of the survey can be traced back to the Doomesday Book ordered by king William I in 1086. There is evidence of early Muslim sociology from the 14th century. Ibn Khaldun (1332€1406), in his Muqaddimah (later translated as Prolegomena in Latin), the introduction to a seven volume analysis of universal history, was the first to advance social philosophy and social science in formulating theories of social cohesion and social conflict. He is thus considered by some to be the forerunner of sociology.
History of sociology
Comte, Saint-Simon, and Marx
The term ("sociologie") was first coined by the French essayist Emmanuel Joseph Siey…s (1748€1836). (from the Latin: socius, "companion"; and the suffix -ology, "the study of", from Greek €•‚ƒ„, l€gos, "knowledge" ). However, the term sociology, as used today was first coined by August Comte in 1838.  The term was independently re-invented, and introduced as a neologism, by the French thinker Auguste Comte (1798€1857) in 1838. Comte had earlier expressed his work as "social physics", but that term had been appropriated by others, most notably a Belgian statistician, Adolphe Quetelet (1796€1874). Writing after the original enlightenment political philosophers of social contract, Comte hoped to unify all studies of humankind through the scientific understanding of the social realm. His own sociological scheme was typical of the 19th century humanists; he believed all human life passed through distinct historical stages and that, if one could grasp this progress, one could prescribe the remedies for social ills. Sociology was to be the "queen science" in Comte's schema; all basic physical sciences had to arrive first, leading to the most fundamentally difficult science of human society itself. Comte has thus come to be viewed as the "Father of Sociology". Comte delineated his broader philosophy of science in The Course in Positive Philosophy [1830€1842], whereas his A General View of Positivism (1865) emphasized the particular goals of sociology.
The Positivist temple in Porto Alegre
Comte's system of positivism derives from a basic principle, the law of the three stages of knowledge. Comte referred to this concept as "the great discovery of the year 1822." The law of the three stages state that knowledge of any subject always begins in theological form, in which the knowledge is explained by animism, spirits, or gods. It then passes to the metaphysical form where the knowledge is explained by abstract philosophical speculation. Finally, the knowledge becomes positive after being explained scientifically through observation, experiment, and comparison. The order of the laws was chosen based on each level having increasing in difficulty.  In later life, Comte developed a 'religion of humanity' for positivist societies in order to fulfill the cohesive function once held by traditional worship. Comte appointed himself as high priest so that he could oversee his followers. In this new "religion" he referred to society as the "Great Being" and preached universal love and harmony through his system of industrial order.  In 1849, he proposed a calendar reform called the 'positivist calendar'. For close associate John Stuart Mill, it was possible to distinguish between a "good Comte" (the author of the Course in Positive Philosophy) and a "bad Comte" (the author of the secular-religious system). The system was unsuccessful but met with the publication of Darwin's On the Origin of Species to influence the proliferation of various Secular Humanist organizations in the 19th century, especially through the work of secularists such as George Holyoake and Richard Congreve. Although Comte's English followers, including George Eliot and Harriet Martineau, for the most part rejected the full gloomy panoply of his system, they liked the idea of a religion of humanity and his injunction to "vivre pour altrui" ("live for others", from which comes the word "altruism").
History of sociology
Comte's account of social evolution bears similarity to Karl Marx's (1818€1883) view that human society would progress toward a communist peak. This is perhaps unsurprising as both were profoundly influenced by the early Utopian socialist, Henri de Saint-Simon (1760€1825), who was at one time Comte's mentor. Saint-Simon's favorite concept was that the world could be saved if the scientists would form an international council and take over the direction of society. Instead of war and strife, people could turn their attention to building canals and generally improving conditions. He had taken a typical Enlightenment idea, the belief in science, and given it a slightly more practical foundation.  Saint-Simon's main idea was that industrialism was a new era in history. Progress was not a matter of science alone, but affected all the conditions of life. This new society, growing out of a declining feudalism, would provide the basis for solving all the old problems. His slogan became "All men must work." He was more concerned with the participation of man in the workforce instead of which workforce man choose. From Saint-Simon's slogan, the slogan of communism was evolved "Each according to his capacity." 
Karl Marx rejected the positivist sociology of Comte but was of central influence in founding structural social science.
Marx focused on the theory of class and class consciousness. He did not come up with the theory of class, but the process in which it was created. The material organization of society produces what Marx termed class consciousness. His goal was to raise the level of consciousness of the working class until it became fully aware of itself. They were the only group with the time and resources to be fully informed. He feared, as he had previously seen, the class with the strongest resources can control the means of communication. With the communication controlled, the interests of the one class become the only ones that are heard and contributed to. In this case, the upper class would control the government's interests and agenda. He also saw that this class, once in control would change the economy to favor them. He theorized that since the government creates private property, it has the ability to abolish and in its place substitute socialism. As the industrial economy grew, conflict would arise with the free market and the system of private property.  Both Comte and Marx intended to develop a new scientific ideology in the wake of European secularization. Marx, in the tradition of Hegelianism, rejected the positivist method, but in attempting to develop a science of society nevertheless became recognized as a founder of sociology later as the word gained wider meaning. Isaiah Berlin described Marx as the "true father" of modern sociology, "in so far as anyone can claim the title." To have given clear and unified answers in familiar empirical terms to those theoretical questions which most occupied men's minds at the time, and to have deduced from them clear practical directives without creating obviously artificial links between the two, was the principle achievement of Marx's theory ... The sociological treatment of historical and moral problems, which Comte and after him, Spencer and Taine, had discussed and mapped, became a precise and concrete study only when the attack of militant Marxism made its conclusions a burning issue, and so made the search for evidence more zealous and the attention to method more intense. • Isaiah Berlin Karl Marx 1967,  The early sociology of Herbert Spencer (1820€1903) came about broadly as a reaction to Comte; writing after various developments in evolutionary biology, Spencer attempted (in vain) to reformulate the discipline in what we might now describe as socially Darwinistic terms. (Spencer was in fact a proponent of Lamarckism rather than Darwinism).
History of sociology
Many other philosophers and academics were influential in the development of sociology, not least the Enlightenment theorists of social contract, and historians such as Adam Ferguson (1723€1816). For his theory on social interaction, Ferguson has himself been described as "the father of modern sociology" Other early works to appropriate the term 'sociology' included A Treatise on Sociology, Theoretical and Practical by the North American lawyer Henry Hughes and Sociology for the South, or the Failure of Free Society by the American lawyer George Fitzhugh. Both books were published in 1854, in the context of the debate over slavery in the antebellum US. The Study of Sociology by the English philosopher Herbert Spencer appeared in 1874. Lester Frank Ward, described by some as the father of American sociology, published Dynamic Sociology in 1883. Harriet Martineau, a Whig social theorist and the English translator of many of Comte's works, has been cited as the first female sociologist. Various other early social historians and economists have gained recognition as classical sociologists, perhaps most notably Robert Michels (1876€1936), Alexis de Tocqueville (1805€1859), Vilfredo Pareto (1848€1923) and Thorstein Veblen (1857€1926). The classical sociological texts broadly differ from political philosophy in the attempt to remain scientific, systematic, structural, or dialectical, rather than purely moral, normative or subjective. The new class relations associated with the development of Capitalism are also key, further distinguishing sociological texts from the political philosophy of the Renaissance and Enlightenment eras.
Foundation of the academic discipline
Classical theorists of sociology from the late 19th and early 20th centuries include Ludwig Gumplowicz (1838€1909), Ferdinand Tˆnnies (1855€1936), ‡mile Durkheim (1858€1917), Georg Simmel (1858€1918), Max Weber (1864€1920), and Karl Mannheim (1893€1947). Many of these figures did not consider themselves strictly 'sociologists' and regularly contributed to jurisprudence, economics, psychology, and philosophy. Formal academic sociology began when Durkheim set up the first European department of sociology at the University of Bordeaux in 1895, publishing his Rules of the Sociological Method. He showed that such supposedly individual phenomena as suicide, crime, moral outrage, and even our concepts of time, space, God, and the individual personality are socially determined. In 1896, he established the journal L'Annƒe Sociologique. Durkheim's seminal monograph, Suicide (1897), a case study of suicide rates amongst Catholic, Protestant and Jewish populations, distinguished sociological analysis from psychology or philosophy. It also marked a major contribution to the concept of structural functionalism. A course entitled "sociology" was in the United States taught under its own name for the first time in 1875 by William Graham Sumner, drawing upon the thought of Comte and Herbert Spencer rather than the work Durkheim was advancing in Europe. In 1890, the oldest continuing sociology course in the United States began at the University of Kansas, lectured by Frank Blackmar. The Department of History and Sociology at the University of Kansas was established in 1891  and the first full fledged independent university department of sociology was established in 1892 at the University of Chicago by Albion W. Small (1854€1926), who in 1895 founded the American Journal of Sociology. American sociology arose on a broadly independent trajectory to European sociology. George Herbert Mead and Charles H. Cooley were influential in the development of symbolic interactionism and social psychology at the University of Chicago, while Lester Ward emphasised the central importance of the scientific method with the publication of Dynamic Sociology in 1883. The first sociology department in the United Kingdom was founded at the London School of Economics in 1904. In 1919 a sociology department was established in Germany at the Ludwig Maximilians University of Munich by Max Weber, who had established a new antipositivist sociology. In 1920 a department was set up in Poland by Florian Znaniecki (1882€1958). The "Institute for Social Research" at the University of Frankfurt (later to become the "Frankfurt School" of critical theory) was founded in 1923. Critical theory would take on something of a life of its own after WW2, influencing literary theory and the "Birmingham School" of cultural studies.
History of sociology International cooperation in sociology began in 1893 when Ren‰ Worms (1869€1926) founded the small Institut International de Sociologie, eclipsed by much larger International Sociological Association from 1949. In 1905 the American Sociological Association, the world's largest association of professional sociologists, was founded, and Lester F. Ward was selected to serve as the first President of the new society.
The canon: Durkheim, Marx, Weber
Durkheim, Marx, and Weber are typically cited as the three principal architects of modern social science. The sociological "canon of classics" with Durkheim and Weber at the top owes in part to Talcott Parsons, who is largely credited with introducing both to American audiences. Parsons' Structure of Social Action (1937) consolidated the American sociological tradition and set the agenda for American sociology at the point of its fastest disciplinary growth. In Parsons' canon, however, Vilfredo Pareto holds greater significance than either Marx or Simmel. His canon was guided by a desire to "unify the divergent theoretical traditions in sociology behind a single theoretical scheme, one that could in fact be justified by purely scientific developments in the discipline during the previous half century." While the secondary role Marx plays in early American sociology may be attributed Vilfredo Pareto to Parsons, as well as to broader political trends, the dominance of Marxism in European sociological thought had long since secured the rank of Marx alongside Durkheim and Weber as one of the three "classical" sociologists.
19th Century: From positivism to antipositivism
The methodological approach toward sociology by early theorists was to treat the discipline in broadly the same manner as natural science. An emphasis on empiricism and the scientific method was sought to provide an incontestable foundation for any sociological claims or findings, and to distinguish sociology from less empirical fields such as philosophy. This perspective, called positivism, was first developed by theorist Comte, is based on the assumption that the only authentic knowledge is scientific knowledge, and that such knowledge can come only from positive affirmation of theories through strict scientific and quantitative methods. ‡mile Durkheim was a major proponent of theoretically grounded empirical research, seeking correlations to reveal structural laws, or "social facts". For him, sociology could be described as the "science of institutions, their genesis and their functioning". Durkheim endeavoured to apply sociological findings in the pursuit of political reform and social solidarity. Today, scholarly accounts of Durkheim's positivism may be vulnerable to exaggeration and oversimplification: Comte was the only major sociological thinker to postulate that the social realm may be subject to scientific analysis in the same way as noble science, whereas Durkheim acknowledged in greater detail the fundamental epistemological limitations. Reactions against positivism began when German philosopher Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel (1770€1831) voiced opposition to both empiricism, which he rejected as uncritical, and determinism, which he viewed as overly mechanistic. Karl Marx's methodology borrowed from Hegel dialecticism but also a rejection of positivism in favour of critical analysis, seeking to supplement the empirical acquisition of "facts" with the elimination of illusions. He maintained that appearances need to be critiqued rather than simply documented. Marx nonetheless endeavoured to produce a science of society grounded in the economic determinism of historical materialism. Other philosophers, including Wilhelm Dilthey (1833€1911) and Heinrich Rickert (1863€1936) argued that the natural world differs from the social world because of those unique aspects of human society (meanings, signs, and so on) which inform human cultures. At the turn of the 20th century the first generation of German sociologists formally introduced methodological antipositivism, proposing that research should concentrate on human cultural norms, values, symbols, and social
History of sociology processes viewed from a subjective perspective. Max Weber argued that sociology may be loosely described as a 'science' as it is able to identify causal relationships•especially among ideal types, or hypothetical simplifications of complex social phenomena. As a nonpositivist, however, one seeks relationships that are not as "ahistorical, invariant, or generalizable" as those pursued by natural scientists. Ferdinand Tˆnnies presented Gemeinschaft and Gesellschaft (lit. community and society) as the two normal types of human association. Tˆnnies drew a sharp line between the realm of conceptuality and the reality of social action: the first must be treated axiomatically and in a deductive way ('pure' sociology), whereas the second empirically and in an inductive way ('applied' sociology). Both Weber and Georg Simmel pioneered the Verstehen (or 'interpretative') approach toward social science; a systematic process in which an outside observer attempts to relate to a particular cultural group, or indigenous people, on their own terms and from their own point-of-view. Through the work of Simmel, in particular, sociology acquired a possible character beyond positivist data-collection or grand, deterministic systems of structural law. Relatively isolated from the sociological academy throughout his lifetime, Simmel presented idiosyncratic analyses of modernity more reminiscent of the phenomenological and existential writers than of Comte or Durkheim, paying particular concern to the forms of, and possibilities for, social individuality. His sociology engaged in a neo-Kantian critique of the limits of perception, asking 'What is society?' in a direct allusion to Kant's question 'What is nature?'
20th Century: Critical theory, postmodernism, and positivist revival
In the early 20th century, sociology expanded in the U.S., including developments in both macrosociology, concerned with the evolution of societies, and microsociology, concerned with everyday human social interactions. Based on the pragmatic social psychology of George Herbert Mead (1863€1931), Herbert Blumer (1900€1987) and, later, the Chicago school, sociologists developed symbolic interactionism. In the 1920s, Gyˆrgy Luk•cs released History and Class Consciousness (1923), while a number of works by Durkheim and Weber were published posthumously. In the 1930s, Talcott Parsons (1902€1979) developed action theory, integrating the study of social order with the structural and voluntaristic aspects of macro and micro factors, while placing the discussion within a higher explanatory context of system theory and cybernetics. In Austria and later the U.S., Alfred SchŒtz (1899€1959) developed social phenomenology, which would later inform social constructionism. During the same period members of the Frankfurt school, such as Theodor W. Adorno (1903€1969) and Max Horkheimer (1895€1973), developed critical theory, integrating the historical materialistic elements of Marxism with the insights of Weber, Freud and Gramsci•in theory, if not always in name•often characterizing capitalist modernity as a move away from the central tenets of enlightenment. During the Interwar period, sociology was undermined by totalitarian governments for reasons of ostensible political control. After the Russian Revolution, sociology was gradually "politicized, Bolshevisized and eventually, Stalinized" until it virtually ceased to exist in the Soviet Union. In China, the discipline was banned with semiotics, comparative linguistics and cybernetics as "Bourgeois pseudoscience" in 1952, not to return until 1979. During the same period, however, sociology was also undermined by conservative universities in the West. This was due, in part, to perceptions of the subject as possessing an inherent tendency, through its own aims and remit, toward liberal or left wing thought. Given that the subject was founded by structural functionalists; concerned with organic cohesion and social solidarity, this view was somewhat groundless (though it was Parsons who had introduced Durkheim to American audiences, and his interpretation has been criticized for a latent conservatism). In the mid-20th century there was a general•but not universal•trend for U.S.-American sociology to be more scientific in nature, due to the prominence at that time of action theory and other system-theoretical approaches. Robert K. Merton released his Social Theory and Social Structure (1949). By the turn of the 1960s, sociological research was increasingly employed as a tool by governments and businesses worldwide. Sociologists developed new types of quantitative and qualitative research methods. Paul Lazarsfeld founded Columbia University's Bureau of Applied Social Research, where he exerted a tremendous influence over the techniques and the organization of
History of sociology social research. His many contributions to sociological method have earned him the title of the "founder of modern empirical sociology". Lazarsfeld made great strides in statistical survey analysis, panel methods, latent structure analysis, and contextual analysis. He is also considered a co-founder of mathematical sociology. Many of his ideas have been so influential as to now be considered self-evident. In 1959, Erving Goffman published The Presentation of Self in Everyday Life and introduced the theory of dramaturgical analysis which asserts that all individuals aim to create a specific impression of themselves in the minds of other people. C. Wright Mills presented The Sociological Imagination, encouraging humanistic discourse and a rejection of abstracted empiricism and grand theory. Parallel with the rise of various social movements in the 1960s, particularly in Britain, the cultural turn saw a rise in conflict theories emphasizing social struggle, such as neo-Marxism and second-wave feminism. Ralf Dahrendorf and Ralph Miliband presented pioneering theory on class conflict and industrialized nation states. The sociology of religion saw a renaissance in the decade with new debates on secularisation thesis, globalization, and the very definition of religious practise. Theorists such as Lenski and Yinger formulated 'functional' definitions of religion; enquiring as to what a religion does rather than what it is in familiar terms. Thus, various new social institutions and movements could be examined for their religious role. Marxist theorists continued to scrutinize consumerism and capitalist ideology in analogous terms. Antonio Gramsci's Selections from the Prison Notebooks [1929€1935] was finally published in English during the early 1970s. In the 1960s and 1970s so-called post-structuralist and postmodernist theory, drawing upon structuralism and phenomenology as much as classical social science, made a considerable impact on frames of sociological enquiry. Often understood simply as a cultural style 'after-Modernism' marked by intertextuality, pastiche and irony, sociological analyses of postmodernity have presented a distinct era relating to (1) the dissolution of metanarratives (particularly in the work of Lyotard), and (2) commodity fetishism and the 'mirroring' of identity with consumption in late capitalist society (Debord; Baudrillard; Jameson). Postmodernism has also been associated with the rejection of enlightenment conceptions of the human subject by thinkers such as Michel Foucault, Claude L‰vi-Strauss and, to a lesser extent, in Louis Althusser's attempt to reconcile Marxism with anti-humanism. Most theorists Zygmunt Bauman associated with the movement actively refused the label, preferring to accept postmodernity as a historical phenomenon rather than a method of analysis, if at all. Nevertheless, self-consciously postmodern pieces continue to emerge within the social and political sciences in general. In the 1980s, theorists outside of France tended to focus on globalization, communication, and reflexivity in terms of a 'second' phase of modernity, rather than a distinct new era per se. JŒrgen Habermas established communicative action as a reaction to postmodern challenges to the discourse of modernity, informed both by critical theory and American pragmatism. Fellow German sociologist, Ulrich Beck, presented The Risk Society (1992) as an account of the manner in which the modern nation state has become organized. In Britain, Anthony Giddens set out to reconcile recurrent theoretical dichotomies through structuration theory. During the 1990s, Giddens developed work on the challenges of "high modernity", as well as a new 'third way' politics that would greatly influence New Labour in U.K. and the Clinton administration in the U.S. Leading Polish sociologist, Zygmunt Bauman, wrote extensively on the concepts of modernity and postmodernity, particularly with regard to the Holocaust and consumerism as historical phenomena. While Pierre Bourdieu gained significant critical acclaim for his continued work on cultural capital, certain French sociologists, particularly Jean Baudrillard and Michel Maffesoli, were criticised for perceived obfuscation and relativism.
History of sociology
Functionalist systems theorists such as Niklas Luhmann remained dominant forces in sociology up to the end of the century. In 1994, Robert K. Merton won the National Medal of Science for his contributions to the sociology of science. The positivist tradition is popular to this day, particularly in the United States. The discipline's two most widely cited American journals, the American Journal of Sociology and the American Sociological Review, primarily publish research in the positivist tradition, with ASR exhibiting greater diversity (the British Journal of Sociology, on the other hand, publishes primarily non-positivist articles). The twentieth century saw improvements to the quantitative methodologies employed in sociology. The development of longitudinal studies that follow the same population over the course of years or decades enabled researchers to study long-term phenomena Social network diagram and increased the researchers' ability to infer causality. The increase in the size of data sets produced by the new survey methods was followed by the invention of new statistical techniques for analyzing this data. Analysis of this sort is usually performed with statistical software packages such as SAS, Stata, or SPSS. Social network analysis is an example of a new paradigm in the positivist tradition. The influence of social network analysis is pervasive in many sociological sub fields such as economic sociology (see the work of J. Clyde Mitchell, Harrison White, or Mark Granovetter, for example), organizational behavior, historical sociology, political sociology, or the sociology of education. There is also a minor revival of a more independent, empirical sociology in the spirit of C. Wright Mills, and his studies of the Power Elite in the United States of America, according to Stanley Aronowitz.
 Harriss, John. The Second Great Transformation? Capitalism at the End of the Twentieth Century in Allen, T. and Thomas, Alan (eds) Poverty and Development in the 21st Century', Oxford University Press, Oxford. p325.  Macionis, John J.; Plummer, Ken (2005). Sociology. A Global Introduction (3rd ed.). Harlow: Pearson Education. p.†12. ISBN†0-13-128746-X.  Barnes, Harry E. (1948). An Introduction to the History of Sociology. Chicago, Illinois: University of Chicago Press. p.†5.  A. H. Halsey(2004),A history of sociology in Britain: science, literature, and society,p.34  Geoffrey Duncan Mitchell(1970),A new dictionary of sociology,p.201  H. Mowlana (2001). "Information in the Arab World", Cooperation South Journal 1.  Dr. S. W. Akhtar (1997). "The Islamic Concept of Knowledge", Al-Tawhid: A Quarterly Journal of Islamic Thought & Culture 12 (3).  Amber Haque (2004), "Psychology from Islamic Perspective: Contributions of Early Muslim Scholars and Challenges to Contemporary Muslim Psychologists", Journal of Religion and Health 43 (4): 357-377 .  Enan, Muhammed Abdullah (2007). Ibn Khaldun: His Life and Works. The Other Press. p.†v. ISBN†983-9541-53-6  Alatas, S. H. (2006). "The Autonomous, the Universal and the Future of Sociology". Current Sociology 54: 7€23 . doi:10.1177/0011392106058831  Warren E. Gates (July€September 1967). "The Spread of Ibn Khaldun's Ideas on Climate and Culture". Journal of the History of Ideas (University of Pennsylvania Press) 28 (3): 415€422 . doi:10.2307/2708627. JSTOR†2708627  Des Manuscrits de Siey‚s. 1773-1799, Volumes I and II, published by Christine Faur‰, Jacques Guilhaumou, Jacques Vallier et FranŽoise Weil, Paris, Champion, 1999 and 2007 See also and Jacques Guilhaumou, Siey‚s et le non-dit de la sociologie : du mot „ la chose, in Revue d‚histoire des sciences humaines, Num‰ro 15, novembre 2006 : Naissances de la science sociale.  "Comte, Auguste" A Dictionary of Sociology (3rd Ed), John Scott & Gordon Marshall (eds), Oxford University Press, 2005, ISBN 0-19-860986-8, ISBN 978-0-19-860986-5  "Sociology" in Dictionary of the Social Sciences, Craig Calhoun (ed), Oxford University Press, 2002, ISBN 0-19-512371-9, ISBN 978-0-19-512371-5  Macionis, John (2011). Society the basics. New Jersey: Pearson. pp.†557. ISBN†9780205003785.  A Dictionary of Sociology, Article: Comte, Auguste  Collins, Randall (2010). The Discovery of Society. United States: McGraw-Hill. pp.†343. ISBN†9780070118836.  http:/ / plato. stanford. edu/ entries/ comte/ Stanford Encyclopaedia: Auguste Comte
History of sociology
 "Comte's secular religion is no vague effusion of humanistic piety, but a complete system of belief and ritual, with liturgy and sacraments, priesthood and pontiff, all organized around the public veneration of Humanity, the Nouveau Grand-†tre Supr‡me (New Supreme Great Being), later to be supplemented in a positivist trinity by the Grand Fƒtish (the Earth) and the Grand Milieu (Destiny)" According to Davies (p. 28-29), Comte's austere and "slightly dispiriting" philosophy of humanity viewed as alone in an indifferent universe (which can only be explained by "positive" science) and with nowhere to turn but to each other, was even more influential in Victorian England than the theories of Charles Darwin or Karl Marx.  Berlin, Isaiah. 1967. Karl Marx. Time Inc Book Division, New York. pp130  Berlin, Isaiah. 1967. Karl Marx. Time Inc Book Division, New York. pp13-14, pp130  Willcox, William Bradford; Arnstein, Walter L. (1966). The Age of Aristocracy, 1688 to 1830. Volume III of A History of England, edited by Lacey Baldwin Smith (Sixth Edition, 1992 ed.). Lexington, MA. p.†133. ISBN†0-669-24459-7.  Sociology For The South Or The Failure of Free Society (http:/ / docsouth. unc. edu/ southlit/ fitzhughsoc/ fitzhugh. html)  Gianfranco Poggi (2000). Durkheim. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Chapter 1.  http:/ / www. encyclopedia. com/ doc/ 1O119-Sociology. html  About Us - Sociology department (http:/ / www. ku. edu/ ~socdept/ about/ ),  KU News Release (http:/ / www. news. ku. edu/ 2005/ June/ June15/ sociology. shtml),  University of Chicago Press - Cookie absent (http:/ / www. journals. uchicago. edu/ AJS/ home. html)  " Frankfurt School (http:/ / www. britannica. com/ EBchecked/ topic/ 217277/ Frankfurt-School)". (2009). In Encyclop•dia Britannica. Retrieved September 12, 2009, from Encyclop•dia Britannica Online (Retrieved September 12, 2009)  Camic, Charles. 1992. "Reputation and Predecessor Selection: Parsons and the Institutionalists", American Sociological Review, Vol. 57, No. 4 (Aug., 1992), pp. 421€445  Levine, Donald. 1991. "Simmel and Parsons Reconsidered". The American Journal of Sociology, Vol. 96, No. 5 (Mar., 1991), pp. 1097€1116  http:/ / www. jstor. org/ pss/ 3083237/ Burawoy, Michael: The Resurgence of Marxism in American Sociology  Morrison, Ken. 2006 (2nd ed.) "Marx, Durkheim, Weber", Sage, pp. 1€7  Ashley D, Orenstein DM (2005). Sociological theory: Classical statements (6th ed.). Boston, MA, USA: Pearson Education. p.†94.  Durkheim, ‡mile  "The Rules of Sociological Method" 8th edition, trans. Sarah A. Solovay and John M. Mueller, ed. George E. G. Catlin (1938, 1964 edition), pp. 45  Ashley D, Orenstein DM (2005). Sociological theory: Classical statements (6th ed.). Boston, MA, USA: Pearson Education. pp.†94€98, 100€104.  Fish, Jonathan S. 2005. 'Defending the Durkheimian Tradition. Religion, Emotion and Morality' Aldershot: Ashgate Publishing.  Ashley D, Orenstein DM (2005). Sociological theory: Classical statements (6th ed.). Boston, MA, USA: Pearson Education. p.†169.  Ashley D, Orenstein DM (2005). Sociological theory: Classical statements (6th ed.). Boston, MA, USA: Pearson Education. pp.†202€203.  Ashley D, Orenstein DM (2005). Sociological theory: Classical statements (6th ed.). Boston, MA, USA: Pearson Education. pp.†239€240.  Ashley D, Orenstein DM (2005). Sociological theory: Classical statements (6th ed.). Boston, MA, USA: Pearson Education. p.†241.  Levine, Donald (ed) 'Simmel: On individuality and social forms' Chicago University Press, 1971. pxix.  Levine, Donald (ed) 'Simmel: On individuality and social forms' Chicago University Press, 1971. p6.  Mead Project 2.0 (http:/ / www. brocku. ca/ MeadProject)  Elizabeth Ann Weinberg, The Development of Sociology in the Soviet Union, Taylor & Francis, 1974, ISBN 0-7100-7876-5, Google Print, p.8-9 (http:/ / books. google. com/ books?id=RXwOAAAAQAAJ& pg=PA8& vq=sociology+ disappeared& dq=sociology+ "Soviet+ Union"& lr=& as_brr=3& source=gbs_search_s& cad=0)  Xiaogang Wu, Between Public and Professional: Chinese Sociology and the Construction of a Harmonious Society (http:/ / www. asanet. org/ footnotes/ intl_0509. html), ASA Footnotes, May€June 2009 Issue „ Volume 37 „ Issue 5  Je•bek, Hynek. Paul Lazarsfeld € The Founder of Modern Empirical Sociology: A Research Biography. International Journal of Public Opinion Research 13:229-244 (2001)  Haralambos & Holborn. 'Sociology: Themes and perspectives' (2004) 6th ed, Collins Educational. ISBN 978-0-00-715447-0.  http:/ / www. lwbooks. co. uk/ books/ archive/ prison_notebooks. html  'Cultural Studies: Theory and Practise'. By: Barker, Chris. Sage Publications, 2005. p446.  Bauman, Zygmunt. Postmodernity and its discontents. New York: New York University Press. 1997. ISBN 0-7456-1791-3  Bourdieu The Guardian obituary, Douglas Johnson 28 January 2002 (http:/ / www. guardian. co. uk/ obituaries/ story/ 0,,640396,00. html)  Norris, Christopher. Uncritical Theory: Postmodernism, Intellectuals and the Gulf War Lawrence and Wishart. 1992.  Serge Paugam, La pratique de la sociologie, Paris, PUF, 2008, p. 117 ; cf. G‰rald Houdeville, Le mƒtier de sociologue en France depuis 1945. Renaissance d'une discipline, Rennes, Presses Universitaires de Rennes, 2007, p. 261-302 (ch. 7, "La sociologie mise en cause"), and Bernard Lahire, "Une astrologue sur la plan…te des sociologues ou comment devenir docteur en sociologie sans poss‰der le m‰tier de sociologue ?", in L'esprit sociologique, Paris, La D‰couverte, 2007, p. 351-387.  http:/ / www. columbia. edu/ cu/ news/ 03/ 02/ robertKMerton. html  Positivism in sociological research: USA and UK (1966€1990). By: Gartrell, C. David, Gartrell, John W., British Journal of Sociology, 00071315, Dec2002, Vol. 53, Issue 4  "Stanley Aronowitz" (http:/ / www. logosjournal. com/ aronowitz. htm). Logosjournal.com. . Retrieved 2009-04-20.
History of sociology
‹ Gerhard Lensky. 1982. Human societies: An introduction to macrosociology, McGraw Hill Company. ‹ Nash, Kate. 2010. Contemporary Political Sociology: Globalization, Politics, and Power. Wiley-Blackwell Publishers. ‹ Samuel William Bloom, The Word as Scalpel: A History of Medical Sociology, Oxford University Press 2002 ‹ Raymond Boudon A Critical Dictionary of Sociology. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1989 ‹ Craig Calhoun, ed. Sociology in America. The ASA Centennial History. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2007. ‹ Deegan, Mary Jo, ed. Women in Sociology: A Bio-Bibliographical Sourcebook, New York: Greenwood Press, 1991. ‹ A. H. Halsey, A History of Sociology in Britain: Science, Literature, and Society, Oxford University Press 2004 ‹ Barbara Laslett (editor), Barrie Thorne (editor), Feminist Sociology: Life Histories of a Movement, Rutgers University Press 1997 ‹ Levine, Donald N. (1995). Visions of the Sociological Tradition. University Of Chicago Press. ISBN†0-226-47547-6. ‹ T.N. Madan, Pathways : approaches to the study of society in India. New Delhi: Oxford University Press, 1994 ‹ George Steinmetz, 'Neo-Bourdieusian Theory and the Question of Scientific Autonomy: German Sociologists and Empire, 1890s-1940s', Political Power and Social Theory Volume 20 (2009): 71-131. ‹ Wiggershaus, Rolf (1994). The Frankfurt School : its history, theories and political significance. Polity Press. ISBN†0-7456-0534-6. ‹ Kon, Igor, ed. (1989) (DOC, DjVu, etc.). A History of Classical Sociology (http://www.archive.org/details/ AHistoryOfClassicalSociology). Moscow: Progress Publishers. ISBN†5-01-001102-6.
Theory and method
Positivism is a philosophy of science based on the view that information derived from sensory experience, logical and mathematical treatments is the exclusive source of all authoritative knowledge, that there is valid knowledge (truth) only in scientific knowledge. Verified data received from the senses is known as empirical evidence. This view, when applied to the social as to the natural sciences, holds that society operates according to general laws like the physical world. Introspective and intuitive knowledge is rejected. Though the positivist approach has been a recurrent theme in the history of Western thought, modern sense of the approach was developed by the philosopher and founding sociologist Auguste Comte in the early 19th century. Comte argued that, much as the physical world operates according to gravity and other absolute laws, so also does society.
The English noun positivism was re-imported in the 19th century from the French word positivisme, derived from positif in its philosophical sense of 'imposed on the mind by experience'. The corresponding adjective (lat. positˆvus 'arbitrarily imposed', from pono 'put in place') has been used in similar sense to discuss law (positive law compared to natural law) since the time of Chaucer.
Positivism is part of a more general ancient quarrel between philosophy and poetry, notably laid out by Plato and later reformulated as a quarrel between the humanities and the sciences, Plato elaborates a critique of poetry from the point of view of philosophy in his dialogues Phaedrus 245a, Symposium 209a, Republic 398a, Laws 817 b-d and Ion. the distinction, popularized by Wilhelm Dilthey, between Geisteswissenschaft (humanities) and Naturwissenschaften (natural science), The consideration that laws in physics may not be absolute but relative or probabilistic instead and, if so, this might be more true social sciences was stated, in different terms, by G. B. Vico in 1725. Vico, in contrast to the positivist movement, asserted the superiority of the science of the human mind on the grounds that natural sciences tell us nothing about the inward aspects of things.
Positivism states that the only authentic knowledge is that which allows positive verification and assumes that there is valid knowledge only in scientific knowledge. Enlightenment thinkers such as Henri de Saint-Simon, Pierre-Simon Laplace and Auguste Comte believed the scientific method, the circular dependence of theory and observation, must replace metaphysics in the history of thought. Sociological positivism was reformulated by ‡mile Durkheim as a foundation to social research. Wilhelm Dilthey, in contrast, fought strenuously against the assumption that only explanations derived from science are valid, Dilthey was in part influenced by the historicism of Leopold von Ranke. restating the argument, already found in Vico, that scientific explanations do not reach the inner nature of phenomena and it is humanistic
Positivism knowledge that gives us insight into thoughts, feelings and desires.
At the turn of the 20th century the first wave of German sociologists, including Max Weber and Georg Simmel, rejected the doctrine, thus founding the antipositivist tradition in sociology. Later antipositivists and critical theorists have associated positivism with "scientism"; science as ideology. Later in his career (1969), German theoretical physicist Werner Heisenberg, Nobel laureate for the creation of quantum mechanics, distanced himself from positivism by saying: The positivists have a simple solution: the world must be divided into that which we can say clearly and the rest, which we had better pass over in silence. But can any one conceive of a more pointless philosophy, seeing that what we can say clearly amounts to next to nothing? If we omitted all that is unclear we would probably be left with completely uninteresting and trivial tautologies.
Logical positivism and postpositivism
In the early 20th century, logical positivism • a descendant of Comte's basic thesis but an independent movement • sprang up in Vienna and grew to become one of the dominant schools in Anglo-American philosophy and the analytic tradition. Logical positivists (or 'neopositivists') reject metaphysical speculation and attempted to reduce statements and propositions to pure logic. Critiques of this approach by philosophers such as Karl Popper, Willard Van Orman Quine and Thomas Kuhn have been highly influential, and led to the development of postpositivism.
In historiography the debate on positivism has been characterized by the quarrel between positivism and historicism. (Historicism is also sometimes termed historism in the German tradition .) Arguments against positivist approaches in historiography include that history differs from sciences like physics and ethology in subject matter and method. That much of what history studies is nonquantifiable, and therefore to quantify is to lose in precision. Experimental methods and mathematical models do not generally apply to history, and it is not possible to formulate general (quasi-absolute) laws in history.
In other fields
Positivism in the social sciences is usually characterized by quantitative approaches and the proposition of quasi-absolute laws. A significant exception to this trend is represented by cultural anthropology, which tends naturally toward qualitative approaches. In psychology the positivist movement was influential in the development of behavioralism and operationalism. The 1927 philosophy of science book The Logic of Modern Physics in particular, which was originally intended for physicists, coined the term operational definition, which went on to dominate psychological method for the whole century. In economics, practising researchers tend to emulate the methodological assumptions of classical positivism, but only in a de facto fashion: the majority of economists do not explicitly concern themselves with matters of epistemology. In jurisprudence, "legal positivism" essentially refers to the rejection of natural law, thus its common meaning with philosophical positivism is somewhat attenuated and in recent generations generally emphasizes the authority of human political structures as opposed to a "scientific" view of law. In the early 1970s, urbanists of the positivist-quantitative school like David Harvey started to question the positivist approach itself, saying that the arsenal of scientific theories and methods developed so far in their camp was "incapable of saying anything of depth and profundity" on the real problems of contemporary cities.
In 1990s sociology
In contemporary social science, strong accounts of positivism have long since fallen out of favour. Practitioners of positivism today acknowledge in far greater detail observer bias and structural limitations. Modern positivists generally eschew metaphysical concerns in favor of methodological debates concerning clarity, replicability, reliability and validity. This positivism is generally equated with "quantitative research" and thus carries no explicit theoretical or philosophical commitments. The institutionalization of this kind of sociology is often credited to Paul Lazarsfeld, who pioneered large-scale survey studies and developed statistical techniques for analyzing them. This approach lends itself to what Robert K. Merton called middle-range theory: abstract statements that generalize from segregated hypotheses and empirical regularities rather than starting with an abstract idea of a social whole.
In 2000s sociology
Other new movements, such as critical realism, have emerged to reconcile the overarching aims of social science with various so-called 'postmodern' critiques./ There are now at least twelve distinct epistemologies that are referred to as positivism.
Auguste Comte (1798€1857) first described the epistemological perspective of positivism in The Course in Positive Philosophy, a series of texts published between 1830 and 1842. These texts were followed by the 1844 work, A General View of Positivism (published in French 1848, English in 1865). The first three volumes of the Course dealt chiefly with the physical sciences already in existence (mathematics, astronomy, physics, chemistry, biology), whereas the latter two emphasized the inevitable coming of social science. Observing the circular dependence of theory and observation in science, and classifying the sciences in this way, Comte may be regarded as the first philosopher of science in the modern sense of the term. For him, the physical sciences had necessarily to arrive first, before humanity could adequately channel its efforts into the most challenging and complex "Queen science" of human society itself. His View of Positivism therefore set-out to define the empirical goals of sociological method.
"The most important thing to determine was the natural order in which the sciences stand • not how they can be made to stand, but how they must stand, irrespective of the wishes of any one....This Comte accomplished by taking as the criterion of the position of each the degree of what he called "positivity," which is simply the degree to which the phenomena can be exactly determined. This, as may be readily seen, is also a measure of their relative complexity, since the exactness of a science is in inverse proportion to its complexity. The degree of exactness or positivity is, moreover, that to which it can be subjected to mathematical demonstration, and therefore mathematics, which is not itself a concrete science, is the general gauge by which the position of every science is to be determined. Generalizing thus, Comte found that there were five great groups of phenomena of equal classificatory value but of successively decreasing positivity. To these he gave the names astronomy, physics, chemistry, biology, and sociology." • Lester F. Ward, The Outlines of Sociology (1898), 
Positivism Comte offered an account of social evolution, proposing that society undergoes three phases in its quest for the truth according to a general 'law of three stages'. The idea bears some similarity to Marx's view that human society would progress toward a communist peak. This is perhaps unsurprising as both were profoundly influenced by the early Utopian socialist, Henri de Saint-Simon, who was at one time Comte's mentor. Both Comte and Marx intended to develop secular-scientific ideologies in the wake of European secularisation. Comte's stages were (1) the theological, (2) the metaphysical, and (3) the positive. The theological phase of man was based on whole-hearted belief in all things with reference to God. God, Comte says, had reigned supreme over human existence pre-Enlightenment. Humanity's place in society was governed by its association with the divine presences and with the church. The theological phase deals with humankind's accepting the doctrines of the church (or place of worship) rather than relying on its rational powers to explore basic questions about existence. It dealt with the restrictions put in place by the religious organization at the time and the total acceptance of any "fact" adduced for society to believe. Comte describes the metaphysical phase of humanity as the time since the Enlightenment, a time steeped in logical rationalism, to the time right after the French Revolution. This second phase states that the universal rights of humanity are most important. The central idea is that humanity is invested with certain rights that must be respected. In this phase, democracies and dictators rose and fell in attempts to maintain the innate rights of humanity. The final stage of the trilogy of Comte's universal law is the scientific, or positive, stage. The central idea of this phase is that individual rights are more important than the rule of any one person. Comte stated that the idea of humanity's ability to govern itself makes this stage innately different from the rest. There is no higher power governing the masses and the intrigue of any one person can achieve anything based on that individual's free will and authority. The third principle is most important in the positive stage. Comte calls these three phases the universal rule in relation to society and its development. Neither the second nor the third phase can be reached without the completion and understanding of the preceding stage. All stages must be completed in progress. Comte believed that the appreciation of the past and the ability to build on it towards the future was key in transitioning from the theological and metaphysical phases. The idea of progress was central to Comte's new science, sociology. Sociology would "lead to the historical consideration of every science" because "the history of one science, including pure political history, would make no sense unless it was attached to the study of the general progress of all of humanity". As Comte would say: "from science comes prediction; from prediction comes action." It is a philosophy of human intellectual development that culminated in science. The irony of this series of phases is that though Comte attempted to prove that human development has to go through these three stages, it seems that the positivist stage is far from becoming a realization. This is due to two truths. The positivist phase requires having a complete understanding of the universe and world around us and requires that society should never know if it is in this positivist phase. Anthony Giddens argues that since humanity constantly uses science to discover and research new things, humanity never progresses beyond the second metaphysical phase. In this view, Comte's positivism appears circular. Comte's fame today owes in part to Emile Littr‰, who founded The Positivist Review in 1867. As an approach to the philosophy of history, positivism was appropriated by historians such as Hippolyte Taine. Many of Comte's writings were translated into English by the Whig writer, Harriet Martineau, regarded by some as the first female sociologist. Debates continue to rage as to how much Comte appropriated from the work of his mentor, Saint-Simon. He was nevertheless influential: Brazilian thinkers turned to Comte's ideas about training a scientific elite in order to flourish in the
Positivist temple in Porto Alegre
Positivism industrialization process. Brazil's national motto, Ordem e Progresso ("Order and Progress") was taken from the positivism motto, "Love as principle, order as the basis, progress as the goal", which was also influential in Poland. In later life, Comte developed a 'religion of humanity' for positivist societies in order to fulfil the cohesive function once held by traditional worship. In 1849, he proposed a calendar reform called the 'positivist calendar'. For close associate John Stuart Mill, it was possible to distinguish between a "good Comte" (the author of the Course in Positive Philosophy) and a "bad Comte" (the author of the secular-religious system). The system was unsuccessful but met with the publication of Darwin's On the Origin of Species to influence the proliferation of various Secular Humanist organizations in the 19th century, especially through the work of secularists such as George Holyoake and Richard Congreve. Although Comte's English followers, including George Eliot and Harriet Martineau, for the most part rejected the full gloomy panoply of his system, they liked the idea of a religion of humanity and his injunction to "vivre pour autrui" ("live for others", from which comes the word "altruism"). The early sociology of Herbert Spencer came about broadly as a reaction to Comte; writing after various developments in evolutionary biology, Spencer attempted (in vain) to reformulate the discipline in what we might now describe as socially Darwinistic terms.
The modern academic discipline of sociology began with the work of ‡mile Durkheim (1858€1917). While Durkheim rejected much of the details of Comte's philosophy, he retained and refined its method, maintaining that the social sciences are a logical continuation of the natural ones into the realm of human activity, and insisting that they may retain the same objectivity, rationalism, and approach to causality. Durkheim set up the first European department of sociology at the University of Bordeaux in 1895, publishing his Rules of the Sociological Method (1895). In this text he argued: "[o]ur main goal is to extend scientific rationalism to human conduct... What has been called our positivism is but a consequence of this rationalism."  Durkheim's seminal monograph, Suicide (1897), a case study of suicide rates amongst Catholic and Protestant populations, distinguished sociological analysis from psychology or philosophy. By carefully examining suicide ‡mile Durkheim statistics in different police districts, he attempted to demonstrate that Catholic communities have a lower suicide rate than Protestants, something he attributed to social (as opposed to individual or psychological) causes. He developed the notion of objective sui generis "social facts" to delineate a unique empirical object for the science of sociology to study. Through such studies, he posited, sociology would be able to determine whether a given society is 'healthy' or 'pathological', and seek social reform to negate organic breakdown or "social anomie". Durkheim described sociology as the "science of institutions, their genesis and their functioning". Accounts of Durkheim's positivism are vulnerable to exaggeration and oversimplification: Comte was the only major sociological thinker to postulate that the social realm may be subject to scientific analysis in exactly the same way as natural science, whereas Durkheim saw a far greater need for a distinctly sociological scientific methodology. His lifework was fundamental in the establishment of practical social research as we know it today - techniques which continue beyond sociology and form the methodological basis of other social sciences, such as political science, as well of market research and other fields.
Antipositivism and critical theory
At the turn of the 20th century, the first wave of German sociologists formally introduced methodological antipositivism, proposing that research should concentrate on human cultural norms, values, symbols, and social processes viewed from a subjective perspective. Max Weber argued that sociology may be loosely described as a 'science' as it is able to identify causal relationships•especially among ideal types, or hypothetical simplifications of complex social phenomena. As a nonpositivist, however, one seeks relationships that are not as "ahistorical, invariant, or generalizable" as those pursued by natural scientists. Weber regarded sociology as the study of social action, using critical analysis and verstehen techniques. The sociologists Georg Simmel, Ferdinand Tˆnnies, George Herbert Mead, and Charles Cooley were also influential in the development of sociological antipositivism, whilst neo-Kantian philosophy, hermeneutics and phenomenology facilitated the movement in general. Karl Marx's theory of historical materialism and critical analysis drew upon positivism., a tradition which would continue in the development of critical theory. However, following in the tradition of both Weber and Marx, the critical theorist JŒrgen Habermas has critiqued pure instrumental rationality (in its relation to the cultural "rationalisation" of the modern West) as meaning that scientific thinking becomes something akin to ideology itself. Positivism may be espoused by 'technocrats' who believe in the inevitability of social progress through science and technology. New movements, such as critical realism, have emerged in order to reconcile postpositivist aims with various so-called 'postmodern' perspectives on the social acquisition of knowledge.
In the original Comtean usage, the term "positivism" roughly meant the use of scientific methods to uncover the laws according to which both physical and human events occur, while "sociology" was the overarching science that would synthesize all such knowledge for the betterment of society. "Positivism is a way of understanding based on science"; people don't rely on the faith of god but instead of the science behind humanity. "Antipositivism" formally dates back to the start of the twentieth century, and is based on the belief that natural and human sciences are ontologically and epistemologically distinct. Neither of these terms is any longer used in this meaning. There are no fewer than twelve distinct epistemologies that are referred to as positivism. Many of these approaches do not self-identify as "positivist", some because they themselves arose in opposition to older forms of positivism, and some because the label has over time become a term of abuse by being mistakenly linked with a theoretical empiricism. The extent of antipositivist criticism has also become broad, with many philosophies broadly rejecting the scientifically based social epistemology and other ones only seeking to amend it to reflect 20th century developments in the philosophy of science. However, positivism (understood as the use of scientific methods for studying society) remains the dominant approach to both the research and the theory construction in contemporary sociology, especially in the United States. The majority of articles published in leading American sociology and political science journals today are positivist (at least to the extent of being quantitative rather than qualitative). This popularity may be because research utilizing positivist quantitative methodologies holds a greater prestige in the social sciences than qualitative work. Such research is generally perceived as being more scientific and more trustworthy, and thus has a greater impact on policy and public opinion (though such judgments are frequently contested by scholars doing non-positivist work).
Logical positivism (later and more accurately called logical empiricism) is a school of philosophy that combines empiricism, the idea that observational evidence is indispensable for knowledge of the world, with a version of rationalism, the idea that our knowledge includes a component that is not derived from observation. Logical positivism grew from the discussions of a group called the "First Vienna Circle" which gathered at the Caf‰ Central before World War I. After the war Hans Hahn, a member of that early group, helped bring Moritz Schlick to Vienna. Schlick's Vienna Circle, along with Hans Reichenbach's Berlin Circle, propagated the new doctrines more widely in the 1920s and early 1930s. It was Otto Neurath's advocacy that made the movement self-conscious and more widely known. A 1929 pamphlet written by Neurath, Hahn, and Rudolf Carnap summarized the doctrines of the Vienna Circle at Moritz Schlick, the founding father of logical positivism and the Vienna Circle. that time. These included: the opposition to all metaphysics, especially ontology and synthetic a priori propositions; the rejection of metaphysics not as wrong but as having no meaning (by meaning positivists meant not empirically verifiable); a criterion of meaning based on Ludwig Wittgenstein's early work (which he later refuted); the idea that all knowledge should be codifiable in a single standard language of science; and above all the project of "rational reconstruction," in which ordinary-language concepts were gradually to be replaced by more precise equivalents in that standard language. However, the project is widely considered to have failed: The secondary and historical literature on logical positivism affords substantial grounds for concluding that logical positivism failed to solve many of the central problems it generated for itself. Prominent among the unsolved problems was the failure to find an acceptable statement of the verifiability (later confirmability) criterion of meaningfulness. Until a competing tradition emerged (about the late 1950's), the problems of logical positivism continued to be attacked from within that tradition. But as the new tradition in the philosophy of science began to demonstrate its effectiveness • by dissolving and rephrasing old problems as well as by generating new ones • philosophers began to shift allegiances to the new tradition, even though that tradition has yet to receive a canonical formulation. •L.D. Smith,†Behaviorism and Logical Positivism: A Reassessment of the Alliance In the early 1930s, the Vienna Circle dispersed, mainly because of fascist persecution and the untimely deaths of Hans Hahn and Schlick. The most prominent proponents of logical positivism emigrated to the United Kingdom and to the United States, where they considerably influenced American philosophy. Until the 1950s, logical positivism was the leading school in the philosophy of science. After moving to the United States, Carnap proposed a replacement for the earlier doctrines in his Logical Syntax of Language. This change of direction and the somewhat differing views of Reichenbach and others led to a consensus that the English name for the shared doctrinal platform, in its American exile from the late 1930s, should be "logical empiricism."
Within years of the publication of Comte's book A General View of Positivism (1848), other scientific and philosophical thinkers began creating their own definitions for positivism. They included ‡mile Zola, Emile Hennequin, Wilhelm Scherer, and Dimitri Pisarev. ‡mile Zola was an influential French novelist, the most important example of the literary school of naturalism, and a major figure in the political liberalization of France. Emile Hennequin was a Parisian publisher and writer who wrote theoretical and critical pieces. He "exemplified the tension between the positivist drive to systematize literary criticism and the unfettered imagination inherent in literature." He was one of the few thinkers who disagreed with the notion that subjectivity invalidates observation, judgment and prediction. Unlike many positivist thinkers before him, he believed that subjectivity does play a role in science and society. His contribution to positivism pertains not to science and its objectivity, but rather to the subjectivity of art and the way artists, their work, and audiences interrelate. Hennequin tried to analyze positivism strictly on the predictions, and the mechanical processes, but was perplexed due to the contradictions of the reactions of patrons to artwork that showed no scientific inclinations. Wilhelm Scherer was a German philologist, a university professor, and a popular literary historian. He was known as a positivist because he based much of his work on "hypotheses on detailed historical research, and rooted every literary phenomenon in 'objective' historical or philological facts". His positivism is different due to his involvement with his nationalist goals. His major contribution to the movement was his speculation that culture cycled in a six-hundred-year period. Dimitri Pisarev was a Russian critic who showed the greatest contradictions with his belief in positivism. His ideas focused around an imagination and style though he did not believe in romantic ideas because they reminded him of the oppressive tsarist government under which he lived. His basic beliefs were "an extreme anti-aesthetic scientistic position." He focused his efforts on defining the relation between literature and the environment. Stephen Hawking is a recent high profile advocate of positivism, at least in the physical sciences. In The Universe in a Nutshell (p.†31) he writes: Any sound scientific theory, whether of time or of any other concept, should in my opinion be based on the most workable philosophy of science: the positivist approach put forward by Karl Popper and others. According to this way of thinking, a scientific theory is a mathematical model that describes and codifies the observations we make. A good theory will describe a large range of phenomena on the basis of a few simple postulates and will make definite predictions that can be tested… If one takes the positivist position, as I do, one cannot say what time actually is. All one can do is describe what has been found to be a very good mathematical model for time and say what predictions it makes.
However, the claim that Popper was a positivist is a common misunderstanding that Popper himself termed the "Popper legend." In fact, he developed his views in stark opposition to and as a criticism of positivism and held that scientific theories talk about how the world really is, not, as positivists claim, about phenomena or observations experienced by scientists. In the same vein, continental philosophers like Theodore Adorno and JŒrgen Habermas regarded Popper as a positivist because of his alleged devotion to a unified science. However, this was also part of the "Popper legend"; Popper had in fact been the foremost critic of this doctrine of the Vienna Circle, critiquing it, for instance, in his "Conjectures and Refutations".
Positivism in science today
The key features of positivism as of the 1950s, as defined in the "received view", are: 1. A focus on science as a product, a linguistic or numerical set of statements; 2. A concern with axiomatization, that is, with demonstrating the logical structure and coherence of these statements; 3. An insistence on at least some of these statements being testable, that is amenable to being verified, confirmed, or falsified by the empirical observation of reality; statements that would, by their nature, be regarded as untestable included the teleological; thus positivism rejects much of classical metaphysics. 4. The belief that science is markedly cumulative; 5. The belief that science is predominantly transcultural; 6. The belief that science rests on specific results that are dissociated from the personality and social position of the investigator; 7. The belief that science contains theories or research traditions that are largely commensurable; 8. The belief that science sometimes incorporates new ideas that are discontinuous from old ones; 9. The belief that science involves the idea of the unity of science, that there is, underlying the various scientific disciplines, basically one science about one real world. Positivism is elsewhere defined as "the view that all true knowledge is scientific," and that all things are ultimately measurable. Positivism is closely related to reductionism, in that both involve the view that "entities of one kind... are reducible to entities of another," such as societies to configurations of individuals, or mental events to neural phenomena. It also involves the contention that "processes are reducible to physiological, physical or chemical events," and even that "social processes are reducible to relationships between and actions of individuals," or that "biological organisms are reducible to physical systems." While most social scientists today are not explicit about their epistemological commitments, articles in top American sociology and political science journals generally follow a positivist logic of argument. It can be thus argued that "natural science and social science [research articles] can therefore be regarded with a good deal of confidence as members of the same genre".
Historically, positivism has been criticized for its reductionism, i.e. for contending that all "processes are reducible to physiological, physical or chemical events," "social processes are reducible to relationships between and actions of individuals," and that "biological organisms are reducible to physical systems." Max Horkheimer criticized the classic formulation of positivism on two grounds. First, he claimed that it falsely represented human social action. The first criticism argued that positivism systematically failed to appreciate the extent to which the so-called social facts it yielded did not exist 'out there', in the objective world, but were themselves a product of socially and historically mediated human consciousness. Positivism ignored the role of the 'observer' in the constitution of social reality and thereby failed to consider the historical and social conditions affecting the representation of social ideas. Positivism falsely represented the object of study by reifying social reality as existing objectively and independently and labor actually produced those conditions. Secondly, he argued, representation of social reality produced by positivism was inherently and artificially conservative, helping to support the status quo, rather than challenging it. This character may also explain the popularity of positivism in certain political circles. Horkheimer argued, in contrast, that critical theory possessed a reflexive element lacking in the positivistic traditional theory. Some scholars today hold the views critiqued in Horkheimer's work, but since the time of his writing critiques of positivism, especially from philosophy of science, have led to the development of postpositivism. This philosophy greatly relaxes the epistemological commitments of logical positivism and no longer claims a separation between the
Positivism knower and the known. Rather than dismissing the scientific project outright, postpositivists seek to transform and amend it, though the exact extent of their affinity for science varies vastly. For example, some postpositivists accept the critique that observation is always value-laden, but argue that the best values to adopt for sociological observation are those of science: skepticism, rigor and modesty. Just as some critical theorists see their position as a moral commitment to egalitarian values; these postpositivists see their methods as driven by a moral commitment to these scientific values. Such scholars may see themselves as either positivists or antipositivists. Positivism has also come under fire on religious and philosophical grounds, whose proponents state that truth begins in sense experience, but does not end there. Positivism fails to prove that there are not abstract ideas, laws, and principles, beyond particular observable facts and relationships and necessary principles, or that we cannot know them. Nor does it prove that material and corporeal things constitute the whole order of existing beings, and that our knowledge is limited to them. According to positivism, our abstract concepts or general ideas are mere collective representations of the experimental order • for example; the idea of "man" is a kind of blended image of all the men observed in our experience. This runs contrary to a Platonic or Christian ideal, where an idea can be abstracted from any concrete determination, and may be applied identically to an indefinite number of objects of the same class. From the idea's perspective, the latter is more precise as collective images are more or less confused, become more so as the collection represented increases; an idea by definition remains always clear. Echoes of the "positivist" and "antipositivist" debate persist today, though this conflict is hard to define. Authors writing in different epistemological perspectives do not phrase their disagreements in the same terms and rarely actually speak directly to each other. To complicate the issues further, few practicing scholars explicitly state their epistemological commitments, and their epistemological position thus has to be guessed from other sources such as choice of methodology or theory. However, no perfect correspondence between these categories exists, and many scholars critiqued as "positivists" actually hold postpositivist views. One scholar has described this debate in terms of the social construction of the "other", with each side defining the other by what it is not rather than what it is, and then proceeding to attribute far greater homogeneity to their opponents than actually exists. Thus, it is better to understand this not as a debate but as two different arguments: the "antipositivist" articulation of a social meta-theory which includes a philosophical critique of scientism, and "positivist" development of a scientific research methodology for sociology with accompanying critiques of the reliability and validity of work that they see as violating such standards.
 John J. Macionis, Linda M. Gerber, "Sociology", Seventh Canadian Edition, Pearson Canada  Jorge Larrain (1979) The Concept of Ideology p.197 (http:/ / books. google. com/ books?id=9ocOAAAAQAAJ& pg=PA197), quotation:
one of the features of positivism is precisely its postulate that scientific knowledge is the paradigm of valid knowledge, a postulate that indeed is never proved nor intended to be proved.
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Positivism is marked by the final recognition that science provides the only valid form of knowledge and that facts are the only possible objects of knowledge; philosophy is thus recognized as essentially no different from science [...] Ethics, politics, social interactions, and all other forms of human life about which knowledge was possible would eventually be drawn into the orbit of science [...] The positivists' program for mapping the inexorable and immutable laws of matter and society seemed to allow no greater role for the contribution of poets than had Plato. [...] What Plato represented as the quarrel between philosophy and poetry is resuscitated in the "two cultures" quarrel of more recent times between the humanities and the sciences.
 Saunders, T. J. Introduction to Ion. London: Penguin Books, 1987, p.46
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Heisenberg (1969) The Part and The Whole  Raymond Boudon and FranŽois Bourricaud, A Critical Dictionary of Sociology (http:/ / books. google. gr/ books?id=O9ae9kWCtHkC& pg=PA198), Routledge, 1989: "Historicism", p. 198.  Wallace and Gach (2008) p.28 (http:/ / books. google. com/ books?id=64Y6wtqzs7IC& pg=PA28)  Koch, Sigmund (1992) Psychology's Bridgman vs. Bridgman's Bridgman: An Essay in Reconstruction., in Theory and Psychology vol. 2 no. 3 (1992) p. 275  Lawrence A. Boland, Economic Positivism 2012. (http:/ / www. positivists. org/ 44. html)  Portugali, Juval and Han Meyer, Egbert Stolk (2012) Complexity Theories of Cities Have Come of Age p.51 (http:/ / books. google. com/ books?id=2VZCQhvfBpIC& pg=PA51)  Gartell, David, and Gartell, John. 1996. "Positivism in sociological practice: 1967-1990". Canadian Review of Sociology, Vol. 33 No. 2.  Wacquant, Loic. 1992. "Positivism." In Bottomore, Tom and William Outhwaite, ed., The Blackwell Dictionary of Twentieth-Century Social Thought  Boudon, Raymond. 1991. "Review: What Middle-Range Theories are". Contemporary Sociology, Vol. 20 Num. 4 pp 519-522.  Macionis, John (2011). Sociology. Pearson Education Canada. pp.†688. ISBN†0-13-800270-3.  Straker, David. "Positivism" (http:/ / changingminds. org/ explanations/ research/ philosophies/ positivism. htm). changingminds.org. . Retrieved 21 February 2012.  Halfpenny, Peter. Positivism and Sociology: Explaining Social Life. London:Allen and Unwin, 1982.  http:/ / plato. stanford. edu/ entries/ comte/ Stanford Encyclopaedia: Auguste Comte  Durkheim, Emile. 1895. The Rules of the Sociological Method. Cited in Wacquant (1992).  Giddens, Positivism and Sociology, 1  Mill, Auguste Comte and Positivism 3  Mises, Positivism: A Study In Human Understanding,5  Mill, Auguste Comte and Positivism, 4  Giddens, Positivism and Sociology, 9  Mary Pickering, Auguste Comte: An Intellectual Biography, Volume I, 622  Mary Pickering, Auguste Comte: An Intellectual Biography, Volume I, 566  Pickering, Mary (1993) Auguste Comte: an intellectual biography Cambridge University Press, pp. 192  "Comte's secular religion is no vague effusion of humanistic piety, but a complete system of belief and ritual, with liturgy and sacraments, priesthood and pontiff, all organized around the public veneration of Humanity, the Nouveau Grand-†tre Supr‡me (New Supreme Great Being), later to be supplemented in a positivist trinity by the Grand Fƒtish (the Earth) and the Grand Milieu (Destiny)" According to Davies (p. 28-29), Comte's austere and "slightly dispiriting" philosophy of humanity viewed as alone in an indifferent universe (which can only be explained by "positive" science) and with nowhere to turn but to each other, was even more influential in Victorian England than the theories of Charles Darwin or Karl Marx.  Gianfranco Poggi (2000). Durkheim. Oxford: Oxford University Press.  Durkheim, ‡mile  "The Rules of Sociological Method" 8th edition, trans. Sarah A. Solovay and John M. Mueller, ed. George E. G. Catlin (1938, 1964 edition), pp. 45  Ashley D, Orenstein DM (2005). Sociological theory: Classical statements (6th ed.). Boston, MA, USA: Pearson Education. pp.†94€98, 100€104.  Ashley D, Orenstein DM (2005). Sociological theory: Classical statements (6th ed.). Boston, MA, USA: Pearson Education. pp.†239€240.  Ashley D, Orenstein DM (2005). Sociological theory: Classical statements (6th ed.). Boston, MA, USA: Pearson Education. p.†241.  "Main Currents of Marxism" by Leszek Kolakowski page 331, 327,  Schunk, Learning Theories: An Educational Perspective, 5th, 315  Outhwaite, William, 1988 Habermas: Key Contemporary Thinkers, Polity Press (Second Edition 2009), ISBN 978-0-7456-4328-1 p.68  Holmes, Richard. 1997. "Genre analysis, and the social sciences: An investigation of the structure of research article discussion sections in three disciplines" English For Specific Purposes, vol. 16, num. 4:321-337.  Brett, Paul. 1994. "A genre analysis of the results section of sociology articles". English For Specific Purposes. Vol 13, Num 1:47-59.  Linda Grant, Kathryn B. Ward and Xue Lan Rong Is There An Association between Gender and Methods in Sociological Research? in American Sociological Review Vol. 52, No. 6 (Dec., 1987), pp. 856-862 . JSTOR†2095839.  Bunge, M.A. (1996). Finding Philosophy in Social Science (http:/ / books. google. com/ books?id=8YAV43gVMsIC& pg=PA317). Yale University Press. p.†317. ISBN†9780300066067. LCCN†lc96004399. . "To conclude, logical positivism was progressive compared with the
classical positivism of Ptolemy, Hume, d'Alembert, Compte, Mill, and Mach. It was even more so by comparison with its contemporary rivals • neo-Thomisism, neo-Kantianism, intuitionism, dialectical materialism, phenomenology, and existentialism. However, neo-positivism failed dismally to give a faithful account of science, whether natural or social. It failed because it remained anchored to sense-data and to a phenomenalist metaphysics, overrated the power of induction and underrated that of hypothesis, and denounced realism and materialism as metaphysical nonsense. Although it has never been practiced consistently in the advanced natural sciences and has been criticized by many philosophers, notably Popper (1959 , 1963), logical positivism remains the tacit philosophy of many scientists. Regrettably, the anti-positivism fashionable in the metatheory of social science is often nothing but an excuse for sloppiness and wild speculation."  "Popper, Falsifiability, and the Failure of Positivism" (http:/ / www. drury. edu/ ess/ philsci/ popper. html). 7 August 2000. . Retrieved 30 June 2012. "The upshot is that the positivists seem caught between insisting on the V.C. [Verifiability Criterion] • but for no defensible reason • or admitting that the V.C. requires a background language, etc., which opens the door to relativism, etc. In light of this dilemma, many folk • especially following Popper's "last-ditch" effort to "save" empiricism/positivism/realism with the falsifiability criterion • have agreed that positivism is a dead-end."  Smith, L.D. (1986). Behaviorism and Logical Positivism: A Reassessment of the Alliance (http:/ / books. google. com/ books?id=IZ6aAAAAIAAJ& pg=PA314). Stanford University Press. p.†314. ISBN†9780804713016. LCCN†85030366. .  Karl Popper, The Logic of Scientific Discovery, 1934, 1959 (1st English ed.)  Karl Popper, Conjectures and Refutations, p256 Routledge, London, 1963  Hacking, I. (ed.) 1981. Scientific revolutions. - Oxford Univ. Press, New York.  Alan Bullock and Stephen Trombley, [Eds] The Fontana Dictionary of Modern Thought, London: Harper-Collins, 1999, pp.669-737  Fagan, Andrew. "Theodor Adorno (1903-1969)" (http:/ / www. iep. utm. edu/ adorno/ ). Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy. . Retrieved 24 February 2012.  Tittle, Charles. 2004. "The Arrogance of Public Sociology". Social Forces, June 2004, 82(4)  Hanson, Barbara. 2008. "Wither Qualitative/Quantitative?: Grounds for Methodological Convergence." Quality and Quantity 42:97-111.  Bryman, Alan. 1984. "The Debate about Quantitative and Qualitative Research: A Question of Method or Epistemology?." The British Journal of Sociology 35:75-92.
‹ Amory, Frederic."Euclides da Cunha and Brazilian Positivism", Luso-Brazilian Review. Vol. 36, No. 1 (Summer, 1999), pp.†87€94. ‹ Giddens, Anthony. Positivism and Sociology. Heinemann. London. 1974. ‹ Gilson, Gregory D. and Irving W. Levinson, eds. Latin American Positivism: New Historical and Philosophic Essays (Lexington Books; 2012) 197 pages; Essays on positivism in the intellectual and political life of Brazil, Colombia, and Mexico, ‹ Kremer-Marietti, Ang…le. L'Anthropologie positiviste d'Auguste Comte, Librairie Honor‰ Champion, Paris, 1980. ‹ Kremer-Marietti, Ang…le. Le positivisme, Collection "Que sais-je?",Paris, PUF, 1982. ‹ LeGouis, Catherine. Positivism and Imagination: Scientism and Its Limits in Emile Hennequin, Wilhelm Scherer and Dmitril Pisarev. Bucknell University Press. London: 1997. ‹ Mill, John Stuart. August Comte and Positivism (http://www.gutenberg.org/etext/16833). ‹ Mises, Richard von. Positivism: A Study In Human Understanding. Harvard University Press. Cambridge; Massachusetts: 1951. ‹ Pickering, Mary. Auguste Comte: An Intellectual Biography. Cambridge University Press. Cambridge, England; 1993. ‹ Richard Rorty (1982) Consequences of Pragmatism (http://www.marxists.org/reference/subject/philosophy/ works/us/rorty.htm) ‹ Schunk, Dale H. Learning Theories: An Educational Perspective, 5th. Pearson, Merrill Prentice Hall. 1991, 1996, 2000, 2004, 2008. ‹ "Positivism." Marxists Internet Archive. Web. 23 Feb. 2012. < http://www.marxists.org/reference/subject/ philosophy/help/mach1.htm>.
‹ ‹ ‹ ‹ ‹ ‹ ‹ Soci‰t‰ Positiviste Internationale, Paris (http://membres.lycos.fr/clotilde/) Parana, Brazil (http://www.palm.com.br/cpp/frameset.htm) Porto Alegre, Brazil (http://www.positivismors.blogspot.com/) Rio de Janeiro, Brazil (http://www.igrejapositivistabrasil.org.br/) Posnan, Poland (http://www.pozytywista.pl/) Positivists Worldwide (http://positivists.org/) Maison d'Auguste Comte, France (http://www.augustecomte.org/)
Antipositivism (also known as interpretivism or interpretive sociology) is the view in social science that the social realm may not be subject to the same methods of investigation as the natural world; that academics must reject empiricism and the scientific method in the conduct of social research. Antipositivists hold that researchers should focus on understanding the interpretations that social actions have for the people being studied. Antipositivism relates to various historical debates in the philosophy and sociology of science. In modern practice, however, interpretivism may be equated with qualitative research methods, while positivist research is more quantitative. Positivists typically use research methods such as experiments and statistical surveys, while antipositivists use research methods which rely more on ethnographic fieldwork, conversation/discourse analysis or open-ended interviews. Positivist and antipositivist methods are sometimes combined.
In the early 19th century various intellectuals, perhaps most notably the Hegelians, began to question the prospect of empirical social analysis. Karl Marx died before the establishment of formal social science but nonetheless fiercely rejected Comtean sociological positivism (despite himself attempting to establish a historical materialist 'science of society'). The enhanced positivism presented by Durkheim would serve to found modern academic sociology and social research, yet retained many of the mechanical elements of its predecessor. Hermeneuticians such as Wilhelm Dilthey theorized in detail on the distinction between natural and social science ('Geisteswissenschaft'), whilst neo-Kantian philosophers such as Heinrich Rickert maintained that the social realm, with its abstract meanings and symbolisms, is inconsistent with scientific methods of analysis. Edmund Husserl, meanwhile, negated positivism through the rubric of phenomenology. At the turn of the 20th century, the first wave of German sociologists formally introduced verstehende sociological antipositivism, proposing research should concentrate on human cultural norms, values, symbols, and social processes viewed from a resolutely subjective perspective. Max Weber argued sociology may be loosely described as a 'science' as it is able to methodologically identify causal relationships of human "social action"•especially among ideal types, or hypothetical simplifications of complex social phenomena. As an antipositivist, however, one seeks relationships that are not as "ahistorical, invariant, or generalizable" as those pursued by natural scientists. Ferdinand Tˆnnies discussed Gemeinschaft and Gesellschaft (lit. community and society) as the two normal types of human association. For the antipositivists, reality cannot be explained without concepts. Tˆnnies drew a sharp line between the realm of conceptuality and the reality of social action: the first must be treated axiomatically and in a deductive way ('pure' sociology), whereas the second empirically and in an inductive way ('applied' sociology). The interaction between theory (or constructed concepts) and data is always fundamental in social science and this subjection distinguishes it from physical science. Durkheim himself noted the importance of constructing concepts in the abstract (e.g. "collective consciousness" and "social anomie") in order to form workable categories for
Antipositivism experimentation. Both Weber and Georg Simmel pioneered the verstehen (or 'interpretative') approach toward social science; a systematic process in which an outside observer attempts to relate to a particular cultural group, or indigenous people, on their own terms and from their own point of view. [Sociology is ] ... the science whose object is to interpret the meaning of social action and thereby give a causal explanation of the way in which the action proceeds and the effects which it produces. By 'action' in this definition is meant the human behaviour when and to the extent the agent or agents see it as subjectively meaningful ... the meaning to which we refer may be either (a) the meaning actually intended either by an individual agent on a particular historical occasion or by a number of agents on an approximate average in a given set of cases, or (b) the meaning attributed to the agent or agents, as types, in a pure type constructed in the abstract. In neither case is the 'meaning' thought of as somehow objectively 'correct' or 'true' by some metaphysical criterion. This is the difference between the empirical sciences of action, such as sociology and history, and any kind of a priori discipline, such as jurisprudence, logic, ethics, or aesthetics whose aim is to extract from their subject-matter 'correct' or 'valid' meaning. •Max Weber,†The Nature of Social Action 1922  Through the work of Simmel, in particular, sociology acquired a possible character beyond positivist data-collection or grand, deterministic systems of structural law. Relatively isolated from the sociological academy throughout his lifetime, Simmel presented idiosyncratic analyses of modernity more reminiscent of the phenomenological and existential writers than of Comte or Durkheim, paying particular concern to the forms of, and possibilities for, social individuality. His sociology engaged in a neo-Kantian critique of the limits of human perception. One may say Michel Foucault's critiques of the human sciences take Kantian scepticism to its extreme over half a century later. Antipositivism thus holds there is no methodological unity of the sciences: the three goals of positivism description, control, and prediction - are incomplete, since they lack any understanding. Some argue, even if positivism were correct, it would be dangerous. Science aims at understanding causality so control can be exerted. If this succeeded in sociology, those with knowledge would be able to control the ignorant and this could lead to social engineering. The perspective, however, has led to controversy over how one can draw the line between subjective and objective research, much less draw an artificial line between environment and human organization (see environmental sociology), and influenced the study of hermeneutics. The base concepts of antipositivism have expanded beyond the scope of social science, in fact, phenomenology has the same basic principles at its core. Simply put, positivists see sociology as a science, while anti-positivists don't. The antipositivist tradition continued in the establishment of critical theory, particularly the work associated with the 'Frankfurt School' of social research. Antipositivism would be further facilitated by rejections of 'scientism'; or science as ideology. JŒrgen Habermas argues, in his On the Logic of the Social Sciences (1967), that "the positivist thesis of unified science, which assimilates all the sciences to a natural-scientific model, fails because of the intimate relationship between the social sciences and history, and the fact that they are based on a situation-specific understanding of meaning that can be explicated only hermeneutically ... access to a symbolically prestructured reality cannot be gained by observation alone."
    Gerber, John J. Macionis, Linda M.. Sociology (7th Canadian ed. ed.). Toronto: Pearson Canada. pp.†32. ISBN†978-0-13-700161-3. . ISBN†978-0-13-700161-3. Antipositivism (http:/ / www. museumstuff. com/ learn/ topics/ antipositivism) on Museum of Learning Zbigniew A. Jordan (1967). The Evolution of Dialectical Materialism: A Philosophical and Sociological Analysis. New York, NY, USA: Macmillan. pp.†131, 321. (http:/ / www. marxists. org/ reference/ subject/ philosophy/ works/ en/ jordan2. htm) (http:/ / books. google. com/ books?id=l2MHAQAAIAAJ& q="science+ of+ society"#search_anchor)  Outhwaite, William, 1988 Habermas: Key Contemporary Thinkers, Polity Press (Second Edition 2009), ISBN 978-0-7456-4328-1 p.20-25  Ashley D, Orenstein DM (2005). Sociological theory: Classical statements (6th ed.). Boston, MA, USA: Pearson Education. pp.†239€240.  Ashley D, Orenstein DM (2005). Sociological theory: Classical statements (6th ed.). Boston, MA, USA: Pearson Education. p.†241.  Weber, Max The Nature of Social Action in Runciman, W.G. 'Weber: Selections in Translation' Cambridge University Press, 1991. p7.  Levine, Donald (ed) 'Simmel: On individuality and social forms' Chicago University Press, 1971. pxix.  Levine, Donald (ed) 'Simmel: On individuality and social forms' Chicago University Press, 1971. p6.  Antipositivism (http:/ / psychology. wikia. com/ wiki/ Antipositivism) on Wikia  Outhwaite, William, 1988 Habermas: Key Contemporary Thinkers, Polity Press (Second Edition 2009), ISBN 978-0-7456-4328-1 p.22
Structural functionalism, or simply functionalism, is a framework for building theory that sees society as a complex system whose parts work together to promote solidarity and stability. This approach looks at society through a macro-level orientation, which is a broad focus on the social structures that shape society as a whole, and believes that society has evolved like organisms. This approach looks at both social structure and social functions. Functionalism addresses society as a whole in terms of the function of its constituent elements; namely norms, customs, traditions, and institutions. A common analogy, popularized by Herbert Spencer, presents these parts of society as "organs" that work toward the proper functioning of the "body" as a whole. In the most basic terms, it simply emphasizes "the effort to impute, as rigorously as possible, to each feature, custom, or practice, its effect on the functioning of a supposedly stable, cohesive system". For Talcott Parsons, "structural-functionalism" came to describe a particular stage in the methodological development of social science, rather than a specific school of thought. The structural functionalism approach is a macrosociological analysis, with a broad focus on social structures that shape society as a whole.
Classical theories are defined by a tendency towards biological analogy and notions of social evolutionism: Functionalist thought, from Comte onwards, has looked particularly towards biology as the science providing the closest and most compatible model for social science. Biology has been taken to provide a guide to conceptualizing the structure and the function of social systems and to analyzing processes of evolution via mechanisms of adaptation ... functionalism strongly emphasises the pre-eminence of the social world over its individual parts (i.e. its constituent actors, human subjects). •Anthony Giddens,†The Constitution of Society 1984  Whilst one may regard functionalism as a logical extension of the organic analogies for society presented by political philosophers such as Rousseau, sociology draws firmer attention to those institutions unique to industrialised capitalist society (or modernity). Functionalism also has an anthropological basis in the work of theorists such as Marcel Mauss, BronisŠaw Malinowski and Radcliffe-Brown. It is in Radcliffe-Brown's specific usage that the prefix 'structural' emerged.
Radcliffe-Brown proposed that most stateless, "primitive" societies, lacking strong centralised institutions, are based on an association of corporate-descent groups. Structural functionalism also took on Malinowski's argument that the basic building block of society is the nuclear family , and that the clan is an outgrowth, not vice versa. Durkheim was concerned with the question of how certain societies maintain internal stability and survive over time. He proposed that such societies tend to be segmented, with equivalent parts held together by shared values, common symbols or, as his nephew Marcel Mauss held, systems of exchanges. Durkheim used the term "mechanical solidarity" to refer to these types of "social bonds, based on common sentiments & shared moral values, that are strong among members of pre-industrial societies". In modern, complicated societies, members perform very different tasks, resulting in a strong interdependence. Based on the metaphor above of an organism in which many parts function together to sustain the whole, Durkheim argued that complicated societies are held ‡mile Durkheim together by organic solidarity. This second concept is also called "organic solidarity" and refers to "social bonds, based on specialization and interdependence, that are strong among members of industrial societies". These views were upheld by Durkheim, who, following Comte, believed that society constitutes a separate "level" of reality, distinct from both biological and inorganic matter. Explanations of social phenomena had therefore to be constructed within this level, individuals being merely transient occupants of comparatively stable social roles. The central concern of structural functionalism is a continuation of the Durkheimian task of explaining the apparent stability and internal cohesion needed by societies to endure over time. Societies are seen as coherent, bounded and fundamentally relational constructs that function like organisms, with their various (or social institutions) working together in an unconscious, quasi-automatic fashion toward achieving an overall social equilibrium. All social and cultural phenomena are therefore seen as functional in the sense of working together, and are effectively deemed to have "lives" of their own. They are primarily analyzed in terms of this function. The individual is significant not in and of himself, but rather in terms of his status, his position in patterns of social relations, and the behaviours associated with his status. Therefore, the social structure is the network of statuses connected by associated roles. It is simplistic to equate the perspective directly with political conservatism. The tendency to emphasise "cohesive systems", however, leads functionalist theories to be contrasted with "conflict theories" which instead emphasize social problems and inequalities.
Auguste Comte, the "Father of Positivism", pointed out the need to keep society unified as many traditions were diminishing. He was the first person to coin the term sociology. Auguste Comte suggests that sociology is the product of a three-stage development. 1. Theological Stage: From the beginning of human history until the end of the European Middle Ages, people took a religious view that society expressed God's will. In the theological state, the human mind, seeking the essential nature of beings, the first and final causes (the origin and purpose) of all effects•in short, absolute knowledge•supposes all phenomena to be produced by the immediate action of supernatural beings. 2. Metaphysical Stage: People began seeing society as a natural system as opposed to the supernatural. Began with the Enlightenment and the ideas of Hobbes, Locke,and Rousseau. Reflected the failings of a selfish human nature rather than the perfection of God. 3. Scientific Stage: Describing society through the application of the scientific approach, which draws on the work of scientists.
Herbert Spencer (1820€1903), a British philosopher famous for applying the theory of natural selection to society. He was in many ways the first true sociological functionalist. In fact, while Durkheim is widely considered the most important functionalist among positivist theorists, it is well known that much of his analysis was culled from reading Spencer's work, especially his Principles of Sociology (1874€96). Spencer allude society to the analogy of human body. Just as the structural parts of the human body - the skeleton, muscles, and various internal organs function independently to help the entire organism survive, social structures work together to preserve society. While most avoid the tedious tasks of reading Spencer's massive volumes (filled as they are with long passages explicating the organic analogy, with reference to cells, simple organisms, animals, humans and society), there are some important insights that have quietly influenced many contemporary theorists, including Talcott Parsons, in his early work "The Structure of Social Action" (1937). Cultural anthropology also consistently uses functionalism.
This evolutionary model, unlike most 19th century evolutionary theories, is cyclical, beginning with the differentiation and increasing complication of an organic or "super-organic" (Spencer's term for a social system) body, followed by a fluctuating state of equilibrium and disequilibrium (or a state of adjustment and adaptation), and, finally, the stage of disintegration or dissolution. Following Thomas Malthus' population principles, Spencer concluded that society is constantly facing selection pressures (internal and external) that force it to adapt its internal structure through differentiation. Every solution, however, causes a new set of selection pressures that threaten society's viability. It should be noted that Spencer was not a determinist in the sense that he never said that
Structural functionalism 1. Selection pressures will be felt in time to change them; 2. They will be felt and reacted to; or 3. The solutions will always work. In fact, he was in many ways a political sociologist, and recognized that the degree of centralized and consolidated authority in a given polity could make or break its ability to adapt. In other words, he saw a general trend towards the centralization of power as leading to stagnation and ultimately, pressures to decentralize. More specifically, Spencer recognized three functional needs or prerequisites that produce selection pressures: they are regulatory, operative (production) and distributive. He argued that all societies need to solve problems of control and coordination, production of goods, services and ideas, and, finally, to find ways of distributing these resources. Initially, in tribal societies, these three needs are inseparable, and the kinship system is the dominant structure that satisfies them. As many scholars have noted, all institutions are subsumed under kinship organization, but, with increasing population (both in terms of sheer numbers and density), problems emerge with regard to feeding individuals, creating new forms of organization • consider the emergent division of labour •, coordinating and controlling various differentiated social units, and developing systems of resource distribution. The solution, as Spencer sees it, is to differentiate structures to fulfill more specialized functions; thus a chief or "big man" emerges, soon followed by a group of lieutenants, and later kings and administrators. The structural parts of society (ex. families, work) function interdependently to help society function. Therefore, social structures work together to preserve society. Perhaps Spencer's greatest obstacle that is being widely discussed in modern sociology is the fact that much of his social philosophy is rooted in the social and historical context of Ancient Egypt. He coined the term "survival of the fittest" in discussing the simple fact that small tribes or societies tend to be defeated or conquered by larger ones. Of course, many sociologists still use him (knowingly or otherwise) in their analyses, especially due to the recent re-emergence of evolutionary theory.
Talcott Parsons was heavily influenced by Emile Durkheim and Max Weber, synthesizing much of their work into his action theory, which he based on the system-theoretical concept and the methodological principle of voluntary action. He held that "the social system is made up of the actions of individuals." His starting point, accordingly, is the interaction between two individuals faced with a variety of choices about how they might act, choices that are influenced and constrained by a number of physical and social factors. Parsons determined that each individual has expectations of the other's action and reaction to his own behaviour, and that these expectations would (if successful) be "derived" from the accepted norms and values of the society they inhabit. As Parsons himself emphasized, in a general context there would never exist any perfect "fit" between behaviours and norms, so such a relation is never complete or "perfect." Social norms were always problematic for Parsons, who never claimed (as has often been alleged) that social norms were generally accepted and agreed upon, should this prevent some kind of universal law. Whether social norms were accepted or not was for Parsons simply a historical question. As behaviours are repeated in more interactions, and these expectations are entrenched or institutionalized, a role is created. Parsons defines a "role" as the normatively-regulated participation "of a person in a concrete process of social interaction with specific, concrete role-partners." Although any individual, theoretically, can fulfill any role, the individual is expected to conform to the norms governing the nature of the role they fulfill. Furthermore, one person can and does fulfill many different roles at the same time. In one sense, an individual can be seen to be a "composition" of the roles he inhabits. Certainly, today, when asked to describe themselves, most people would answer with reference to their societal roles.
Structural functionalism Parsons later developed the idea of roles into collectivities of roles that complement each other in fulfilling functions for society. Some roles are bound up in institutions and social structures (economic, educational, legal and even gender-based). These are functional in the sense that they assist society in operating and fulfilling its functional needs so that society runs smoothly. Contrary to prevailing myth, Parsons never spoke about a society where there was no conflict or some kind of "perfect" equilibrium. A society's cultural value-system was in the typical case never completely integrated, never static and most of the time, like in the case of the American society in a complex state of transformation relative to its historical point of departure. To reach a "perfect" equilibrium was not any serious theoretical question in Parsons analysis of social systems, indeed, the most dynamic societies had generally cultural systems with important inner tensions like the US and India. These tensions were (quite often) a source of their strength according to Parsons rather than the opposite. Parsons never thought about system-institutionalization and the level of strains (tensions, conflict) in the system as opposite forces per se. The key processes for Parsons for system reproduction are socialization and social control. Socialization is important because it is the mechanism for transferring the accepted norms and values of society to the individuals within the system. Parsons never spoke about "perfect socialization"•in any society socialization was only partial and "incomplete" from an integral point of view. Parson states that "this point [...] is independent of the sense in which [the] individual is concretely autonomous or creative rather than 'passive' or 'conforming', for individuality and creativity, are to a considerable extent, phenomena of the institutionalization of expectations"; they are culturally constructed. Socialization is supported by the positive and negative sanctioning of role behaviours that do or do not meet these expectations. A punishment could be informal, like a snigger or gossip, or more formalized, through institutions such as prisons and mental homes. If these two processes were perfect, society would become static and unchanging, but in reality this is unlikely to occur for long. Parsons recognizes this, stating that he treats "the structure of the system as problematic and subject to change," and that his concept of the tendency towards equilibrium "does not imply the empirical dominance of stability over change." He does, however, believe that these changes occur in a relatively smooth way. Individuals in interaction with changing situations adapt through a process of "role bargaining." Once the roles are established, they create norms that guide further action and are thus institutionalised, creating stability across social interactions. Where the adaptation process cannot adjust, due to sharp shocks or immediate radical change, structural dissolution occurs and either new structures (or therefore a new system) are formed, or society dies. This model of social change has been described as a "moving equilibrium," and emphasises a desire for social order.
Davis and Moore
Kingsley Davis and Wilbert E. Moore (1945) gave an argument for social stratification based on the idea of "functional necessity" (also known as the Davis-Moore hypothesis). They argue that the most difficult jobs in any society have the highest incomes in order to motivate individuals to fill the roles needed by the division of labour. Thus inequality serves social stability. This argument has been criticized as fallacious from a number of different angles: the argument is both that the individuals who are the most deserving are the highest rewarded, and that a system of unequal rewards is necessary, otherwise no individuals would perform as needed for the society to function. The problem is that these rewards are supposed to be based upon objective merit, rather than subjective "motivations." The argument also does not clearly establish why some positions are worth more than others, even when they benefit more people in society, e.g., teachers compared to athletes and movie stars. Critics have suggested that structural inequality (inherited wealth, family power, etc.) is itself a cause of individual success or failure, not a consequence of it.
Robert K. Merton was a functionalist. He fundamentally agreed with Parsons‚ theory. However, he acknowledged that it was problematic, believing that it was over generalized [Holmwood, 2005:100]. Merton tended to emphasize middle range theory rather than a grand theory, meaning that he was able to deal specifically with some of the limitations in Parsons‚ theory. Merton believed that any social structure probably has many functions, some more obvious than others. He identified 3 main limitations: functional unity, universal functionalism and indispensability [Ritzer in Gingrich, 1999]. He also developed the concept of deviance and made the distinction between manifest and latent functions. Manifest functions referred to the recognized and intended consequences of any social pattern. Latent functions referred to unrecognized and unintended consequences of any social pattern. Merton criticized functional unity, saying that not all parts of a modern complex society work for the functional unity of society. Consequently, there is a social dysfunction referred to as any social pattern that may disrupt the operation of society. Some institutions and structures may have other functions, and some may even be generally dysfunctional, or be functional for some while being dysfunctional for others. This is because not all structures are functional for society as a whole. Some practices are only functional for a dominant individual or a group [Holmwood, 2005:91]. There are two types of functions that Merton discusses the "manifest functions" in that a social pattern can trigger a recognized and intended consequence. The manifest function of education includes preparing for a career by getting good grades, graduation and finding good job. The second type of function is "latent functions", where a social pattern results in an unrecognized or unintended consequence. The latent functions of education include meeting new people, extra-curricular activities, school trips. Another type of social function is "social dysfunction" which is any undesirable consequences that disrupts the operation of society. The social dysfunction of education includes not getting good grades, a job. Merton states that by recognizing and examining the dysfunctional aspects of society we can explain the development and persistence of alternatives. Thus, as Holmwood states, †Merton explicitly made power and conflict central issues for research within a functionalist paradigm‡ [2005:91]. Merton also noted that there may be functional alternatives to the institutions and structures currently fulfilling the functions of society. This means that the institutions that currently exist are not indispensable to society. Merton states †just as the same item may have multiple functions, so may the same function be diversely fulfilled by alternative items‡ [cited in Holmwood, 2005:91]. This notion of functional alternatives is important because it reduces the tendency of functionalism to imply approval of the status quo. Merton‚s theory of deviance is derived from Durkheim‚s idea of anomie. It is central in explaining how internal changes can occur in a system. For Merton, anomie means a discontinuity between cultural goals and the accepted methods available for reaching them. Merton believes that there are 5 situations facing an actor. ‹ Conformity occurs when an individual has the means and desire to achieve the cultural goals socialised into him. ‹ Innovation occurs when an individual strives to attain the accepted cultural goals but chooses to do so in novel or unaccepted method. ‹ Ritualism occurs when an individual continues to do things as proscribed by society but forfeits the achievement of the goals. ‹ Retreatism is the rejection of both the means and the goals of society. ‹ Rebellion is a combination of the rejection of societal goals and means and a substitution of other goals and means. Thus it can be seen that change can occur internally in society through either innovation or rebellion. It is true that society will attempt to control these individuals and negate the changes, but as the innovation or rebellion builds momentum, society will eventually adapt or face dissolution.
Almond and Powell
In the 1970s, political scientists Gabriel Almond and Bingham Powell introduced a structural-functionalist approach to comparing political systems. They argued that, in order to understand a political system, it is necessary to understand not only its institutions (or structures) but also their respective functions. They also insisted that these institutions, to be properly understood, must be placed in a meaningful and dynamic historical context. This idea stood in marked contrast to prevalent approaches in the field of comparative politics • the state-society theory and the dependency theory. These were the descendants of David Easton's system theory in international relations, a mechanistic view that saw all political systems as essentially the same, subject to the same laws of "stimulus and response" • or inputs and outputs • while paying little attention to unique characteristics. The structural-functional approach is based on the view that a political system is made up of several key components, including interest groups, political parties and branches of government. In addition to structures, Almond and Powell showed that a political system consists of various functions, chief among them political socialization, recruitment and communication: socialization refers to the way in which societies pass along their values and beliefs to succeeding generations, and in political terms describe the process by which a society inculcates civic virtues, or the habits of effective citizenship; recruitment denotes the process by which a political system generates interest, engagement and participation from citizens; and communication refers to the way that a system promulgates its values and information.
Structural functionalism and unilineal descent
In their attempt to explain the social stability of African "primitive" stateless societies where they undertook their fieldwork, Evans-Pritchard (1940) and Meyer Fortes (1945) argued that the Tallensi and the Nuer were primarily organized around unilineal descent groups. Such groups are characterized by common purposes, such as administering property or defending against attacks; they form a permanent social structure that persists well beyond the lifespan of their members. In the case of the Tallensi and the Nuer, these corporate groups were based on kinship which in turn fitted into the larger structures of unilineal descent; consequently Evans-Pritchard's and Fortes' model is called "descent theory". Moreover, in this African context territorial divisions were aligned with lineages; descent theory therefore synthesized both blood and soil as two sides of one coin (cf. Kuper, 1988:195). Affinal ties with the parent through whom descent is not reckoned, however, are considered to be merely complementary or secondary (Fortes created the concept of "complementary filiation"), with the reckoning of kinship through descent being considered the primary organizing force of social systems. Because of its strong emphasis on unilineal descent, this new kinship theory came to be called "descent theory". With no delay, descent theory had found its critics. Many African tribal societies seemed to fit this neat model rather well, although Africanists, such as Richards, also argued that Fortes and Evans-Pritchard had deliberately downplayed internal contradictions and overemphasized the stability of the local lineage systems and their significance for the organization of society. However, in many Asian settings the problems were even more obvious. In Papua New Guinea, the local patrilineal descent groups were fragmented and contained large amounts of non-agnates. Status distinctions did not depend on descent, and genealogies were too short to account for social solidarity through identification with a common ancestor. In particular, the phenomenon of cognatic (or bilateral) kinship posed a serious problem to the proposition that descent groups are the primary element behind the social structures of "primitive" societies. Leach's (1966) critique came in the form of the classical Malinowskian argument, pointing out that "in Evans-Pritchard's studies of the Nuer and also in Fortes's studies of the Tallensi unilineal descent turns out to be largely an ideal concept to which the empirical facts are only adapted by means of fictions." (1966:8). People's self-interest, manoeuvring, manipulation and competition had been ignored. Moreover, descent theory neglected the significance of marriage and affinal ties, which were emphasised by Levi-Strauss' structural anthropology, at the expense of overemphasising the role of descent. To quote Leach: "The evident importance attached to matrilateral
Structural functionalism and affinal kinship connections is not so much explained as explained away."
Decline of functionalism
Structural functionalism reached the peak of its influence in the 1940s and 1950s, and by the 1960s was in rapid decline. By the 1980s, its place was taken in Europe by more conflict-oriented approaches, and more recently by 'structuralism'. While some of the critical approaches also gained popularity in the United States, the mainstream of the discipline has instead shifted to a myriad of empirically-oriented middle-range theories with no overarching theoretical orientation. To most sociologists, functionalism is now "as dead as a dodo". As the influence of both functionalism and Marxism in the 1960s began to wane, the linguistic and cultural turns led to a myriad of new movements in the social sciences: "According to Giddens, the orthodox consensus terminated in the late 1960s and 1970s as the middle ground shared by otherwise competing perspectives gave way and was replaced by a baffling variety of competing perspectives. This third 'generation' of social theory includes phenomenologically inspired approaches, critical theory, ethnomethodology, symbolic interactionism, structuralism, post-structuralism, and theories written in the tradition of hermeneutics and ordinary language philosophy." While absent from empirical sociology, functionalist themes remained detectable in sociological theory, most notably in the works of Luhmann and Giddens. There are, however, signs of an incipient revival, as functionalist claims have recently been bolstered by developments in multilevel selection theory and in empirical research on how groups solve social dilemmas. Recent developments in evolutionary theory • especially by biologist David Sloan Wilson and anthropologists Robert Boyd and Peter Richerson • have provided strong support for structural functionalism in the form of multilevel selection theory. In this theory, culture and social structure are seen as a Darwinian (biological or cultural) adaptation at the group level.
In the 1960s, functionalism was criticized for being unable to account for social change, or for structural contradictions and conflict (and thus was often called "consensus theory"). Also, it ignores inequalities including race, gender, class, which causes tension and conflict. The refutation of the second criticism of functionalism, that it is static and has no concept of change, has already been articulated above, concluding that while Parsons‚ theory allows for change, it is an orderly process of change [Parsons, 1961:38], a moving equilibrium. Therefore referring to Parsons‚ theory of society as static is inaccurate. It is true that it does place emphasis on equilibrium and the maintenance or quick return to social order, but this is a product of the time in which Parsons was writing (post-World War II, and the start of the cold war). Society was in upheaval and fear abounded. At the time social order was crucial, and this is reflected in Parsons' tendency to promote equilibrium and social order rather than social change. Furthermore, Durkheim favored a radical form of guild socialism along with functionalist explanations. Also, Marxism, while acknowledging social contradictions, still uses functionalist explanations. Parsons' evolutionary theory describes the differentiation and reintegration systems and subsystems and thus at least temporary conflict before reintegration (ibid). "The fact that functional analysis can be seen by some as inherently conservative and by others as inherently radical suggests that it may be inherently neither one nor the other." (Merton 1957: 39) Stronger criticisms include the epistemological argument that functionalism is tautologous, that is it attempts to account for the development of social institutions solely through recourse to the effects that are attributed to them and thereby explains the two circularly. However, Parsons drew directly on many of Durkheim‚s concepts in creating his theory. Certainly Durkheim was one of the first theorists to explain a phenomenon with reference to the function it served for society. He said, †the determination of function is…necessary for the complete explanation of the phenomena‡ [cited in Coser, 1977:140]. However Durkheim made a clear distinction between historical and functional analysis, saying, †When…the explanation of a social phenomenon is undertaken, we must seek separately
Structural functionalism the efficient cause which produces it and the function it fulfills‡ [cited in Coser, 1977:140]. If Durkheim made this distinction, then it is unlikely that Parsons did not. However Merton does explicitly state that functional analysis does not seek to explain why the action happened in the first instance, but why it continues or is reproduced. He says that †latent functions …go far towards explaining the continuance of the pattern‡ [cited in Elster, 1990:130, emphasis added]. Therefore it can be argued that functionalism does not explain the original cause of a phenomenon with reference to its effect, and is therefore, not teleological. Another criticism describes the ontological argument that society cannot have "needs" as a human being does, and even if society does have needs they need not be met. Anthony Giddens argues that functionalist explanations may all be rewritten as historical accounts of individual human actions and consequences (see Structuration). A further criticism directed at functionalism is that it contains no sense of agency, that individuals are seen as puppets, acting as their role requires. Yet Holmwood states that the most sophisticated forms of functionalism are based on †a highly developed concept of action‡ [2005:107], and as was explained above, Parsons took as his starting point the individual and their actions. His theory did not however articulate how these actors exercise their agency in opposition to the socialization and inculcation of accepted norms. As has been shown above, Merton addressed this limitation through his concept of deviance, and so it can be seen that functionalism allows for agency. It cannot, however, explain why individuals choose to accept or reject the accepted norms, why and in what circumstances they choose to exercise their agency, and this does remain a considerable limitation of the theory. Further criticisms have been leveled at functionalism by proponents of other social theories, particularly conflict theorists, Marxists, feminists and postmodernists. Conflict theorists criticised functionalism‚s concept of systems as giving far too much weight to integration and consensus, and neglecting independence and conflict [Holmwood, 2005:100]. Lockwood [in Holmwood, 2005:101], in line with conflict theory, suggested that Parsons‚ theory missed the concept of system contradiction. He did not account for those parts of the system that might have tendencies to Mal-integration. According to Lockwood, it was these tendencies that come to the surface as opposition and conflict among actors. However Parsons thought that the issues of conflict and cooperation were very much intertwined and sought to account for both in his model [Holmwood, 2005:103]. In this however he was limited by his analysis of an ˆideal type‚ of society which was characterized by consensus. Merton, through his critique of functional unity, introduced into functionalism an explicit analysis of tension and conflict. Marxism which was revived soon after the emergence of conflict theory, criticized professional sociology (functionalism and conflict theory alike) for being partisan to advanced welfare capitalism [Holmwood, 2005:103]. Gouldner [in Holmwood, 2005:103] thought that Parsons‚ theory specifically was an expression of the dominant interests of welfare capitalism, that it justified institutions with reference to the function they fulfill for society. It may be that Parsons' work implied or articulated that certain institutions were necessary to fulfill the functional prerequisites of society, but whether or not this is the case, Merton explicitly states that institutions are not indispensable and that there are functional alternatives. That he does not identify any alternatives to the current institutions does reflect a conservative bias, which as has been stated before is a product of the specific time that he was writing in. As functionalism‚s prominence was ending, feminism was on the rise, and it attempted a radical criticism of functionalism. It believed that functionalism neglected the suppression of women within the family structure. Holmwood [2005:103] shows, however, that Parsons did in fact describe the situations where tensions and conflict existed or were about to take place, even if he did not articulate those conflicts. Some feminists agree, suggesting that Parsons‚ provided accurate descriptions of these situations. [Johnson in Holmwood, 2005:103]. On the other hand, Parsons recognized that he had oversimplified his functional analysis of women in relation to work and the family, and focused on the positive functions of the family for society and not on its dysfunctions for women. Merton, too, although addressing situations where function and dysfunction occurred simultaneously, lacked a †feminist sensibility‡ [Holmwood, 2005:103].
Structural functionalism Postmodernism, as a theory, is critical of claims of objectivity. Therefore the idea of grand theory that can explain society in all its forms is treated with skepticism at the very least. This critique is important because it exposes the danger that grand theory can pose, when not seen as a limited perspective, as one way of understanding society. Jeffrey Alexander (1985) sees functionalism as a broad school rather than a specific method or system, such as Parsons, who is capable of taking equilibrium (stability) as a reference-point rather than assumption and treats structural differentiation as a major form of social change. "The name 'functionalism' implies a difference of method or interpretation that does not exist." (Davis 1967: 401) This removes the determinism criticized above. Cohen argues that rather than needs a society has dispositional facts: features of the social environment that support the existence of particular social institutions but do not cause them.
‹ ‹ ‹ ‹ ‹ ‹ ‹ ‹ ‹ ‹ ‹ ‹ ‹ Kingsley Davis Michael Denton ‡mile Durkheim David Keen Niklas Luhmann BronisŠaw Malinowski Robert K. Merton Wilbert E. Moore George Murdock Talcott Parsons Alfred Reginald Radcliffe-Brown Herbert Spencer Fei Xiaotong
‹ ‹ ‹ ‹ ‹ ‹ ‹ ‹ ‹ ‹ ‹ ‹ ‹ ‹ ‹ Barnard, A. 2000. History and Theory in Anthropology. Cambridge: CUP. Barnard, A., and Good, A. 1984. Research Practices in the Study of Kinship. London: Academic Press. Barnes, J. 1971. Three Styles in the Study of Kinship. London: Butler & Tanner. Holy, L. 1996. Anthropological Perspectives on Kinship. London: Pluto Press. Kuper, A. 1988. The Invention of Primitive Society: Transformations of an Illusion. London: Routledge. Kuper, A. 1996. Anthropology and Anthropologists. London: Routledge. Layton, R. 1997. An Introduction to Theory in Anthropology. Cambridge: CUP. Leach, E. 1954. Political Systems of Highland Burma. London: Bell. Leach, E. 1966. Rethinking Anthropology. Northampton: Dickens. Levi-Strauss, C. 1969. The Elementary Structures of Kinship. London: Eyre and Spottis-woode. Coser, L., (1977) Masters of Sociological Thought: Ideas in Historical and Social Context. 2nd Ed., Fort Worth: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, Inc., pp.†140€143. Craib, I., (1992) Modern Social Theory: From Parsons to Habermas, Harvester Wheatsheaf, London Cuff, E. & Payne, G.,(eds) (1984) Perspectives in Sociology, Allen & Unwin, London Davis, K (1959). "The Myth of Functional Analysis as a Special Method in Sociology and Anthropology", American Sociological Review, 24(6), 757-772. Elster, J., (1990), †Merton's Functionalism and the Unintended Consequences of Action‡, in Clark, J., Modgil, C. & Modgil, S., (eds) Robert Merton: Consensus and Controversy, Falmer Press, London, pp.†129€35
‹ Gingrich, P., (1999) †Functionalism and Parsons‡ in Sociology 250 Subject Notes, University of Regina, accessed, 24/5/06, uregina.ca 
Structural functionalism ‹ Holmwood, J., (2005) †Functionalism and its Critics‡ in Harrington, A., (ed) Modern Social Theory: an introduction, Oxford University Press, Oxford, pp.†87€109 ‹ Homans, George Casper (1962). Sentiments and Activities. New York: The Free Press of Glencoe. ‹ Hoult, Thomas Ford (1969). Dictionary of Modern Sociology. ‹ Lenski, Gerhard (1966). "Power and Privilege: A Theory of Social Stratification." New York: McGraw-Hill. ‹ Lenski, Gerhard (2005). "Evolutionary-Ecological Theory." Boulder, CO: Paradigm. ‹ Maryanski, Alexandra (1998). "Evolutionary Sociology." Advances in Human Ecology. 7:1-56. ‹ Maryanski, Alexandra and Jonathan Turner (1992). "The Social Cage: Human Nature and the Evolution of Society." Stanford: Stanford University Press. ‹ Marshall, Gordon (1994). The Concise Oxford Dictionary of Sociology. ISBN 0-19-285237-X ‹ Merton, Robert (1957). Social Theory and Social Structure, revised and enlarged. London: The Free Press of Glencoe. ‹ Nolan, Patrick and Gerhard Lenski (2004). Human Societies: An Introduction to Macrosociology." Boulder, CO: Paradigm. ‹ Parsons, Talcott (1951) The Social System, Routledge, London ‹ Parsons, T., & Shils, A., (eds) (1976) Toward a General Theory of Action, Harvard University Press, Cambridge ‹ Parsons, T., (1961) Theories of Society: foundations of modern sociological theory, Free Press, New York ‹ Perey, Arnold (2005) "Malinowski, His Diary, and Men Today  (with a note on the nature of Malinowskian functionalism) ‹ Ritzer, G., (1983) Sociological Theory, Knopf Inc, New York ‹ Sanderson, Stephen K. (1999). "Social Transformations: A General Theory of Historical Development." Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield. ‹ Turner, Jonathan (1985). "Herbert Spencer: A Renewed Appreciation." Beverly Hills: Sage. ‹ Turner, Jonathan (1995). "Macrodynamics: Toward a Theory on the Organization of Human Populations." New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press. ‹ Turner, Jonathan and Jan Stets (2005). "The Sociology of Emotions." Cambridge. Cambridge University Press.
 ^ Macionis, Gerber, Sociology 7th Canadian Ed. (Pearson Canada Inc., 2010)pg.14  ^DeRosso,Deb The Structural Functional Theoretical Approach, (http:/ / www. wisc-online. com/ Objects/ ViewObject. aspx?ID=I2S3404) 2003.(Accessed February 24, 2012)  Urry, John (2000). "Metaphors" (http:/ / books. google. co. uk/ books?id=ogyDBobOHVEC& pg=PA23). Sociology beyond societies: mobilities for the twenty-first century. Routledge. p.†23. ISBN†978-0-415-19089-3. .  Talcott Parsons, "The Present Status of "Structural-Functional" Theory in Sociology." In Talcott Parsons, Social Systems and The Evolution of Action Theory New York: The Free Press, 1975.  Bourricaud, F. 'The Sociology of Talcott Parsons' Chicago University Press. ISBN 0-226-06756-4. p. 94  Macionis, Gerber, Sociology 7th Canadian Ed. (Pearson Canada Inc., 2010)pg.19  Giddens, Anthony "The Constitution of Society" in The Giddens Reader Philip Cassell (eds.) MacMillan Press pp.88  Department of Anthropology College of Arts and Sciences The University of Alabama: Anthropological theories (http:/ / www. as. ua. edu/ ant/ Faculty/ murphy/ function. htm)  Rice, Keith. "Structural Functionlism" (http:/ / www. integratedsociopsychology. net/ structural-functionalism. html). . Retrieved 23 February 2012.  Rice, Keith. "Structural Functionlism" (http:/ / www. integratedsociopsychology. net/ structural-functionalism. html). . Retrieved 23 February 2012.  Macionis, John J. "Sociology". (Toronto: Pearson, 2011), 97  Fish, Jonathan S. 2005. Defending the Durkheimian Tradition. Religion, Emotion and Morality Aldershot: Ashgate Publishing.  Gerber, L., Macionis, J. (2011). Sociology: Seventh Canadian Edition. pp. 13-14.  Gerber, L., Macionis, J. (2011). Sociology: Seventh Canadian Edition. pp. 10.     Gertrud Lenzer, ed., Auguste Comte and Positivism: The Essential Writings (New York: Harper, 1975). pp. 71-86. Macionis, John J. (2012). Sociology 14th Edition. Boston: Pearson. p.†11. ISBN†978-0-205-11671-3. Turner, 1985 Macionis, Gerber, Sociology 7th Canadian Ed. (Pearson Canada Inc., 2010)pg.14
                               See Turner 1985 Nolan and Lenski, 2004; Maryanski and Turner 1992 Parsons & Shills, 1976:190 Parsons, 1961:41 Craib, 1992:40 1961:43-44 Cuff & Payne, 1984:44 Gingrich, 1999 1961:38 Cuff & Payne, 1984:46. 1961:37. 1961:39. Gingrich, 1991 Gingrich, 1991. Davis, Kingsley and Wilbert E. Moore. (1970 ) "Some Principles of Stratification." American Sociological Review, 10 (2), 242-9. de Maio, F. (2010) Health & Social Theory. New York: Palgrave MacMillan, 29-30. Tumin, M. M. (1953). "Some principles of stratification: a critical analysis." American Sociological Review, 18, 387-97. Macionis, John (2011). Sociology. Toronto: Pearson Canada. ISBN†978-0-13-700161-3. ^ ^ Macionis, Gerber, Sociology 7th Canadian Ed. (Pearson Canada Inc., 2010)pg.14 In sociology, another term for describing a positive function, in opposition to a dysfunction, is eufunction. Macionis, J., and Gerber, L. (2010). Sociology, 7th edition cf. Kuper, 1988:196, 205-6 ibid Jay J. Coakley, Eric Dunning, Handbook of sports studies Slattery, Martin. 1993. Key Ideas in Sociology. Cheltenham: Nelson Thornes, Ltd. Giddens, Anthony "The Constitution of Society" in The Giddens Reader Philip Cassell (eds.) MacMillan Press pp.89 Barnes, B. 1995. The Elements of Social Theory. London: UCL Press. Quoted in Jay J. Coakley, Eric Dunning, Handbook of sports studies Cassell, Philip The Giddens Reader (1993) The Macmillan Press Ltd, pp. 6 http:/ / subedi. orgfree. com/ docs/ Structural_Functionalism. pdf http:/ / uregina. ca/ ~gingrich/ n2f99. htm http:/ / www. perey-anthropology. net/ Aesthetic-Realism-Malinowski. html
Conflict theories are perspectives in sociology that emphasize the social, political, or material inequality of a social group, that critique the broad socio-political system, or that otherwise detract from structural functionalism and ideological conservativism. Conflict theories draw attention to power differentials, such as class conflict, and generally contrast historically dominant ideologies. It is therefore a macro level analysis of society. Karl Marx is the father of the social conflict theory, which is a component of the 4 paradigms of sociology. Certain conflict theories set out to highlight the ideological aspects inherent in traditional thought. Whilst many of these perspectives hold parallels, conflict theory does not refer to a unified school of thought, and should not be confused with, for instance, peace and conflict studies, or any other specific theory of social conflict.
In classical sociology
Of the classical founders of social science, conflict theory is most commonly associated with Karl Marx (1818€1883). Based on a dialectical materialist account of history, Marxism posited that capitalism, like previous socioeconomic systems, would inevitably produce internal tensions leading to its own destruction. Marx ushered in radical change, advocating proletarian revolution and freedom from the ruling classes. At the same time, Karl Marx was aware that most of the people living in capitalist societies did not see how the system shaped the entire operation of society. Just like how we see private property, or the right to pass that property on to our children as natural, many of members in capitalistic societies see the rich as having earned their wealth through hard work and education, while seeing the poor as lacking in skill and initiative. Marx rejected this type of thinking and termed it false consciousness, explanations of social problems as the shortcomings of individuals rather than the flaws of society. Marx wanted to replace this kind of thinking with something Engels termed class consciousness, workers' recognition of themselves as a class unified in opposition to capitalist and ultimately to the capitalist system itself. In general, Marx wanted the proletarians to rise up against the capitalist and overthrow the capitalist system. The history of all hitherto existing society is the history of class struggles. Freeman and slave, patrician and plebeian, lord and serf, guild-master and journeyman, in a word, oppressor and oppressed, stood in constant opposition to one another, carried on an uninterrupted, now hidden, now open fight, a fight that each time ended, either in a revolutionary re-constitution of society at large, or in the common ruin of the contending classes. • Karl Marx & Friedrich Engels The Communist Manifesto 1848,  In the social productions of their existence, men inevitably enter into definite relations, which are independent of their will, namely relations of production appropriate to a given stage in the development of their material forces of production. The totality of these relations of production constitutes the economic structure of society, the real foundation, on which arises a legal and political superstructure and to which correspond definite forms of social consciousness. The mode of production of material life conditions the general process of social, political and intellectual life. It is not the consciousness of men that determines their existence, but their social existence that determines their consciousness. At a certain stage of development, the material productive forces of society come into conflict with the existing relations of production or € this merely expresses the same thing in legal terms € with the property relations within the framework of which they have operated hitherto. From forms of development of the productive forces, these relations turn into their fetters. Then an era of social revolution begins. The changes in the economic foundation lead sooner or later to the transformation of the whole immense superstructure. In studying such transformations it is always necessary to distinguish between the material transformation of the economic conditions of production, which can be determined with the precision of natural science, and the legal, political, religious, artistic or philosophic € in short, ideological forms in which men become conscious
Conflict theory of this conflict and fight it out. Just as one does not judge an individual by what he thinks about himself, so one cannot judge such a period of transformation by its consciousness, but, on the contrary, this consciousness must be explained from the contradictions of material life, from the conflict existing between the social forces of production and the relations of production. No social order is ever destroyed before all the productive forces for which it is sufficient have been developed, and new superior relations of production never replace older ones before the material conditions for their existence have matured within the framework of the old society. Mankind thus inevitably sets itself only such tasks as it is able to solve, since closer examination will always show that the problem itself arises only when the material conditions for its solution are already present or at least in the course of formation. In broad outline, the Asiatic, ancient, [A] feudal and modern bourgeois modes of production may be designated as epochs marking progress in the economic development of society. The bourgeois mode of production is the last antagonistic form of the social process of production € antagonistic not in the sense of individual antagonism but of an antagonism that emanates from the individuals' social conditions of existence € but the productive forces developing within bourgeois society create also the material conditions for a solution of this antagonism. The prehistory of human society accordingly closes with this social formation. • Karl Marx A Contribution to the Critique of Political Economy 1859,  Two early conflict theorists were the Polish-Austrian sociologist and political theorist Ludwig Gumplowicz (1838€1909) and the American sociologist and paleontologist Lester F. Ward (1841€1913). Although Ward and Gumplowicz developed their theories independently they had much in common and approached conflict from a comprehensive anthropological and evolutionary point-of-view as opposed to Marx's rather exclusive focus on economic factors. Gumplowicz, in Grundriss der Soziologie (Outlines of Sociology, 1884), describes how civilization has been shaped by conflict between cultures and ethnic groups. Gumplowicz theorized that large complex human societies evolved from the war and conquest. Another organizes states around the domination of one group: masters and slaves. Eventually a complex caste system develops. Horowitz says that Gumplowicz understood conflict in all its forms: "class conflict, race conflict and ethnic conflict", and calls him one of the fathers of Conflict Theory. What happened in India, Babylon, Egypt, Greece and Rome may sometime happen in modern Europe. European civilization may perish, over flooded by barbaric tribes. But if any one believes that we are safe from such catastrophes he is perhaps yielding to an all too optimistic delusion. There are no barbaric tribes in our neighbourhood to be sure • but let no one be deceived, their instincts lie latent in the populace of European states. • Gumplowicz (1884),  Ward directly attacked and attempted to systematically refute the elite business class's laissez-faire philosophy as espoused by the hugely popular social philosopher Herbert Spencer. Ward's Dynamic Sociology (1883) was an extended thesis on how to reduce conflict and competition in society and thus optimize human progress. At the most basic level Ward saw human nature itself to be deeply conflicted between self-aggrandizement and altruism, between emotion and intellect, and between male and female. These conflicts would be then reflected in society and Ward assumed there had been a "perpetual and vigorous struggle" among various "social forces" that shaped civilization. Ward was more optimistic than Marx and Gumption and believed that it was possible to build on and reform present social structures with the help of sociological analysis. Durkheim (1858€1917) saw society as a functioning organism. Functionalism concerns "the effort to impute, as rigorously as possible, to each feature, custom, or practice, its effect on the functioning of a supposedly stable, cohesive system," The chief form of social conflict that Durkheim addressed was crime. Durkheim saw crime as "a factor in public health, an integral part of all healthy societies." The collective conscience defines certain acts as "criminal." Crime thus plays a role in the evolution of morality and law: "[it] implies not only that the way remains open to necessary changes but that in certain cases it directly prepares these changes."
Conflict theory Weber's (1864€1920) approach to conflict is contrasted with that of Marx. While Marx focused on the way individual behavior is conditioned by social structure, Weber emphasized the importance of "social action," i.e., the ability of individuals to affect their social relationships.
C. Wright Mills has been called the founder of modern conflict theory. In Mills's view, social structures are created through conflict between people with differing interests and resources. Individuals and resources, in turn, are influenced by these structures and by the "unequal distribution of power and resources in the society." The power elite of American society, (i.e., the military€industrial complex) had "emerged from the fusion of the corporate elite, the Pentagon, and the executive branch of government." Mills argued that the interests of this elite were opposed to those of the people. He theorized that the policies of the power elite would result in "increased escalation of conflict, production of weapons of mass destruction, and possibly the annihilation of the human race." Gene Sharp (born 21 January 1928) is a Professor Emeritus of political science at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth. He is known for his extensive writings on nonviolent struggle, which have influenced numerous anti-government resistance movements around the world. In 1983 he founded the Albert Einstein Institution, a non-profit organization devoted to studies and promotion of the use of nonviolent action in conflicts worldwide. Sharp's key theme is that power is not monolithic; that is, it does not derive from some intrinsic quality of those who are in power. For Sharp, political power, the power of any state•regardless of its particular structural organization•ultimately derives from the subjects of the state. His fundamental belief is that any power structure relies upon the subjects' obedience to the orders of the ruler(s). If subjects do not obey, leaders have no power. Sharp has been called both the "Machiavelli of nonviolence" and the "Clausewitz of nonviolent warfare." Sharp's scholarship has influenced resistance organizations around the world. Most recently the protest movement that toppled President Mubarak of Egypt drew extensively on his ideas, as well as the youth movement in Tunisia and the earlier ones in the Eastern European color revolutions that had previously been inspired by Sharp's work. A recent articulation of conflict theory is found in Alan Sears' (Canadian sociologist) book A Good Book, in Theory: A Guide to Theoretical Thinking (2008): ‹ Societies are defined by inequality that produces conflict, rather than which produces order and consensus. This conflict based on inequality can only be overcome through a fundamental transformation of the existing relations in the society, and is productive of new social relations. ‹ The disadvantaged have structural interests that run counter to the status quo, which, once they are assumed, will lead to social change. Thus, they are viewed as agents of change rather than objects one should feel sympathy for. ‹ Human potential (e.g., capacity for creativity) is suppressed by conditions of exploitation and oppression, which are necessary in any society with an unequal division of labour. These and other qualities do not necessarily have to be stunted due to the requirements of the so-called "civilizing process," or "functional necessity": creativity is actually an engine for economic development and change. ‹ The role of theory is in realizing human potential and transforming society, rather than maintaining the power structure. The opposite aim of theory would be the objectivity and detachment associated with positivism, where theory is a neutral, explanatory tool. ‹ Consensus is a euphemism for ideology. Genuine consensus is not achieved, rather the more powerful in societies are able to impose their conceptions on others and have them accept their discourses. Consensus does not preserve social order, it entrenches stratification, e.g., the American dream. ‹ The State serves the particular interests of the most powerful while claiming to represent the interests of all. Representation of disadvantaged groups in State processes may cultivate the notion of full participation, but this is an illusion/ideology. ‹ Inequality on a global level is characterized by the purposeful underdevelopment of Third World countries, both during colonization and after national independence. The global system (i.e., development agencies such as World
Conflict theory Bank and International Monetary Fund) benefits the most powerful countries and multi-national corporations, rather than the subjects of development, through economic, political, and military actions. Although Sears associates the conflict theory approach with Marxism, he argues that it is the foundation for much "feminist, post-modernist, anti-racist, and lesbian-gay liberationist theories."
Types of conflict theory
Conflict theory is most commonly associated with Marxism, but as a reaction to functionalism and the positivist method may also be associated with number of other perspectives, including: ‹ Critical theory ‹ Feminist theory: The advocacy of social equality for women and men, in opposition to patriarchy and sexism. ‹ Postmodern theory: An approach that is critical of modernism, with a mistrust of grand theories and ideologies. ‹ Post-structural theory ‹ Postcolonial theory ‹ Queer theory: A growing body of research findings that challenges the heterosexual bias in Western society. ‹ World systems theory ‹ Race-Conflict Approach: A point of view that focuses on inequality and conflict between people of different racial and ethnic categories.
 Baird, Forrest E.; Walter Kaufmann (2008). From Plato to Derrida. Upper Saddle River, New Jersey: Pearson Prentice Hall. ISBN†0-13-158591-6.  Macionis, J. J. (2011). Society. Sociology (7th ed., pp. 88-89). Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice Hall.  Marx and Engels, The Communist Manifesto, introduction by Martin Malia (New York: Penguin group, 1998), pg. 35 ISBN 0-451-52710-0  Marx A Contribution to the Critique of Political Economy, http:/ / www. marxists. org/ archive/ marx/ works/ 1859/ critique-pol-economy/ preface. htm  Fifty Key Sociologists: the Formative Theorists, John Scott Irving, 2007, pg 59  "Communicating Ideas: The Politics of Scholarly Publishing", Irving Louis Horowitz, 1986, pg 281  "Outlines of Sociology", pg 196  "Transforming Leadership", James MacGregor Burns, 2004, pg 189  "German Realpolitik and American Sociology: an Inquiry Into the Sources and Political Significance of the Sociology of Conflict", James Alfred Aho, 1975, ch. 6 'Lester F. Ward's Sociology of Conflict'  Bourricaud, F. 'The Sociology of Talcott Parsons' Chicago University Press. ISBN 0-226-06756-4. p. 94  Durkheim, E. (1938). The Rules of Sociological Method. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press. p. 67.  Durkheim, (1938), pp. 70€81.  Livesay, C. Social Inequality: Theories: Weber (http:/ / www. sociology. org. uk/ siweber. pdf). Sociology Central. A-Level Sociology Teaching Notes. Retrieved on: 2010-06-20.  Knapp, P. (1994). One World • Many Worlds: Contemporary Sociological Theory (2nd Ed.). Harpercollins College Div, pp. 228€246. Online summary (http:/ / www94. homepage. villanova. edu/ peter. knapp/ THgreats. htm) ISBN 978-0-06-501218-7  "Gene Sharp: Author of the nonviolent revolution rulebook" (http:/ / www. bbc. co. uk/ news/ world-middle-east-12522848). BBC News. 21 February 2011. .  Gene Sharp biography at Albert Einstein Institution web site. (http:/ / www. aeinstein. org/ organizations9173. html)  Weber, Thomas. Gandhi as Disciple and Mentor. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge 2004  "Shy U.S. Intellectual Created Playbook Used in a Revolution" (http:/ / www. nytimes. com/ 2011/ 02/ 17/ world/ middleeast/ 17sharp. html?_r=1& hp). The New York Times. 16 February 2011. .  Sears, Alan. (2008) A Good Book, In Theory: A Guide to Theoretical Thinking. North York: Higher Education University of Toronto Press, pg. 34-6.  Sears, pg. 36.  Macionis, J., and Gerber, L. (2010). Sociology, 7th edition
‹ Stark, Rodney (2007). Sociology (10th ed.). thomas wadsworth. ISBN†0-495-09344-0.
Conflict theory ‹ Lenski, Gerhard E. (1966). Power and Privilege: A Theory of Social Stratificaion. McGraw-Hill. ISBN†0-07-037165-2. ‹ Collins, Randall (1994). Four Sociological Traditions: Selected Readings. Oxford University Press.. ISBN†0-19-508702-X. ‹ Thio, Alex (2008). Sociology: A Brief Introduction (7th ed.). Pearson. ISBN†0-205-40785-4.
Structure and agency
In the social sciences there is a standing debate over the primacy of structure or agency in shaping human behavior. Agency is the capacity of individuals to act independently and to make their own free choices. Structure is the recurrent patterned arrangements which influence or limit the choices and opportunities available. The debate can be contrasted with the "nature verses nurture" debate, which questions whether a person's physiology ("nature") or socialization ("nurture") predominates in the formation of an individual's identity. In contrast, the structure versus agency debate may be understood as an issue of socialization against autonomy in determining whether an individual acts as a free agent or in a manner dictated by social structure.
Structure, socialisation and autonomy
The debate over the primacy of structure or agency relates to an issue at the heart of both classical and contemporary sociological theory: the question of social ontology: "What is the social world made of?" "What is a cause of the social world, and what is an effect?" "Do social structures determine an individual's behaviour or does human agency?" For functionalists such as ‡mile Durkheim, structure and hierarchy are essential in stabilising the very existence of society. Theorists such as Karl Marx, by contrast, emphasise that the social structure can act to the detriment of the majority of individuals in a society. In both these instances "structure" may refer to something both material (or "economic") and cultural (e.g. related to norms, customs, traditions and ideologies). Some theorists put forward that what we know as our social existence is largely determined by the overall structure of society. The perceived agency of individuals can also mostly be explained by the operation of this structure. Theoretical systems aligned with this view include: structuralism, and some forms of functionalism and Marxism (all of which in this context can be seen as forms of holism -- the notion that "the whole is greater than the sum of its parts"). In the reverse of the first position, other theorists stress the capacity of individual "agents" to construct and reconstruct their worlds. Theoretical systems aligned with this view include: methodological individualism, social phenomenology, interactionism and ethnomethodology. Lastly, a third option, taken by many modern social theorists (Bourdieu, 1977, 1990), is to attempt to find a point of balance between the two previous positions. They see structure and agency as complementary forces - structure influences human behaviour, and humans are capable of changing the social structures they inhabit. Structuration is one prominent example of this view. The first approach (emphasizing the importance of societal structure) was dominant in classical sociology. Theorists saw unique aspects of the social world that could not be explained simply by the sum of the individuals present. ‡mile Durkheim strongly believed that the collective had emergent properties of its own and that there was a need for a science which would deal with this emergence. The second approach (methodological individualism, etc.), however, also has a well-established position in social science. Many theorists still follow this course (e.g., economists are very prone to disregarding any kind of holism). The central debate, therefore, is between theorists committed to the notions of methodological holism and those committed to methodological individualism. The first notion, methodological holism, is the idea that actors are socialised and embedded into social structures and institutions that constrain, or enable, and generally shape the
Structure and agency individuals' dispositions towards, and capacities for, action, and that this social structure should be taken as primary and most significant. The second notion, methodological individualism, is the idea that actors are the central theoretical and ontological elements in social systems, and social structure is an epiphenomenon, a result and consequence of the actions and activities of interacting individuals.
Georg Simmel (March 1, 1858 € September 28, 1918, Berlin, Germany) was one of the first generation of German nonpositivist sociologists. His studies pioneered the concepts of social structure and agency. His most famous works today include The Metropolis and Mental Life and The Philosophy of Money.
Norbert Elias (June 22, 1897 • August 1, 1990) was a German sociologist whose work focused on the relationship between power, behavior, emotion, and knowledge over time. He significantly shaped what is called "process sociology" or "figurational sociology."
Talcott Parsons (December 13, 1902 € May 8, 1979) was an American sociologist and the main theorist of action theory (misleadingly called "structural functionalism") in sociology from the 1930s in the United States. His works analyze social structure but in terms of voluntary action and through patterns of normative institutionalisation by codifying its theoretical gestalt into a system-theoretical framework based on the idea of living systems and cybernetic hierarchy. For Parsons there is no "structure"- "agency" problem. It is a pseudo-problem.
Pierre Bourdieu (1 August 1930 € 23 January 2002) was a French theorist who presented his theory of practice on the dichotomical understanding of the relation between agency and structure in a great number of published articles, beginning with An Outline of the Theory of Practice in 1972, where he presented the concept of habitus. His book Distinction: A Social Critique of the Judgement of Taste (1979), was named as one of the 20th century's 10 most important works of sociology by the International Sociological Association. The key concepts in Bourdieu's work are habitus, field, and capital. The agent is socialized in a "field", an evolving set of roles and relationships in a social domain, where various forms of "capital" such as prestige or financial resources are at stake. As the agent accommodates to his or her roles and relationships in the context of his or her position in the field, the agent internalises relationships and expectations for operating in that domain. These internalised relationships and habitual expectations and relationships form, over time, the habitus. Bourdieu's work attempts to reconcile structure and agency, as external structures are internalised into the habitus while the actions of the agent externalise interactions between actors into the social relationships in the field. Bourdieu's theory, therefore, is a dialectic between "externalising the internal", and "internalising the external."
Structure and agency
Berger and Luckmann
Peter L. Berger and Thomas Luckmann in their Social Construction of Reality (1966) saw the relationships between structure and agency as a dialectical one. Society forms the individuals who create society - forming a continuous loop.
James Samuel Coleman's Coleman boat provides a link between macrosociological phenomena and individual behavior. A macro-level phenomenon is described as instigating particular actions by individuals, which results in a subsequent macro-level phenomenon. In this way, individual action is taken in reference to a macrosociological structure, and that action (by many individuals) results in change to that macro structure.
Contemporary sociology has generally aimed toward a reconciliation of structure and agency as concepts. Anthony Giddens's developed "Structuration Theory" in such works as The Constitution of Society (1984). He presents a developed attempt to move beyond the dualism of structure and agency and argues for the "duality of structure" where social structure is both the medium and the outcome of social action. For Giddens, an agent's common interaction with structure, as a system of norms, is described as "structuration". The term "reflexivity" is used to refer to the ability of an agent to consciously alter his or her place in the social structure; thus globalization and the emergence of the 'post-traditional' society might be said to allow for "greater social reflexivity". Social and political sciences are therefore important because social knowledge, as self-knowledge, is potentially emancipatory.
Social theorist and legal philosopher Roberto Mangabeira Unger developed the thesis of negative capability to address this problem of agency in relation to structure. In his work on false necessity • or anti-necessitarian social theory • Unger recognizes the constraints of structure and its molding influence upon the individual, but at the same time finds the individual able to resist, deny, and transcend their context. The varieties of this resistance are negative capability. Unlike other theories of structure and agency, negative capability does not reduce the individual to a simple actor possessing only the dual capacity of compliance or rebellion, but rather sees him as able to partake in a variety of activities of self empowerment.
The critical realist structure/agency perspective embodied in the Transformational Model of Social Action (TMSA) has been further advocated and applied in other social science fields by additional authors, for example in economics by Tony Lawson and in sociology by Margaret Archer. In 2005, the Journal of Management Studies debated the merits of critical realism. Kenneth Wilkinson in the Community in Rural America took an interactional/field theoretical perspective focusing on the role of community agency in contributing to the emergence of community. With Critical Psychology as framework, the Danish psychologist Ole Dreier, proposes in his book Psychotherapy in Everyday Life that we may best conceptualize persons as participants in social practices (that constitute social structures) who can either reproduce or change these social practices. This indicates that neither participants, nor social practices can be understood when looked at in isolation (in fact, this undermines the very idea of trying to do so), since practice and structure is co-created by participants and since the participants can only be called so, if they participate in a social practice. The structure/agency debate continues to evolve, with contributions such as Nicos Mouzelis's Sociological Theory: What Went Wrong? and Margaret Archer's Realist Social Theory: The Morphogenetic Approach continuing to push
Structure and agency the ongoing development of structure/agency theory. Work in information systems by Mutch (2010)has emphasized Archer's Realist Social Theory. In entrepreneurship a discussion between Sarason et al. and Mole and Mole (2010) used Archer's theory to critique structuration view arguing that starting a new business organization needs to be understood in the context of social structure and agency. However, this depends upon one's view of structure which differs between Giddens and Archer. Hence if strata in social reality have different ontologies, then they must be viewed as a dualism. Third, agents have causal power, and ultimate concerns which they try to fallibly to put into practice. Mole and Mole propose entrepreneurship as the study of the interplay between the structures of a society and the agents within it.
A European problem?
While the structure/agency debate has been a central issue in social theory, and recent theoretical reconciliation attempts have been made, structure/agency theory has tended to develop more in European countries by European theorists, while social theorists from the United States have tended to focus instead on the issue of integration between macrosociological and microsociological perspectives. George Ritzer examines these issues (and surveys the structure agency debate) in greater detail in his book Modern Sociological Theory (2000).
 Barker, Chris. 2005. Cultural Studies: Theory and Practice. London: Sage. ISBN 0-7619-4156-8 p448  Jary & Jary, Collins Dictionary of Sociology, p664.  David Gauntlett, Media Gender and Identity (http:/ / www. theoryhead. com/ gender/ ), Routledge, 2002. ISBN 0-415-18960-8. About Giddens' work on modernity and self-identity. Google Print (http:/ / books. google. com/ books?ie=UTF-8& vid=ISBN0415189594& id=Vhc60-bJGQsC& dq=Society+ only+ has+ form,+ and+ that+ form+ only+ has+ effects+ on+ people,+ in+ so+ far+ as+ structure+ is+ produced+ and+ reproduced+ in+ what+ people+ do)  Unger, Roberto (2004). False Necessity: Anti-Necessitarian Social Theory in the Service of Radical Democracy, Revised Edition. London: Verso. pp.†282. ISBN†978-1-85984-331-4.  Contu, A. and Willmott, H. (2005) You spin me round: the realist turn in organization and management studies, Journal of Management Studies, 42 (8): 1645-1662 Reed, M. (2005a) The realist turn in organization and management studies‚, Journal of Management Studies, 42 (8): 1600-1644 Reed, M. (2005b) Doing the loco-motion: Response to Contu and Willmott‚s commentary on ˆThe realist turn in organization and management studies‚, Journal of Management Studies 42(8): 1663-1673  Dreier, Ole., 2008. Chapter 2. In: Psychotherapy in Everyday Life. Cambridge University Press.  MUTCH, A., 2010. Technology, organization, and structure - a morphogenetic approach . Organization Science. vol 21 (2) , pp. 1-14  Mole K.F. and Mole M.C (2010) Entrepreneurship as the structuration of individual and opportunity: A response using a critical realist perspective. Journal of Business Venturing Vol 25, no. 2 pp. 230-237
‹ Archer, M. (1995), Realist Social Theory: The Morphogenetic Approach, Cambridge University Press: Cambridge. ‹ Berger, P. L.; T. Luckmann (1966), The Social Construction of Reality: A Treatise in the Sociology of Knowledge, Anchor Books: Garden City, NY. ‹ Bhaskar, R. (1979/1998), The Possibility of Naturalism (3rd edition) Harvester Wheatsheaf: Hemel Hampstead. ‹ Bhaskar, R. (1989), Reclaiming Reality, Verso: London. ‹ Bourdieu, P. (1977), Outline of a Theory of Practice, Cambridge University Press: London. ‹ Bourdieu, P. (1990), The Logic of Practice, Polity Press: Cambridge. ‹ Bourdieu, P. and L. J. D. Wacquant (1992), An Invitation to Reflexive Sociology, University of Chicago Press: Chicago. ‹ Elias, N. (1978), What is Sociology?, Hutchinson: London. ‹ Giddens, A. (1976), New Rules of Sociological Method. ‹ Giddens, A. (1984), The Constitution of Society, Polity Press: Cambridge.
Structure and agency ‹ Jary, David; Julia Jary (1991). Collins Dictionary of Sociology. Glasgow: Harper Collins. pp.†774. ISBN†0-00-470804-0. ‹ Lawson, T. (1997), Economics and Reality, Routledge: London and New York. ‹ Mouzelis, N. (1995), Sociological Theory: What Went Wrong?, Routledge: London and New York. ‹ Ritzer, G. (2000), Modern Sociological Theory (5th ed.), McGraw-Hill. ‹ Ritzer, G.; P. Gindoff (1992) "Methodological relationism: lessons for and from social psychology", Social Psychology Quarterly, 55(2), pp.†128€140. ‹ Tsekeris, C.; A. Lydaki (2011) "The micro-macro dilemma in sociology: perplexities and perspectives", Sociologija, 53(1), pp.†67€82. ‹ Turner, J. H. (1991), The Structure of Sociological Theory (5th edn.), Wadsworth Publishing Company: Belmont CA. ‹ Unger, Roberto (1987), False Necessity: Anti-Necessitarian Social Theory in the Service of Radical Democracy. Cambridge University Press: Cambridge ‹ Unger, Roberto (1987), Social Theory: Its situation and its task. Cambridge University Press: Cambridge ‹ Wilkinson, K. (1991)., The Community in Rural America. Greenwood Press: New York, NY
Scope and topics of sociology
In sociology, Social stratification is a concept involving the "classification of people into groups based on shared socio-economic conditions ... a relational set of inequalities with economic, social, political and ideological dimensions." When differences lead to greater status, power or privilege for some groups over the other it is called Social Stratification. It is a system by which society ranks categories of people in a hierarchy  Social stratification is based on four basic principles: (1) Social stratification is a trait of society, not simply a reflection of individual differences; (2) Social stratification carries over from generation to generation; (3) Social stratification is universal but variable; (4) Social stratification involves not just inequality but beliefs as well. In modern Western societies, stratification is broadly organized into three main layers: upper class, middle class, and lower class. Each of these classes can be further subdivided into smaller classes (e.g. occupational). These categories are particular to state-based societies as distinguished from feudal societies composed of nobility-to-peasant relations. Stratification may also be defined by kinship ties or castes. For Max Weber, social class pertaining broadly to material wealth is distinguished from status class which is based on such variables as honor, prestige and religious affiliation. Talcott Parsons argued that the forces of societal differentiation and the following pattern of institutionalized individualization would strongly diminish the role of class (as a major stratification factor) as social evolution went along. It is debatable whether the earliest hunter-gatherer groups may be defined as 'stratified', or if such differentials began with agriculture and broad acts of exchange between groups. One of the ongoing issues in determining social stratification arises from the point that status inequalities between individuals are common, so it becomes a quantitative issue to determine how much inequality qualifies as stratification.
The concept of social stratification is interpreted differently by the various theoretical perspectives of sociology. Proponents of action theory have suggested that since social stratification is commonly found in developed societies, hierarchy may be necessary in order to stabilize social structure. Talcott Parsons, an American sociologist, asserted that stability and social order are regulated, in part, by universal value although universal values were not identical with "consensus" but could as well be the impetus for ardent conflict as it had been multiple times through history. Parsons never claimed that universal values in and by themselves "satisfied" the functional prerequisites of a society, indeed, the constitution of society was a much more complicated codification of emerging historical factors. The so-called conflict theories, such as Marxism, point to the inaccessibility of resources and lack of social mobility found in stratified societies. Many sociological theorists have criticized the extent to which the working classes are unlikely to advance socioeconomically; the wealthy tend to hold political power which they use to exploit the proletariat intergenerationally. Theorists such as Ralf Dahrendorf, however, have noted the tendency toward an enlarged middle-class in modern Western societies due to the necessity of an educated workforce in technological and service economies. Various social and political perspectives concerning globalization, such as dependency theory, suggest that these effects are due to the change of workers to the third world.
In Marxist theory, the capitalist mode of production consists of two main economic parts: the substructure and the superstructure. Marx saw classes as defined by people's relationship to the means of productions in two basic ways: either they own productive property or labour for others. The base comprehends the relations of production•employer€employee work conditions, the technical division of labour, and property relations•into which people enter to produce the necessities and amenities of life. In the capitalist system, the ruling classes own the means of production, which essentially includes the working class itself as they only have their own labor power ('wage labor') to offer in order to survive. These relations fundamentally determine the ideas and philosophies of a society, constituting the superstructure. A temporary status quo is achieved by various methods of social control employed, consciously or unconsciously, by the bourgeoisie in the course of various aspects of social life. Through the ideology of the ruling class, false consciousness is promoted both through ostensibly political and non-political institutions, but also through the arts and other elements of culture. Marx believed the capitalist mode would eventually give way, through its own internal conflict, to revolutionary consciousness and the development of egalitarian communist society. Marx also explained two other classes, the petite bourgeoisie and lumpenproletariat. The petite bourgeoisie is like a small business class that never really accumulates enough profit to become part of the bourgeoisie, or even challenge their absolute power. The lumpenproletariat is the low life part of the proletariat class. This includes prostitutes, beggars, swindlers, etc. Neither of these subclasses have much influence in Marx's major two class system, but is helpful to know that Marx did recognize differences within the classes. According to Marvin Harris and Tim Ingold, Lewis Henry Morgan's accounts of egalitarian hunter-gatherers formed part of Karl Marx and Engels's inspiration for communism. Morgan spoke of a situation in which people living in the same community pooled their efforts and shared the rewards of those efforts fairly equally. He called this "communism in living." But when Marx expanded on these ideas, he still emphasized an economically oriented culture, with property defining the fundamental relationships between people. Yet, issues of ownership and property are arguably less emphasized in hunter-gatherer societies. This, combined with the very different social and economic situations of hunter-gatherers may account for many of the difficulties encountered when implementing communism in industrialized states. As Ingold points out: "The notion of communism, removed from the context of domesticity and harnessed to support a project of social engineering for large-scale, industrialized states with populations of millions, eventually came to mean something quite different from what Morgan had intended: namely, a principle of redistribution that would override all ties of a personal or familial nature, and cancel out their effects."
Max Weber was strongly influenced by Marx's ideas, but rejected the possibility of effective communism, arguing that it would require an even greater level of detrimental social control and bureaucratization than capitalist society. Moreover, Weber criticized the dialectical presumption of proletariat revolt, believing it to be unlikely. Instead, he developed the three-component theory of stratification and the concept of life chances. Weber supposed there were more class divisions than Marx suggested, taking different concepts from both functionalist and Marxist theories to create his own system. He emphasized the difference between class, status, and power, and treated these as separate but related sources of power, each with different effects on social action. Working at half a century later than Marx, Weber claimed there to be in fact four main classes: the upper class, the white collar workers, the petite bourgeoisie, and the manual working class. Weber's theory more-closely resembles contemporary Western class structures, although economic status does not currently seem to depend strictly on earnings in the way Weber envisioned. Weber derived many of his key concepts on social stratification by examining the social structure of Germany. He noted that contrary to Marx's theories, stratification was based on more than simply ownership of capital. Weber
Social stratification examined how many members of the aristocracy lacked economic wealth yet had strong political power. Many wealthy families lacked prestige and power, for example, because they were Jewish. Weber introduced three independent factors that form his theory of stratification hierarchy, which are; class, status, and power: ‹ Class: A person's economic position in a society, based on birth and individual achievement. Weber differs from Marx in that he does not see this as the supreme factor in stratification. Weber noted how corporate executives control firms they typically do not own; Marx would have placed these people in the proletariat despite their high incomes by virtue of the fact they sell their labor instead of owning capital. ‹ Status: A person's prestige, social honor, or popularity in a society. Weber noted that political power was not rooted in capital value solely, but also in one's individual status. Poets or saints, for example, can have extensive influence on society despite few material resources. ‹ Power: A person's ability to get their way despite the resistance of others. For example, individuals in state jobs, such as an employee of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, or a member of the United States Congress, may hold little property or status but still wield considerable power.
C. Wright Mills
C. Wright Mills contended that the imbalance of power in society derives from the complete absence of countervailing powers against corporate leaders of the power elite.  "... Mills both incorporated and revised Marxist ideas. While he shared Marx's recognition of a dominant wealthy and powerful class, Mills believed that the source for that power lay not only in the economic realm but also in the political and military arenas. During the 1950s, Mills stated that hardly anyone knew about the power elite's existence, some individuals (including the elite themselves) denied the idea of such a group, and other people vaguely believed that a small formation of a powerful elite existed. "Some prominent individuals knew that Congress had permitted a handful of political leaders to make critical decisions about peace and war; and that two atomic bombs had been dropped on Japan in the name of the United States, but neither they nor anyone they knew had been consulted." Mills sought to inform people about the existence of the power elite through his book The Power Elite. Mills explained that the power elite embodied a privileged class whose members were able to recognize their high position within society. In order to maintain their highly exalted position within society, members of the power elite tend to marry one another, understand and accept on another, and they also work together. The most crucial aspect of the power elite's existence lays within the core of education. "Youthful upper-class members attend prominent preparatory schools, which not only open doors to such elite universities as Harvard, Yale, and Princeton but also to the universities' highly exclusive clubs. These memberships in turn pave the way to the prominent social clubs located in all major cities and serving as sites for important business contacts." Examples of elite members who attended prestigious universities and were members of highly exclusive clubs can be seen in George W. Bush and John Kerry. Both Bush and Kerry were members of the Skull and Bones club while attending Yale University. This club includes members of some of the most powerful men of the twentieth century, all of which are forbidden to tell others about the secrets of their exclusive club. Throughout the years, the Skull and Bones club has included presidents, cabinet officers, Supreme Court justices, spies, captains of industry, and often their sons and daughters join the exclusive club, creating a social and political network like none ever seen before. The upper class individuals who receive elite educations typically have the essential background and contacts to enter into the three branches of the power elite: The political leadership, the military circle, and the corporate elite. ‹ The Political Leadership: Mills stated that prior to the end of World War II, leaders of corporations became more prominent within the political sphere, with a decline in central decision-making among professional politicians.
Social stratification ‹ The Military Circle: During the 1950s-1960s, increasing concerns about warfare existed, resulting in top military leaders and issues involving defense funding and military personnel training becoming a top priority within the United States. Most of the prominent politicians and corporate leaders were strong proponents of military spending. ‹ The Corporate Elite: Mills explains that during the 1950s, when the military emphasis was recognized, corporate leaders worked with prominent military officers who dominated the development of policies. Corporate leaders and high-ranking military officers were mutually supportive of each other. Mills believed that the power elite has an "inner-core" that was made up of individuals who were able to move from one position of institutional power to another; a prominent military officer who becomes a political adviser or a powerful politician who becomes a corporate executive. "These people have more knowledge and a greater breadth of interests than their colleagues. Prominent bankers and financiers, who Mills considered 'almost professional go-betweens of economic, political, and military affairs,' are also members of the elite's inner core.
Anthropologists have found that social stratification is not the standard among all societies. John Gowdy writes, "Assumptions about human behaviour that members of market societies believe to be universal, that humans are naturally competitive and acquisitive, and that social stratification is natural, do not apply to many hunter-gatherer peoples." Non-stratified egalitarian or acephalous ("headless") societies exist which have little or no concept of social hierarchy, political or economic status, class, or even permanent leadership.
Anthropologists identify egalitarian cultures as "kinship-oriented," because they appear to value social harmony more than wealth or status. These cultures are contrasted with economically oriented cultures (including states) in which status and material wealth are prized, and stratification, competition, and conflict are common. Kinship-oriented cultures actively work to prevent social hierarchies from developing because they believe that such stratification could lead to conflict and instability. Reciprocal altruism is one process by which this is accomplished. A good example is given by Richard Borshay Lee in his account of the Khoisan, who practice "insulting the meat." Whenever a hunter makes a kill, he is ceaselessly teased and ridiculed (in a friendly, joking fashion) to prevent him from becoming too proud or egotistical. The meat itself is then distributed evenly among the entire social group, rather than kept by the hunter. The level of teasing is proportional to the size of the kill. Lee found this out when he purchased an entire cow as a gift for the group he was living with, and was teased for weeks afterward about it (since obtaining that much meat could be interpreted as showing off). Another example is the Indigenous Australians of Groote Eylandt and Bickerton Island, off the coast of Arnhem Land, who have arranged their entire society, spirituality, and economy around a kind of gift economy called renunciation. According to David H. Turner, in this arrangement, every person is expected to give everything of any resource they have to any other person who needs or lacks it at the time. This has the benefit of largely eliminating social problems like theft and relative poverty. However, misunderstandings obviously arise when attempting to reconcile Aboriginal renunciative economics with the competition/scarcity-oriented economics introduced to Australia by Anglo-European colonists. See also the Original affluent society.
Research suggests that social stratification can cause many social problems. A comprehensive study of major world economies revealed that homicide, infant mortality, obesity, teenage pregnancies, emotional depression, teen suicide, and prison population all correlate with higher social inequality.
Three characteristics of stratified systems
1. The rankings apply to social categories of people who share a common characteristic without necessarily interacting or identifying with each other. The process of being ranked can be changed by the person being ranked. ‹ Example: The way we rank people differently by race, gender, and social class 2. People's life experiences and opportunities depend on their social category. This characteristic can be changed by the amount of work a person can put into their interests. ‹ Example: The greater advantage had by the son or daughter of a king to have a successful life than the son or daughter of a minimum-wage factory worker, because the king has a greater amount of resources than the factory worker. The use of resources can influence others. 3. The ranks of different social categories change slowly over time. This has occurred frequently in the United States ever since the American revolution. The U.S. constitution has been altered several times to specify rights for everyone. ‹ Examples: ‹ The Declaration of Independence: abolished the monarchy ‹ Article I, Section 9 of U.S. Constitution - "No Title of Nobility shall be granted by the United States" abolished aristocracy ‹ Thirteenth Amendment: ended public slavery in the United States ‹ Fourteenth Amendment: granted African-Americans citizenship in the United States ‹ Fifteenth Amendment: ended the public denial of suffrage based on race or prior condition of servitude ‹ Nineteenth Amendment: the United States government's recognition of women's suffrage ‹ The Civil Rights Act of 1964: ended racial segregation in public places in the United States; also extended the right to vote
        Barker, Chris. Cultural Studies: Theory and Practice. London: Sage. ISBN 0-7619-4156-8 p 436 Macionis, J., and Gerber, L. (2010). Sociology, 7th edition Macionis, Gerber, John, Linda (2010). Sociology 7th Canadian Ed. Toronto, Ontario: Pearson Canada Inc.. pp. 224, 225. Saunders, Peter (1990). Social Class and Stratification (http:/ / books. google. com/ books?id=FK-004p0J_EC). Routledge. . http:/ / courses. washington. edu/ anth457/ stratif. htm Macionis, Gerber, John, Linda (2010). Sociology 7th Canadian Ed. Toronto, Ontario: Pearson Canada Inc.. pp.†233. Doob, Christopher. Social Inequality and Social Stratification in US Society ed. 1 Harris, Harris (1967). The Rise of Anthropological Theory: A History of Theories of Culture (http:/ / books. google. com/ books?id=TlgVAAAAIAAJ). Routledge. ISBN†0-7591-0133-7. .  Ingold, Tim (2006) "On the social relations of the hunter-gatherer band," in Richard B. Lee and Richard H. Daly (eds.), The Cambridge Encyclopedia of Hunters and Gatherers, p. 400. New York: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-521-60919-4  Barnard, Alan (2006) "Images of hunters and gatherers in European social thought," in Richard B. Lee and Richard H. Daly (eds.), The Cambridge Encyclopedia of Hunters and Gatherers, p. 379. New York: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-521-60919-4  Gowdy, John (2006) "Hunter-gatherers and the mythology of the market," in Richard B. Lee and Richard H. Daly (eds.), The Cambridge Encyclopedia of Hunters and Gatherers, p. 393. New York: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-521-60919-4  Holborn, M. & Langley, P. (2004) AS & A level Student Handbook, accompanies the Sixth Edition: Haralambos & Holborn, Sociology: Themes and perspectives, London: Collins Educational  Macionis, Gerber, John, Linda (2010). Sociology 7th Canadian Ed. Toronto, Ontario: Pearson Canada Inc.. pp.†243.
 Stark, Rodney (2007). Sociology, Tenth Edition. Thompson Wadsworth.  Doob, Christopher (2013). Social Inequality and Social Stratification in US Society. Upper Saddle River, New Jersey: Pearson Education Inc.. pp.†38. ISBN†978-0-205-79241-2.  Mills, Charles W. (1956). The Power Elite (http:/ / en. wikipedia. org/ wiki/ The_Power_Elite). pp.†125. .  Domhoff, William G. (November 2006). "The Power Elite 50 years Later". Contemporary Sociology 35: 547.  Doob, Christopher (2013). Social Inequality and Social Stratification in US SOciety. Upper Saddle River, New Jersey: Pearson Education Inc.. pp.†38. ISBN†978-0-205-79241-2.  Doob, Christopher (2013). Social Inequality and SOcial Stratification in US Society. Upper Saddle River, New Jersey: Pearson Education Inc.. pp.†38. ISBN†978-0-205-79241-2.  Mills, Charles W. (1956). The Power Elite. pp.†4€5.  Doob, Christopher (2013). Social Inequality and Social Stratification in US Society. Upper Saddle River, New Jersey: Pearson Education Inc.. pp.†38. ISBN†978-0-205079241-2.  Mills, Charles W. (1956). The Power Elite. pp.†63€67.  Leung, Rebecca. "Skull and Bones" (http:/ / www. cbsnews. com/ 8301-18560_162-576332. html). CBS News. . Retrieved 12-03-12.  Leung, Rebecca. [Over the years, Bones has included presidents, cabinet officers, spies, Supreme Court justices, captains of industry, and often their sons and lately their daughters, a social and political network like no other. "Skull and Bones"]. Over the years, Bones has included presidents, cabinet officers, spies, Supreme Court justices, captains of industry, and often their sons and lately their daughters, a social and political network like no other.. Retrieved 12-03-12.  Doob, Christopher (2013). Social Inequality and Social Stratification in US Society. Upper Saddle River, New Jersey: Pearson Education Inc.. pp.†39. ISBN†978-0-205-79241-2.  Doob, Christopher (2013). Social Inequality and Stratification in US Society. Upper Saddle River, New Jersey: Pearson Education Inc.. pp.†39. ISBN†978-0-205-79241-2.  Doob, Christopher (2013). Social Stratification and Inequality in US Society. Upper Saddle River, New Jersey: Pearson Education Inc.. pp.†39. ISBN†978-0-205-79241-2.  Mills, Charles W. (1956). The Power Elite. pp.†274€276.  Mills, Charles W. (1956). The Power Elite. pp.†288€289.  Gowdy, John (2006) "Hunter-gatherers and the mythology of the market," in Richard B. Lee and Richard H. Daly (eds.), The Cambridge Encyclopedia of Hunters and Gatherers, p. 391. New York: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-521-60919-4  Lee, Richard B. (1976), Kalahari Hunter-Gatherers: Studies of the !Kung San and Their Neighbors, Richard B. Lee and Irven DeVore, eds. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.  Turner, David H. (1999), Genesis Regained: Aboriginal Forms of Renunciation in Judeo-Christian Scriptures and Other Major Traditions, pp. 1-9, Peter Lang.  "Inequality: The Mother of All Evils?" (http:/ / image. guardian. co. uk/ sys-files/ Guardian/ documents/ 2009/ 03/ 13/ inequality. pdf). The Guardian. . Retrieved 2010-01-16.  Giddens, Anthony; Duneier, Mitchell; Appelbaum, Richard P.; Carr, Deborah (1999). Introduction to Sociology (http:/ / books. google. com/ books?id=BtsPGwAACAAJ& dq=introduction+ to+ sociology+ giddens& hl=en& ei=zFywS-KkCYOC8gaduJ3-Cg& sa=X& oi=book_result& ct=result& resnum=1& ved=0CD8Q6AEwAA) (Seventh ed.). New York, London: W. W. Norton & Company, Inc.. pp.†206€207. ISBN†0-393-97188-0. . Retrieved 29 March 2010.
‹ On the Social Function of Caste: A Reply to Jared Diamond (http://www.anti-caste.org/ on-the-social-function-of-caste-a-reply-to-jared-diamond.html)
Sociology of religion
Sociology of religion
Sociology of religion is the study of the beliefs, practices and organizational forms of religion using the tools and methods of the discipline of sociology. This objective investigation may include the use of both quantitative methods (surveys, polls, demographic and census analysis) and qualitative approaches such as participant observation, interviewing, and analysis of archival, historical and documentary materials. Modern academic sociology began with the analysis of religion in ‡mile Durkheim's 1897 study of suicide rates among Catholic and Protestant populations, a foundational work of social research which served to distinguish sociology from other disciplines, such as psychology. The works of Karl Marx and Max Weber emphasized the relationship between religion and the economic or social structure of society. Contemporary debates have centered on issues such as secularization, civil religion, and the cohesiveness of religion in the context of globalization and multiculturalism. The contemporary sociology of religion may also encompass the sociology of irreligion (for instance, in the analysis of secular humanist belief systems). Sociology of religion is distinguished from the philosophy of religion in that it does not set out to assess the validity of religious beliefs. The process of comparing multiple conflicting dogmas may require what Peter L. Berger has described as inherent "methodological atheism". Whereas the sociology of religion broadly differs from theology in assuming indifference to the supernatural, theorists tend to acknowledge socio-cultural reification of religious practice.
History and relevance
Classical, seminal sociological theorists of the late 19th and early 20th century such as Durkheim, Weber, and Marx were greatly interested in religion and its effects on society. Like those of Plato and Aristotle from ancient Greece, and Enlightenment philosophers from the 17th through 19th centuries, the ideas posited by these sociologists continue to be examined today. More recent prominent sociologists of religion include Peter L. Berger, Robert N. Bellah, Thomas Luckmann, Rodney Stark, Robert Wuthnow, Christian Smith, and Bryan R. Wilson.
View of religion in classical sociology
Durkheim, Marx, and Weber had very complex and developed theories about the nature and effects of religion. Of these, Durkheim and Weber are often more difficult to understand, especially in light of the lack of context and examples in their primary texts. Religion was considered to be an extremely important social variable in the work of all three.
"Marx was the product of the Enlightenment, embracing its call to replace faith by reason and religion by science." Despite his later influence, Karl Marx did not view his work as an ethical or ideological response to nineteenth-century capitalism (as most later commentators have). His efforts were, in his mind, based solely on what can be called applied science. Marx saw himself as doing morally neutral sociology and economic theory for the sake of human development. As Christiano states, "Marx did not believe in science for science's sake…he believed that he was also advancing a theory that would…be a useful tool…[in] effecting a revolutionary upheaval of the capitalist system in favor of socialism." (124) As such, the crux of his arguments was that humans are best guided by reason. Religion, Marx held, was a significant hindrance to reason, inherently masking the truth and misguiding followers. As we will later see, Marx viewed social alienation as the heart of social inequality. The antithesis to this alienation is freedom. Thus, to propagate freedom means to present individuals with the truth and give them a choice to accept or deny it. In this, "Marx never suggested that religion ought to be prohibited." (Christiano 126)
Sociology of religion Central to Marx's theories was the oppressive economic situation in which he dwelt. With the rise of European industrialism, Marx and his colleague Friedrich Engels witnessed and responded to the growth of what he called "surplus value." Marx's view of capitalism saw rich capitalists getting richer and their workers getting poorer (the gap, the exploitation, was the "surplus value"). Not only were workers getting exploited, but in the process they were being further detached from the products they helped create. By simply selling their work for wages, "workers simultaneously lose connection with the object of labor and become objects themselves. Workers are devalued to the level of a commodity†€ a thing…" (Ibid 125) From this objectification comes alienation. The common worker is led to believe that he or she is a replaceable tool, and is alienated to the point of extreme discontent. Here, in Marx's eyes, religion enters. Capitalism utilizes our tendency towards religion as a tool or ideological state apparatus to justify this alienation. Christianity teaches that those who gather up riches and power in this life will almost certainly not be rewarded in the next ("it is harder for a rich man to enter the Kingdom of Heaven than it is for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle...") while those who suffer oppression and poverty in this life, while cultivating their spiritual wealth, will be rewarded in the Kingdom of God. Thus Marx's famous line - "religion is the opium of the people", as it soothes them and dulls their senses to the pain of oppression.
‡mile Durkheim placed himself in the positivist tradition, meaning that he thought of his study of society as dispassionate and scientific. He was deeply interested in the problem of what held complex modern societies together. Religion, he argued, was an expression of social cohesion. In the fieldwork that led to his famous Elementary Forms of Religious Life, Durkheim, a secular Frenchman, looked at anthropological data of Indigenous Australians. His underlying interest was to understand the basic forms of religious life for all societies. In Elementary Forms, Durkheim argues that the totems the Aborigines venerate are actually expressions of their own conceptions of society itself. This is true not only for the Aborigines, he argues, but for all societies. Religion, for Durkheim, is not "imaginary," although he does deprive it of what many believers find essential. Religion is very real; it is an expression of society itself, and indeed, there is no society that does not have religion. We perceive as individuals a force greater than ourselves, which is our social life, and give that perception a supernatural face. We then express ourselves religiously in groups, which for Durkheim makes the symbolic power greater. Religion is an expression of our collective consciousness, which is the fusion of all of our individual consciousnesses, which then creates a reality of its own. It follows, then, that less complex societies, such as the Australian Aborigines, have less complex religious systems, involving totems associated with particular clans. The more complex a particular society, the more complex the religious system is. As societies come in contact with other societies, there is a tendency for religious systems to emphasize universalism to a greater and greater extent. However, as the division of labor makes the individual seem more important (a subject that Durkheim treats extensively in his famous Division of Labor in Society), religious systems increasingly focus on individual salvation and conscience. Durkheim's definition of religion, from Elementary Forms, is as follows: "A religion is a unified system of beliefs and practices relative to sacred things, that is to say, things set apart and forbidden € beliefs and practices which unite into one single moral community called a Church, all those who adhere to them." (Marx, introduction) This is a functional definition of religion, meaning that it explains what religion does in social life: essentially, it unites societies. Durkheim defined religion as a clear distinction between the sacred and the profane, in effect this can be paralleled with the distinction between God and humans. This definition also does not stipulate what exactly may be considered sacred. Thus later sociologists of religion (notably Robert Bellah) have extended Durkheimian insights to talk about notions of civil religion, or the religion of a state. American civil religion, for example, might be said to have its own set of sacred "things": the Flag of the United States, Abraham Lincoln, Martin Luther King Jr., etc. Other sociologists have taken Durkheim's concept of
Sociology of religion what religion is in the direction of the religion of professional sports, the military, or of rock music.
Max Weber published four major texts on religion in a context of economic sociology and his rationalization thesis: The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism (1905), The Religion of China: Confucianism and Taoism (1915), The Religion of India: The Sociology of Hinduism and Buddhism (1915), and Ancient Judaism (1920). In his sociology, Weber uses the German term "Verstehen" to describe his method of interpretation of the intention and context of human action. Weber is not a positivist € in the sense that he does not believe we can find out "facts" in sociology that can be causally linked. Although he believes some generalized statements about social life can be made, he is not interested in hard positivist claims, but instead in linkages and sequences, in historical narratives and particular cases. Weber argues for making sense of religious action on its own terms. A religious group or individual is influenced by all kinds of things, he says, but if they claim to be acting in the name of religion, we should attempt to understand their perspective on religious grounds first. Weber gives religion credit for shaping a person's image of the world, and this image of the world can affect their view of their interests, and ultimately how they decide to take action. For Weber, religion is best understood as it responds to the human need for theodicy and soteriology. Human beings are troubled, he says, with the question of theodicy € the question of how the extraordinary power of a divine god may be reconciled with the imperfection of the world that he has created and rules over. People need to know, for example, why there is undeserved good fortune and suffering in the world. Religion offers people soteriological answers, or answers that provide opportunities for salvation € relief from suffering, and reassuring meaning. The pursuit of salvation, like the pursuit of wealth, becomes a part of human motivation. Because religion helps to define motivation, Weber believed that religion (and specifically Calvinism) actually helped to give rise to modern capitalism, as he asserted in his most famous and controversial work, The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism. In The Protestant Ethic, Weber argues that capitalism arose in Europe in part because of how the belief in predestination was interpreted by everyday English Puritans. Puritan theology was based on the Calvinist notion that not everyone would be saved; there was only a specific number of the elect who would avoid damnation, and this was based sheerly on God's predetermined will and not on any action you could perform in this life. Official doctrine held that one could not ever really know whether one was among the elect. Practically, Weber noted, this was difficult psychologically: people were (understandably) anxious to know whether they would be eternally damned or not. Thus Puritan leaders began assuring members that if they began doing well financially in their businesses, this would be one unofficial sign they had God's approval and were among the saved € but only if they used the fruits of their labor well. This along with the rationalism implied by monotheism led to the development of rational bookkeeping and the calculated pursuit of financial success beyond what one needed simply to live € and this is the "spirit of capitalism." Over time, the habits associated with the spirit of capitalism lost their religious significance, and rational pursuit of profit became its own aim. The Protestant Ethic thesis has been much critiqued, refined, and disputed, but is still a lively source of theoretical debate in sociology of religion. Weber also did considerable work in world religions, including Hinduism and Buddhism. In his magnum opus Economy and Society Weber distinguished three ideal types of religious attitudes: 1. world-flying mysticism 2. world-rejecting asceticism 3. inner-worldly asceticism He also separated magic as pre-religious activity.
Sociology of religion
Typology of religious groups
One common typology among sociologists, religious groups are classified as ecclesias, denominations, sects, or cults (now more commonly referred to in scholarship as New Religious Movements). Note that sociologists give these words precise definitions which differ from how they are commonly used. In particular, sociologists use the words 'cult' and 'sect' without negative connotations, even though the popular use of these words is often pejorative.
In prosperous democracies, higher rates of belief in and worship of a creator correlate with higher rates of homicide, juvenile and early adult mortality, STD infection rates, teen pregnancy, and abortion. As the author Stephen Law paraphrases in his book "War For the Children's Mind" (Law,'Keeping the masses in Line' p 159) "The most theistic prosperous democracy, the U.S., is exceptional, but not in the manner Franklin predicted. The United States is almost always the most dysfunctional of the developed democracies, sometimes spectacularly so...The view of the U.S. as a "shining city on the hill" to the rest of the world is falsified when it comes to basic measures of societal health." The study also notes that it is the more secular, pro-evolution societies that come close to "cultures of life" (although these countries are far from perfect, they have low rates of lethal crime, for example). The authors conclude that the reasonable success of non-religious democracies like Japan, France and Scandinavia has refuted the idea that Godless societies suffer disaster. They add "Contradicting these conclusions requires demonstrating a positive link between theism and societal conditions in the first world with a similarly large body of data - a doubtful possibility in view of the observable trends." BBC news http:/ / www. bbc. co. uk/ news/ science-environment-12811197 reported on a study that attempted to use mathematical modelling ('nonlinear dynamics') to predict future religious orientations of populations. The study suggests that religion is headed towards 'extinction' in various nations where it has been on the decline: Australia, Austria, Canada, the Czech Republic, Finland, Ireland, the Netherlands, New Zealand and Switzerland. The model considers, not only the changing number of people with certain beliefs, but also attempts to assign utility values of a belief as per each nation.
Secularization and civil religion
In relation to the processes of rationalization associated with the development of modernity, it was predicted in the works of many classical sociologists that religion would decline. Despite the claims of many classical theorists and sociologists immediately after World War II, many contemporary theorists have critiqued secularisation thesis, arguing that religion has continued to play a vital role in the lives of individuals worldwide. In the United States, in particular, church attendance has remained relatively stable in the past 40 years. In Africa, the emergence of Christianity has occurred at a high rate. While Africa could claim roughly 10 million Christians in 1900, recent estimates put that number closer to 200 million. The rise of Islam as a major world religion, especially its new-found influence in the West, is another significant development. Furthermore, arguments may be presented regarding the concept of civil religion and new world belief systems. In short, presupposed secularization as a decline in religiosity might seem to be a myth, depending on its definition and the definition of its scope. For instance, some sociologists have argued that steady church attendance and personal religious belief may coexist with a decline in the influence of religious authorities on social or political issues. Additionally, the regular attendance or affiliation do not necessarily translate into a behavior according to their doctrinal teachings. In other words, there might be still a growing in numbers of members but it does not mean that all members are faithfully following the rules of pious behaviors expected. In that sense, religion may be seen as declining because its waning ability to influence behavior.
Sociology of religion
The Sociology of religion continues to grow throughout the world as different cultures take on different types of religion. The two main theories of Globalization are Modernization development, which is a functionalist derivative, and Exploitation which is a Marxist derivative. Both of these theories came from the idea that prejudices were holding back the advancement of religion. The main difference between these theories is whether they view Capitalism as a friend or foe. As technology advanced many different cultures started to look into different religions and incorporate different beliefs into society.
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‹ Kevin J. Christiano, et al., (2nd ed., 2008), Sociology of Religion: Contemporary Developments, Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers. ISBN 978-0-7425-6111-3 ‹ Marx, Karl. 1844. A Contribution to the Critique of Hegel's Philosophy of Right (http://www.marxists.org/ archive/marx/works/1843/critique-hpr/intro.htm), Deutsch-Franz‰sische Jahrb•cher, February. ‹ Max Weber, Sociology of Religion ‹ Weber, Max. The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism. Los Angeles: Roxbury Company, 2002. ISBN 1-891487-43-4 ‹ Clarke, Peter B. (ed., 2009), The Oxford Handbook of the Sociology of Religion (http://books.google.at/ books?id=W9lXRS43iXIC&pg=PA188&lpg=PA188&dq=handbook+sociology+of+religion+woodhead& source=bl&ots=odh9jksGtD&sig=RYlxkP9WLObjZC2Vtn1EyJuvW3M&hl=de& ei=L2NgS7vVBI_EmwOi24jGDA&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=4& ved=0CCEQ6AEwAw#v=onepage&q=handbook sociology of religion woodhead&f=false). Oxford/New York. Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-927979-1
Sociology of religion
‹ ‹ ‹ ‹ ‹ ‹ ‹ American Sociological Association, Section on Sociology of Religion (http://www2.asanet.org/section34/) Association for the Sociology of Religion (ASR) (http://www.sociologyofreligion.com/) Society for the Scientific Study of Religion (http://www.sssrweb.org/) Sociological work of Mois‰s Esp‘rito Santo (http://www.portcult.com/OPS_02.htm) Association of Religion Data Archives (http://www.thearda.com) Religion resources (http://csrs.nd.edu/religionlinks.shtml) at Center for the Study of Religion and Society Hadden: Religion and the Quest for Meaning and Order (http://cti.itc.virginia.edu/~jkh8x/soc203/paradigm. html) ‹ A test of the Stark-Bainbridge theory of affiliation with cults and sects (http://www.holysmoke.org/sdhok/ joining.htm) ‹ Verstehen: Max Weber's Homepage (http://www.faculty.rsu.edu/~felwell/Theorists/Weber/Whome.htm) ‹ Associazione Italiana di Sociologia, Sezione Religione (http://www.sociologiadellareligione.it)
Sociology of the Internet
The sociology of the Internet involves the application of sociological theory and method to the Internet as a source of information and communication. Sociologists are concerned with the social implications of the technology; new social networks, virtual communities and ways of interaction that have arisen, as well as issues related to cyber crime. The Internet•the newest in a series of major information breakthroughs•is of interest for sociologists in various ways: as a tool for research, for example, in using online questionnaires instead of paper ones, as a discussion platform, and as a research topic. The sociology of the Internet in the stricter sense concerns the analysis of online communities (e.g. as found in newsgroups), virtual communities and virtual worlds, organizational change catalyzed through new media such as the Internet, and social change at-large in the transformation from industrial to informational society (or to information society). Online communities can be studied statistically through network analysis and at the same time interpreted qualitatively, such as through virtual ethnography. Social change can be studied through statistical demographics or through the interpretation of changing messages and symbols in online media studies.
Emergence of the discipline
The Internet is a relatively new phenomenon. As Robert Darnton wrote, it is a revolutionary change that "took place yesterday, or the day before, depending on how you measure it." The Internet developed from the ARPANET, dating back to 1969; as a term it was coined in 1974. The World Wide Web as we know it was shaped in the mid 1990s, when graphical interface and services like email became popular and reached wider (non-scientific and non-military) audiences and commerce. Internet Explorer was first released in 1995; Netscape a year earlier. Google was founded in 1998. Wikipedia was founded in 2001. Facebook, MySpace, and YouTube in the mid-2000s. Web 2.0 is still emerging. Steadily, the amount of information available on the net and the number of Internet users worldwide has continued to grow rapidly.
Sociology of the Internet
According to DiMaggio et al. (2001), research tends to focus on the Internet's implications in five domains: 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. inequality (the issues of digital divide) community and social capital (the issues of time displacement) political participation (the issues of public sphere, deliberative democracy and civil society) organizations and other economic institutions cultural participation and cultural diversity
Early on, there were predictions that the Internet would change everything (or nothing); over time, however, a consensus emerged that the Internet, at least in the current phase of development, complements rather than displaces previously implemented media. This has meant a rethinking of the 1990s ideas of "convergence of new and old media". Further, the Internet offers a rare opportunity to study changes caused by the newly emerged - and likely, still evolving - information and communication technology (ICT).
The Internet has created new forums of social interaction and social relations including social networking websites such as Facebook and MySpace and sites such as meetup.com and Couchsurfing which facilitate offline interaction. Though virtual communities were once thought to be composed of strictly virtual social ties, researchers often find that even those social ties formed in virtual spaces are often maintained both online and offline  There are ongoing debates about the impact of the Internet on strong and weak ties, whether the internet is creating more or less social capital, the internet's role in trends towards social isolation, and whether it creates a more or less diverse social environment.
Political organization and censorship
The Internet has achieved new relevance as a political tool. The presidential campaign of Howard Dean in 2004 in the United States became famous for its ability to generate donations via the Internet, and the 2008 campaign of Barack Obama became even more so. Increasingly, social movements and other organizations use the Internet to carry out both traditional and the new Internet activism. Governments are also getting on-line. Some countries, such as those of Cuba, Iran, North Korea, Myanmar, the People's Republic of China, and Saudi Arabia, use filtering and censoring software to restrict what people in their countries can access on the Internet. With United Kingdom, they also use software to locate and arrest various individuals they perceive as a threat. Other countries, including the United States, have enacted laws making the possession or distribution of certain material, such as child pornography, illegal, but do not use filtering software. In some countries Internet service providers have agreed to restrict access to sites listed by police.
While much has been written of the economic advantages of internet-enabled commerce, there is also evidence that some aspects of the internet such as maps and location-aware services may serve to reinforce economic inequality and the digital divide. Electronic commerce may be responsible for consolidation and the decline of mom-and-pop, brick and mortar businesses resulting in increases in income inequality.
The spread of low-cost internet access in developing countries has opened up new possibilities for peer-to-peer charities, which allow individuals to contribute small amounts to charitable projects for other individuals. Websites such as Donors Choose and Global Giving now allow small-scale donors to direct funds to individual projects of
Sociology of the Internet their choice. A popular twist on internet-based philanthropy is the use of peer-to-peer lending for charitable purposes. Kiva pioneered this concept in 2005, offering the first web-based service to publish individual loan profiles for funding. Kiva raises funds for local intermediary microfinance organizations which post stories and updates on behalf of the borrowers. Lenders can contribute as little as $25 to loans of their choice, and receive their money back as borrowers repay. Kiva falls short of being a pure peer-to-peer charity, in that loans are disbursed before being funded by lenders and borrowers do not communicate with lenders themselves. However, the recent spread of cheap internet access in developing countries has made genuine peer-to-peer connections increasingly feasible. In 2009 the US-based nonprofit Zidisha tapped into this trend to offer the first peer-to-peer microlending platform to link lenders and borrowers across international borders without local intermediaries. Inspired by interactive websites such as Facebook and eBay, Zidisha's microlending platform facilitates direct dialogue between lenders and borrowers and a performance rating system for borrowers. Web users worldwide can fund loans for as little as a dollar.
The Internet has been a major source of leisure since before the World Wide Web, with entertaining social experiments such as MUDs and MOOs being conducted on university servers, and humor-related Usenet groups receiving much of the main traffic. Today, many Internet forums have sections devoted to games and funny videos; short cartoons in the form of Flash movies are also popular. Over 6 million people use blogs or message boards as a means of communication and for the sharing of ideas. The pornography and gambling industries have both taken full advantage of the World Wide Web, and often provide a significant source of advertising revenue for other websites. Although governments have made attempts to censor internet porn, internet service providers have told governments that these plans are not feasible. Also many governments have attempted to put restrictions on both industries' use of the Internet, this has generally failed to stop their widespread popularity. One area of leisure on the Internet is multiplayer gaming. This form of leisure creates communities, bringing people of all ages and origins to enjoy the fast-paced world of multiplayer games. These range from MMORPG to first-person shooters, from role-playing video games to online gambling. This has revolutionized the way many people interact and spend their free time on the Internet. While online gaming has been around since the 1970s, modern modes of online gaming began with services such as GameSpy and MPlayer, to which players of games would typically subscribe. Non-subscribers were limited to certain types of gameplay or certain games. Many use the Internet to access and download music, movies and other works for their enjoyment and relaxation. As discussed above, there are paid and unpaid sources for all of these, using centralized servers and distributed peer-to-peer technologies. Discretion is needed as some of these sources take more care over the original artists' rights and over copyright laws than others. Many use the World Wide Web to access news, weather and sports reports, to plan and book holidays and to find out more about their random ideas and casual interests. People use chat, messaging and e-mail to make and stay in touch with friends worldwide, sometimes in the same way as some previously had pen pals. Social networking websites like MySpace, Facebook and many others like them also put and keep people in contact for their enjoyment. The Internet has seen a growing number of Web desktops, where users can access their files, folders, and settings via the Internet. Cyberslacking has become a serious drain on corporate resources; the average UK employee spends 57 minutes a day surfing the Web at work, according to a study by Peninsula Business Services.
Sociology of the Internet
 Robert Darnton, The Library in the New Age (http:/ / www. nybooks. com/ articles/ 21514), The New York Review of Books, Volume 55, Number 10. June 12, 2008. Retrieved on 22 December 2009.  Paul DiMaggio, Eszter Hargittai, W. Russell Neuman, and John P. Robinson, Social Implications of the Internet, Annual Review of Sociology, Vol. 27: 307-336 (Volume publication date August 2001), doi:10.1146/annurev.soc.27.1.307 (http:/ / arjournals. annualreviews. org/ doi/ abs/ 10. 1146/ annurev. soc. 27. 1. 307)  Lauren F. Sessions, "How offline gatherings affect online community members: when virtual community members ˆmeetup‚.""Information, Communication, and Society"13,3(April, 2010):375-395  Bo Xie, B. ˆThe mutual shaping of online and offline social relationships."Information Research, 1,3(2008):n.p.  Lee Rainie, John Horrigan, Barry Wellman, and Jeffrey Boase. (2006)"The Strength of Internet Ties" Pew Internet and American Life Project. Washington, D.C.  Ellison, N. B., Steinfield, C., & Lampe, C. (2007). The benefits of Facebook "friends:" Social capital and college students' use of online social network sites. Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication, 12(4).  Social Isolation and New Technology Pew Internet and American Life Report (http:/ / www. pewinternet. org/ Reports/ 2009/ 18--Social-Isolation-and-New-Technology. aspx)  "How the Internet Reinforces Inequality in the Real World" (http:/ / www. theatlanticcities. com/ technology/ 2013/ 02/ how-internet-reinforces-inequality-real-world/ 4602/ ) The Atlantic February 6, 2013  "E-commerce will make the shopping mall a retail wasteland" (http:/ / www. zdnet. com/ e-commerce-will-make-the-shopping-mall-a-retail-wasteland-7000009960/ ) ZDNet, January 17, 2013  Kiva Is Not Quite What It Seems (http:/ / blogs. cgdev. org/ open_book/ 2009/ 10/ kiva-is-not-quite-what-it-seems. php), by David Roodman, Center for Global Development, Oct. 2, 2009, as accessed Jan. 2 & 16, 2010  Confusion on Where Money Lent via Kiva Goes (http:/ / www. nytimes. com/ 2009/ 11/ 09/ business/ global/ 09kiva. html?_r=1& scp=1& sq=Kiva& st=cse), by Stephanie Strom, in The New York Times, Nov. 8, 2009, as accessed Jan. 2 & 16, 2010  "Zidisha Set to "Expand" in Peer-to-Peer Microfinance", Microfinance Focus, Feb 2010 (http:/ / www. microfinancefocus. com/ news/ 2010/ 02/ 07/ zidisha-set-to-expand-in-peer-to-peer-microfinance-julia-kurnia/ )  Chivers, Tom (Dec 21 2010). "Internet pornography block plans: other attempts to control the internet" (http:/ / www. telegraph. co. uk/ technology/ internet/ 8215030/ Internet-pornography-block-plans-other-attempts-to-control-the-internet. html). The Telegraph. . Retrieved 24 February 2012.  Scotsman.com News - Net abuse hits small city firms (http:/ / news. scotsman. com/ topics. cfm?tid=914& id=1001802003)
‹ John A. Bargh and Katelyn Y. A. McKenna, The Internet and Social Life, Annual Review of Psychology, Vol. 55: 573-590 (Volume publication date February 2004), doi:10.1146/annurev.psych.55.090902.141922 (http:// arjournals.annualreviews.org/doi/abs/10.1146/annurev.psych.55.090902.141922?journalCode=psych) ‹ Allison Cavanagh, Sociology in the Age of the Internet, McGraw-Hill International, 2007, ISBN 0-335-21725-7 ‹ Christine Hine, Virtual Methods: Issues in Social Research on the Internet, Berg Publishers, 2005, ISBN 1-84520-085-3 ‹ Rob Kling, The Internet for Sociologists, Contemporary Sociology, Vol. 26, No. 4 (Jul., 1997), pp.…434•444 ‹ Joan Ferrante-Wallace, Joan Ferrante, Sociology.net: Sociology on the Internet, Thomson Wadsworth, 1996, ISBN 0-534-52756-6 ‹ Daniel A. Menchik and Xiaoli Tian. (2008) "Putting Social Context into Text: The Semiotics of Email Interaction." (http://menchik.com/Menchik_Tian_AJS.pdf) The American Journal of Sociology. 114:2 pp.†332€70. ‹ Carla G. Surratt, "The Internet and Social Change", McFarland, 2001, ISBN 0-786-41019-1 ‹ D. R. Wilson, Researching Sociology on the Internet, Thomson/Wadsworth, 2004, ISBN 0-534-62437-5
Sociology of the Internet
‹ Sociology and the Internet (http://www.sociology.org.uk/olinset.htm) (A short introduction, originally put-together for delegates to the ATSS 2000 Conference.) ‹ Peculiarities of Cyberspace - Building Blocks for an Internet Sociology (http://www.sociosite.org/index_en. php) (Articles the social structure and dynamic of internetcommunities. Presented by dr Albert Benschop, University of Amsterdam.) ‹ Communication and Information Technologies Section of the American Sociological Association (http://citasa. org/) ‹ The Impact of the Internet on Sociology: The Importance of the Communication and Information Technologies Section of the American Sociological Association (http://www.allacademic.com/meta/ p_mla_apa_research_citation/1/0/4/1/6/p104169_index.html) ‹ Sociology and the Internet (http://camden-www.rutgers.edu/~wood/445syl.html) (course) ‹ Sociology of the Internet (http://web.archive.org/web/20091026213335/http://geocities.com/ ResearchTriangle/1214/) (link collection) ‹ Internet sociologist (http://www.vts.intute.ac.uk/he/tutorial/sociologist) ‹ The Sociology of the Internet (http://www-frd.fsl.noaa.gov/~moninger/NOAATech2002/Relaxation.html)
Contemporary political sociology involves, but is not limited to, the study of the relations between state and society. Where a typical research question in political sociology might have been: "Why do so few American citizens choose to vote?" or even, "What difference does it make if women get elected?"  political sociologists also now ask: "How is the body a site of power?", "How are emotions relevant to global poverty?"  or "What difference does knowledge make to democracy?"  The opening up of political sociology does not mean that old topics have been discarded. Traditionally there were four main areas of research: 1. The socio-political formation of the modern state; 2. "Who rules"? How social inequality between groups (class, race, gender, etc.) influences politics; 3. How public personalities, social movements and trends outside of the formal institutions of political power affect formal politics; 4. Power relationships within and between social groups (e.g. families, workplaces, bureaucracy, media, etc.). In other words, political sociology was traditionally concerned with how social trends, dynamics, and structures of domination affect formal political processes, as well as exploring how various social forces work together to change political policies. From this perspective we can identify three major theoretical frameworks: pluralism, elite or managerial theory, and class analysis (which overlaps with Marxist analysis). Pluralism sees politics primarily as a contest among competing interest groups. Elite or managerial theory is sometimes called a state-centered approach. It explains what the state does by looking at constraints from organizational structure, semi-autonomous state managers, and interests that arise from the state as a unique, power concentrating organization. A leading representative is Theda Skocpol. Social class theory analysis emphasizes the political power of capitalist elites. It can be split into two parts. One is the 'power structure' or 'instrumentalist' approach, another is the structuralist approach. The power structure approach focuses on 'Who Rules?' and its most well-known representative is G. William Domhoff. The structuralist approach emphasizes on the way a capitalist economy operates; only allowing and encouraging the state to do some things but not others (Nicos Poulantzas, Bob Jessop). Contemporary political sociology takes these questions seriously, but it is concerned with the play of power and politics across societies, which includes, but is not restricted to, relations between the state and society. In part, this
Political sociology is a product of the growing complexity of social relations, the impact of social movement organising, and the relative weakening of the state as a result of globalization. In large part, however, it is due to the radical rethinking of social theory. This is as much focused now on micro questions (such as the formation of identity through social interaction, the politics of knowledge, and the effects of the contestation of meaning on structures), as it is on macro questions (such as how to capture and use state power). Chief influences here include cultural studies (Stuart Hall), post-structuralism (Michel Foucault, Judith Butler), pragmatism (Luc Boltanski), structuration theory (Anthony Giddens), and cultural sociology (Jeffrey C. Alexander).
 K. Nash (2010) Contemporary Political Sociology Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell http:/ / books. google. com/ books?id=LWwBN3rUrO4C& printsec=frontcover& dq=contemporary+ political+ sociology& hl=en& ei=JJmETpKlBcSw8QP0gqlW& sa=X& oi=book_result& ct=result& resnum=1& ved=0CDEQ6AEwAA#v=one  Piven, F. (1988) Why Americans Don't Vote: And Why Politicians Want it That Way Pantheon. ISBN 0-679-72318-8  A. Phillips (1991) Engendering Democracy, Cambridge, Polity http:/ / books. google. com/ books?id=x7EUAQAAIAAJ& q=engendering+ democracy& dq=engendering+ democracy& hl=en& ei=75mETvy8Nsmi8QPG9pxf& sa=X& oi=book_result& ct=result& resnum=1& ved=0CCwQ6AEwAA  R. Sassatelli (2011) 'Body Politics' in E. Amenta, K. Nash and A. Scott (eds) The Wiley-Blackwell Companion to Political Sociology, Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell
 K. Nash (2008) 'Global citizenship as show business: the cultural politics of Make Poverty History' Media, Culture and Society 30/1 http:/ / eprints. gold. ac. uk/ 94/  B. De Sousa Santos et al. (2007) Another Knowledge Is Possible: Beyond Northern Epistemologies (Reinventing Social Emancipation: Toward New Manifestos), London: Verso http:/ / books. google. com/ books?id=2yO5AAAAIAAJ& q=another+ knowledge+ is+ possible& dq=another+ knowledge+ is+ possible& hl=en& ei=mJqETo-IE8iV8QO60PE-& sa=X& oi=book_result& ct=result& resnum=1& ved=0CCwQ6AEwA  Domhoff G. William. Power Structure Research and the hope for Democracy. Adam Schneider,April.2005.Web Retrieved 29 Sept.2009 from <http://www.polycola.com/search.php?stypes=&eng1=yahoo&eng2=google&st=Web&q=three+major+theoretical+frameworks+are+elite+pluralism+and+manage  Buzzell,Timothy, Betty A. Dobratz,and Lisa K. Waldner."The Politics of Social Inequality."14 Mar. 2001 Web. 29 Sept 2009 From:<http://books.emeraldinsight.com/display.asp?K=9780762307562>  Nachtigal M. Paul."Political Trends Affecting Nonmetropolitan America." Journal of Research in Rural Education Vol.10(1994):161-166.Print. From:http:/ / www. jrre. psu. edu/ articles/ v10,n3,p161-166,Nachtigal. pdf  Bentley,Peter,Arnold Rose,Talcott Parsons,and Neil Smelser. "Political Sociological Theories:Theories of the State and Power." 16 Jan.2003.Web.28 Sept 2009 from:<http://stmarys.ca/~evanderveen/wvdv/political_sociology/political_sociological_theories.htm>  Lewis A. Coser.Masters of sociological Thought.Class Theory 1977:48-50 Web. Retrieved 29 Sept 2009 from <http://www.polycola.com/search.php?stypes=&eng1=yahoo&eng2=google&st=Web&q=social+class+theory+emerged+when>
Sociological research methods
Social research refers to research conducted by social scientists, which follows a systematic plan. Social research methods can generally vary along a quantitative/qualitative dimension. ‹ Quantitative designs approach social phenomena through quantifiable evidence, and often rely on statistical analysis of many cases (or across intentionally designed treatments in an experiment) to create valid and reliable general claims. Related to quantity. ‹ Qualitative designs emphasize understanding of social phenomena through direct observation, communication with participants, or analysis of texts, and may stress contextual and subjective accuracy over generality. Related to quality. While various methods may sometimes be classified as quantitative or qualitative, most methods contain elements of both. For example, qualitative data analysis often involves a fairly structured approach to coding the raw data into systematic information, and quantifying intercoder reliability. Thus, a strong distinction between "qualitative" and "quantitative" should really be seen as a somewhat more complex relationship, such that many methods may be both qualitative and quantitative. Social scientists employ a range of methods in order to analyse a vast breadth of social phenomena; from census survey data derived from millions of individuals, to the in-depth analysis of a single agents' social experiences; from monitoring what is happening on contemporary streets, to the investigation of ancient historical documents. The methods rooted in classical sociology and statistics have formed the basis for research in other disciplines, such as political science, media studies, program evaluation and market research.
Social scientists are divided into camps of support for particular research techniques. These disputes relate to the historical core of social theory (positivism and antipositivism; structure and agency). While very different in many aspects, both qualitative and quantitative approaches involve a systematic interaction between theory and data. The choice of method often depends largely on what the researcher intends to investigate. For example, a researcher concerned with drawing a statistical generalization across an entire population may administer a survey questionnaire to a representative sample population. By contrast, a researcher who seeks full contextual understanding of an individuals' social actions may choose ethnographic participant observation or open-ended interviews. Studies will commonly combine, or 'triangulate', quantitative and qualitative methods as part of a 'multi-strategy' design.
Typically a population is very large, making a census or a complete enumeration of all the values in that population infeasible. A 'sample' thus forms a manageable subset of a population. In positivist research, statistics derived from a sample are analysed in order to draw inferences regarding the population as a whole. The process of collecting information from a sample is referred to as 'sampling'. Sampling methods may be either 'random' (random sampling, systematic sampling, stratified sampling, cluster sampling) or non-random/nonprobability (convenience sampling, purposive sampling, snowball sampling). The most common reason for sampling is to obtain information about a population. Sampling is quicker and cheaper than a complete census of a population.
Social research is based on logic and empirical observations. Charles C. Ragin writes in his Constructing Social Research book that "Social research involved the interaction between ideas and evidence. Ideas help social researchers make sense of evidence, and researchers use evidence to extend, revise and test ideas". Social research thus attempts to create or validate theories through data collection and data analysis, and its goal is exploration, description, explanation, and prediction. It should never lead or be mistaken with philosophy or belief. Social research aims to find social patterns of regularity in social life and usually deals with social groups (aggregates of individuals), not individuals themselves (although science of psychology is an exception here). Research can also be divided into pure research and applied research. Pure research has no application on real life, whereas applied research attempts to influence the real world. There are no laws in social science that parallel the laws in the natural science. A law in social science is a universal generalization about a class of facts. A fact is an observed phenomenon, and observation means it has been seen, heard or otherwise experienced by researcher. A theory is a systematic explanation for the observations that relate to a particular aspect of social life. Concepts are the basic building blocks of theory and are abstract elements representing classes of phenomena. Axioms or postulates are basic assertions assumed to be true. Propositions are conclusions drawn about the relationships among concepts, based on analysis of axioms. Hypotheses are specified expectations about empirical reality which are derived from propositions. Social research involves testing these hypotheses to see if they are true. Social research involves creating a theory, operationalization (measurement of variables) and observation (actual collection of data to test hypothesized relationship). Social theories are written in the language of variables, in other words, theories describe logical relationships between variables. Variables are logical sets of attributes, with people being the 'carriers' of those variables (for example, gender can be a variable with two attributes: male and female). Variables are also divided into independent variables (data) that influences the dependent variables (which scientists are trying to explain). For example, in a study of how different dosages of a drug are related to the severity of symptoms of a disease, a measure of the severity of the symptoms of the disease is a dependent variable and the administration of the drug in specified doses is the independent variable. Researchers will compare the different values of the dependent variable (severity of the symptoms) and attempt to draw conclusions.
Guidelines for "good research"
When social scientists speak of "good research" the guidelines refer to how the science is mentioned and understood. It does not refer to how what the results are but how they are figured. Glenn Firebaugh summarizes the principles for good research in his book Seven Rules for Social Research. The first rule is that "There should be the possibility of surprise in social research." As Firebaugh (p.†1) elaborates: "Rule 1 is intended to warn that you don't want to be blinded by preconceived ideas so that you fail to look for contrary evidence, or you fail to recognize contrary evidence when you do encounter it, or you recognize contrary evidence but suppress it and refuse to accept your findings for what they appear to say." In addition, good research will "look for differences that make a difference" (Rule 2) and "build in reality checks" (Rule 3). Rule 4 advises researchers to replicate, that is, "to see if identical analyses yield similar results for different samples of people" (p.†90). The next two rules urge researchers to "compare like with like" (Rule 5) and to "study change" (Rule 6); these two rules are especially important when researchers want to estimate the effect of one variable on another (e.g. how much does college education actually matter for wages?). The final rule, "Let method be the servant, not the master," reminds researchers that methods are the means, not the end, of social research; it is critical from the outset to fit the research design to the research issue, rather than the other way around.
Types of explanations
Explanations in social theories can be idiographic or nomothetic. An idiographic approach to an explanation is one where the scientists seek to exhaust the idiosyncratic causes of a particular condition or event, i.e. by trying to provide all possible explanations of a particular case. Nomothetic explanations tend to be more general with scientists trying to identify a few causal factors that impact a wide class of conditions or events. For example, when dealing with the problem of how people choose a job, idiographic explanation would be to list all possible reasons why a given person (or group) chooses a given job, while nomothetic explanation would try to find factors that determine why job applicants in general choose a given job.
The ethics of social research are shared with those of medical research. In the United States, these are formalized by the Belmont report as:
Respect for persons
The principle of respect for persons holds that (a) individuals should be respected as autonomous agents capable of making their own decisions, and that (b) subjects with diminished autonomy deserve special considerations. A cornerstone of this principle is the use of informed consent.
The principle of beneficence holds that (a) the subjects of research should be protected from harm, and, (b) the research should bring tangible benefits to society. By this definition, research with no scientific merit is automatically considered unethical.
The principle of justice states the benefits of research should be distributed fairly. The definition of fairness used is case-dependent, varying between "(1) to each person an equal share, (2) to each person according to individual need, (3) to each person according to individual effort, (4) to each person according to societal contribution, and (5) to each person according to merit."
Types of method
The following list of research methods is not exhaustive:
Statistical€quantitative methods ‹ ‹ ‹ ‹ ‹ ‹ ‹ ‹ Cluster analysis Correlation and association Multivariate statistics Regression analysis Surveys and questionnaire Structural equation modeling Survey research Quantitative marketing research Qualitative methods ‹ ‹ ‹ ‹ ‹ ‹ ‹ ‹ Analytic induction Case study Ethnography Life history Morphological analysis Participant observation Textual analysis Unstructured interview Mixed methods ‹ ‹ ‹ ‹ ‹ ‹ ‹ Archival research Content analysis Longitudinal study Focus group Historical method Semi-structured interview Structured interview
Foundations of social research
The origin of the survey can be traced back at least early as the Domesday Book in 1086, whilst some scholars pinpoint the origin of demography to 1663 with the publication of John Graunt's Natural and Political Observations upon the Bills of Mortality. Social research began most intentionally, however, with the positivist philosophy of science in the early 19th century. Statistical sociological research, and indeed the formal academic discipline of sociology, began with the work of ‡mile Durkheim (1858€1917). While Durkheim rejected much of the detail of Comte's philosophy, he retained and refined its method, maintaining that the social sciences are a logical continuation of the natural ones into the realm of human activity, and insisting that they may retain the same objectivity, rationalism, and approach to causality. Durkheim set up the first European department of sociology at the University of Bordeaux in 1895, publishing his Rules of the Sociological Method (1895). In this text he argued: "[o]ur main goal is to extend scientific rationalism to human conduct... What has been called our positivism is but a consequence of this rationalism."  Durkheim's seminal monograph, Suicide (1897), a case study of suicide rates amongst Catholic and Protestant populations, distinguished sociological ‡mile Durkheim analysis from psychology or philosophy. By carefully examining suicide statistics in different police districts, he attempted to demonstrate that Catholic communities have a lower suicide rate than that of Protestants, something he attributed to social (as opposed to individual or psychological) causes. He developed the notion of objective suis generis "social facts" to delineate a unique empirical object for the science of sociology to study. Through such studies he posited that sociology would be able to determine whether any given society is 'healthy' or 'pathological', and seek social reform to negate organic breakdown or "social anomie". For Durkheim, sociology could be described as the "science of institutions, their genesis and their functioning".
In the mid-20th century there was a general•but not universal•trend for U.S.-American sociology to be more scientific in nature, due to the prominence at that time of action theory and other system-theoretical approaches. Robert K. Merton released his Social Theory and Social Structure (1949). By the turn of the 1960s, sociological research was increasingly employed as a tool by governments and businesses worldwide. Sociologists developed new types of quantitative and qualitative research methods. Paul Lazarsfeld founded Columbia University's Bureau of Applied Social Research, where he exerted a tremendous influence over the techniques and the organization of social research. His many contributions to sociological method have earned him the title of the "founder of modern empirical sociology". Lazarsfeld made great strides in statistical survey analysis, panel methods, latent structure analysis, and contextual analysis. Many of his ideas have been so influential as to now be considered self-evident.
 Shackman, Gene. What is Program Evaluation, A Beginner's Guide. Module 3. Methods. The Global Social Change Research Project. 2009. Available at the website of the International Development Evaluation Association, http:/ / www. ideas-int. org. See Resources.  Elizabeth H Bradley, Leslie A Curry, and Kelly J Devers. Qualitative Data Analysis for Health Services Research: Developing Taxonomy, Themes, and Theory. Health Serv Res. 2007 August; 42(4): 1758€1772. http:/ / www. ncbi. nlm. nih. gov/ pmc/ articles/ PMC1955280/  Haralambos & Holborn. 'Sociology: Themes and perspectives' (2004) 6th ed, Collins Educational. ISBN 978-0-00-715447-0. Chapter 14: Methods  Belmont report. The National Commission for the Protection of Human Subjects of Biomedical and Behavioral Research. April 18, 1979. http:/ / ohsr. od. nih. gov/ guidelines/ belmont. html  A. H. Halsey(2004), A history of sociology in Britain: science, literature, and society, p. 34  Geoffrey Duncan Mitchell(1970), A new dictionary of sociology, p. 201  Willcox, Walter (1938) The Founder of Statistics. (http:/ / www. jstor. org/ stable/ 1400906)  Wacquant, Loic. 1992. "Positivism." In Bottomore, Tom and William Outhwaite, ed., The Blackwell Dictionary of Twentieth-Century Social Thought  Gianfranco Poggi (2000). Durkheim. Oxford: Oxford University Press.  Durkheim, Emile. 1895. Rules of the Sociological Method. Cited in Wacquant (1992).  Durkheim, ‡mile  "The Rules of Sociological Method" 8th edition, trans. Sarah A. Solovay and John M. Mueller, ed. George E. G. Catlin (1938, 1964 edition), p. 45  Je•bek, Hynek. Paul Lazarsfeld € The Founder of Modern Empirical Sociology: A Research Biography. International Journal of Public Opinion Research 13:229-244 (2001)
‹ C. Wright Mills, On intellectual Craftsmanship (http://ddl.uwinnipeg.ca/res_des/files/readings/ cwmills-intel_craft.pdf) Appendix: The Sociological Imagination,1959 ‹ Earl Babbie, 'The Practice of Social Research', 10th edition, Wadsworth, Thomson Learning Inc., ISBN 0-534-62029-9 ‹ Glenn Firebaugh, 'Seven Rules for Social Research', Princeton University Press, 2008, ISBN 978-0-691-13567-0 ‹ W. Lawrence Neuman, 'Social Research Methods: Qualitative and Quantitative Approaches', 6th edition, Allyn & Bacon, 2006, ISBN 0-205-45793-2 ‹ Charles C. Ragin, 'Constructing Social Research: The Unity and Diversity of Method', Pine Forge Press, 1994, ISBN 0-8039-9021-9 ‹ History | The New School for Social Research." The New School ’“” A New York University | College. Web. 27 Sept. 2011. <http://www.newschool.edu/nssr/subpage.aspx?id=9064>.
Philosophy of social science
Philosophy of social science
The philosophy of social science is the study of the logic and method of the social sciences, such as sociology, anthropology, and political science. Philosophers of social science are concerned with the differences and similarities between the social and the natural sciences, causal relationships between social phenomena, the possible existence of social laws, and the ontological significance of structure and agency.
Auguste Comte and positivism
Comte first described the epistemological perspective of positivism in The Course in Positive Philosophy, a series of texts published between 1830 and 1842. These texts were followed by the 1848 work, A General View of Positivism (published in English in 1865). The first three volumes of the Course dealt chiefly with the physical sciences already in existence (mathematics, astronomy, physics, chemistry, biology), whereas the latter two emphasised the inevitable coming of social science. Observing the circular dependence of theory and observation in science, and classifying the sciences in this way, Comte may be regarded as the first philosopher of science in the modern sense of the term. For him, the physical sciences had necessarily to arrive first, before humanity could adequately channel its efforts into the most challenging and complex "Queen science" of human society itself. His View of Positivism would therefore set-out to define, in more detail, the empirical goals of sociological method. Comte offered an account of social evolution, proposing that society undergoes three phases in its quest for the truth according to a general 'law of three stages'. The idea bears some similarity to Marx's view that human society would progress toward a communist peak. This is perhaps unsurprising as both were profoundly influenced by the early Utopian socialist, Henri de Saint-Simon, who was at one time Comte's teacher and mentor. Both Comte and Marx intended to develop, scientifically, a new secular ideology in the wake of European secularisation. The early sociology of Herbert Spencer came about broadly as a reaction to Comte; writing after various developments in evolutionary biology, Spencer attempted (in vain) to reformulate the discipline in what we might now describe as socially Darwinistic terms. (Spencer was in fact a proponent of Lamarckism rather than Darwinism). The modern academic discipline of sociology began with the work of ‡mile Durkheim (1858€1917). While Durkheim rejected much of the detail of Comte's philosophy, he retained and refined its method, maintaining that the social sciences are a logical continuation of the natural ones into the realm of human activity, and insisting that they may retain the same objectivity, rationalism, and approach to causality. Durkheim set up the first European department of sociology at the University of Bordeaux in 1895, publishing his Rules of the Sociological Method (1895). In this text he argued: "[o]ur main goal is to extend scientific rationalism to human conduct... What has been called our positivism is but a consequence of this rationalism."  Durkheim's seminal monograph, Suicide (1897), a case study of suicide rates amongst Catholic and Protestant populations, distinguished sociological analysis from psychology or philosophy. The positivist perspective, however, has been associated with 'scientism'; the view that the methods of the natural sciences may be applied to all areas of investigation, be it philosophical, social scientific, or otherwise. Among most social scientists and historians, orthodox positivism has long since fallen out of favor. Today, practitioners of both social and physical sciences recognize the distorting effect of observer bias and structural limitations. This scepticism has been facilitated by a general weakening of deductivist accounts of science by philosophers such as Thomas Kuhn, and new philosophical movements such as critical realism and neopragmatism. Positivism has also been espoused by 'technocrats' who believe in the inevitability of social progress through science and technology. The philosopher-sociologist JŒrgen Habermas has critiqued pure instrumental rationality as meaning that scientific-thinking becomes something akin to ideology itself. Durkheim, Marx, and Weber are more typically cited as the fathers of contemporary social science. In psychology, a positivistic approach has historically been favoured in behaviourism.
Philosophy of social science
In any discipline, there will always be a number of underlying philosophical predispositions in the projects of scientists. Some of these predispositions involve the nature of social knowledge itself, the nature of social reality, and the locus of human control in action. Intellectuals have disagreed about the extent to which the social sciences should mimic the methods used in the natural sciences. The founding positivists of the social sciences argued that social phenomena can and should be studied through conventional scientific methods. This position is closely allied with scientism, naturalism and physicalism; the doctrine that all phenomena are ultimately reducible to physical entities and physical laws. Opponents of naturalism, including advocates of the verstehen method, contended that there is a need for an interpretive approach to the study of human action, a technique radically different to natural science. The fundamental task for the philosophy of social science has thus been to question the extent to which positivism may be characterized as 'scientific' in relation to fundamental epistemological foundations. These debates also rage within contemporary social sciences with regard to subjectivity, objectivity, intersubjectivity and practicality in the conduct of theory and research. Philosophers of social science examine further epistemologies and methodologies, including realism, critical realism, instrumentalism, functionalism, structuralism, interpretivism, phenomenology, and post-structuralism. Though essentially all major social scientists since the late 19th century have accepted that the discipline faces challenges that are different from those of the natural sciences, the ability to determine causal relationships invokes the same discussions held in science meta-theory. Positivism has sometimes met with caricature as a breed of naive empiricism, yet the word has a rich history of applications stretching from Comte to the work of the Vienna Circle and beyond. By the same token, if positivism is able to identify causality, then it is open to the same critical rationalist non-justificationism presented by Karl Popper, which may itself be disputed through Thomas Kuhn's conception of epistemic paradigm shift. Early German hermeneuticians such as Wilhelm Dilthey pioneered the distinction between natural and social science ('Geisteswissenschaft'). This tradition greatly informed Max Weber and Georg Simmel's antipositivism, and continued with critical theory. Since the 1960s, a general weakening of deductivist accounts of science has grown side-by-side with critiques of "scientism", or 'science as ideology'. JŒrgen Habermas argues, in his On the Logic of the Social Sciences (1967), that "the positivist thesis of unified science, which assimilates all the sciences to a natural-scientific model, fails because of the intimate relationship between the social sciences and history, and the fact that they are based on a situation-specific understanding of meaning that can be explicated only hermeneutically … access to a symbolically prestructured reality cannot be gained by observation alone."  Verstehende social theory has been the concern of phenomenological works, such as Alfred SchŒtz Phenomenology of the Social World (1932) and Hans-Georg Gadamer's Truth and Method (1960). Phenomenology would later prove influential in the subject-centred theory of the post-structuralists. The mid-20th century linguistic turn led to a rise in highly philosophical sociology, as well as so-called "postmodern" perspectives on the social acquisition of knowledge. One notable critique of social science is found in Peter Winch's Wittgensteinian text The Idea of Social Science and its Relation to Philosophy (1958). Michel Foucault provides a potent critique in his archaeology of the human sciences, though Habermas and Richard Rorty have both argued that Foucault merely replaces one such system of thought with another. One underlying problem for the social psychologist is whether studies can or should ultimately be understood in terms of the meaning and consciousness behind social action, as with folk psychology, or whether more objective, natural, materialist, and behavioral facts are to be given exclusive study. This problem is especially important for those within the social sciences who study qualitative mental phenomena, such as consciousness, associative meanings, and mental representations, because a rejection of the study of meanings would lead to the reclassification of such research as non-scientific. Influential traditions like psychodynamic theory and symbolic interactionism may be the first victims of such a paradigm shift. The philosophical issues lying in wait behind these different positions have led to commitments to certain kinds of methodology which have sometimes bordered on the partisan. Still,
Philosophy of social science many researchers have indicated a lack of patience for overly dogmatic proponents of one method or another. Social research remains extremely common and effective in practise with respect to political institutions and businesses. Michael Burawoy has marked the difference between public sociology, which is focused firmly on practical applications, and academic or professional sociology, which involves dialogue amongst other social scientists and philosophers.
Structure and agency forms an enduring debate in social theory: "Do social structures determine an individual's behaviour or does human agency?" In this context 'agency' refers to the capacity of individuals to act independently and make free choices, whereas 'structure' refers to factors which limit or affect the choices and actions of individuals (such as social class, religion, gender, ethnicity, and so on). Discussions over the primacy of structure or agency relate to the very core of social ontology ("What is the social world made of?", "What is a cause in the social world, and what is an effect?"). One attempt to reconcile postmodern critiques with the overarching project of social science has been the development, particularly in Britain, of critical realism. For critical realists such as Roy Bhaskar, traditional positivism commits an 'epistemic fallacy' by failing to address the ontological conditions which make science possible: that is, structure and agency itself.
 http:/ / plato. stanford. edu/ entries/ comte/ Stanford Encyclopaedia: Auguste Comte  Wacquant, Loic. 1992. "Positivism." In Bottomore, Tom and William Outhwaite, ed., The Blackwell Dictionary of Twentieth-Century Social Thought  Gianfranco Poggi (2000). Durkheim. Oxford: Oxford University Press.  Durkheim, Emile. 1895. The Rules of the Sociological Method. Cited in Wacquant (1992).  Schunk, Learning Theories: An Educational Perspective, 5th, 315  Outhwaite, William, 1988 Habermas: Key Contemporary Thinkers, Polity Press (Second Edition 2009), ISBN 978-0-7456-4328-1 p.68  Cote, James E. and Levine, Charles G. (2002). Identity formation, Agency, and Culture, Mahwah, New Jersey: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.  Robert Audi, ed. (1999). The Cambridge Dictionary of Philosophy (Second ed.). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. pp.†704. ISBN†0-521-63722-8.  Outhwaite, William, 1988 Habermas: Key Contemporary Thinkers, Polity Press (Second Edition 2009), ISBN 978-0-7456-4328-1 p.22  Outhwaite, William, 1988 Habermas: Key Contemporary Thinkers, Polity Press (Second Edition 2009), ISBN 978-0-7456-4328-1 p.19  Outhwaite, William, 1988 Habermas: Key Contemporary Thinkers, Polity Press (Second Edition 2009), ISBN 978-0-7456-4328-1 p.23  Giddens, A (2006). Sociology. Oxford, UK: Polity. pp.†714. ISBN†0-7456-3379-X.  JŒrgen Habermas. Taking Aim at the Heart of the Present in Hoy, D (eds) 'Foucault: A critical reader' Basil Blackwell. Oxford, 1986.  Richard Rorty. Foucault and Epistemology in Hoy, D (eds) 'Foucault: A critical reader' Basil Blackwell. Oxford, 1986.  Slife, B.D. and Gantt, E.E. (1999) Methodological pluralism: a framework for psychotherapy research. Journal of clinical psychology, 55(12), pp1453€1465.
‹ Braybrooke, David (1986). Philosophy of Social Science. Prentice Hall. ISBN†0-13-663394-3. ‹ Hollis, Martin (1994). The Philosophy of Social Science: An Introduction. Cambridge. ISBN†0-521-44780-1. ‹ Little, Daniel (1991). Varieties of Social Explanation : An Introduction to the Philosophy of Social Science. Westview Press. ISBN†0-8133-0566-7. ‹ Rosenberg, Alexander (1995). Philosophy of Social Science. Westview Harper Collins.
Philosophy of social science
‹ Philosophy of the Social Sciences
‹ Philosophy of Social Science Roundtable (http://philosophy.ucsc.edu/Roundtable.html)
‹ Master of Science in Philosophy of the Social Sciences at the LSE (http://www.lse.ac.uk/collections/ philosophyLogicAndScientificMethod/study/mastersProgrammes/PhilosophySocialScience.htm)
‹ Philosophy of Social Science by Alexander Rosenberg (http://books.google.com/ books?id=HmBIVO7PZAgC&dq="philosophy+of+social+science"&printsec=frontcover&source=bn& hl=en&ei=a_WkScn7CJ3etgf0gPHWBA&sa=X&oi=book_result&resnum=4&ct=result) ‹ The Philosophy of Social Science: An Introduction by Martin Hollis (http://www.amazon.com/dp/ 0521447801) ‹ Contemporary Philosophy of Social Science: A Multicultural Approach by Brian Fay (http://www.amazon. com/dp/1557865388) ‹ Philosophy of social science: the methods, ideals, and politics of social inquiry by Michael Root (http://books. google.com/books?id=w219QgAACAAJ&source=gbs_navlinks_s)
‹ Philosophy of social sciences (http://www-personal.umd.umich.edu/~delittle/Encyclopedia entries/ philosophy of social science.pdf) (Daniel Little's article for the Cambridge Encyclopedia of Philosophy) ‹ Philosophy of social sciences (http://www.rep.routledge.com/article/R047) (Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy Online)
Article Sources and Contributors
Article Sources and Contributors
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White, Doulos Christos, Dowcet, Downcastrelic, Dralwik, Duckie, Duke Pepelu Tivrusky, Dunning, Dureo, Dwt123, Dysepsion, Dysprosia, E to pi i is minus one, ESkog, Ed Poor, Edhubbard, Editor123789, Editor2020, Edusoc, Edward saint-ivan, El C, ElinorD, Elmindreda, Elpenmaster, Emmawors, Epbr123, Erebus555, Erolos, Esprit15d, Everyking, Evil Monkey, Evilandi, Excirial, FLCL, FPWSN, FadulJA, Falcon8765, Fashionologist, Featherfiend, Feedmymind, Fenice, Fixentries, Flatterworld, Fonzy, Fred Bauder, Fredbauder, Froes, Fubar Obfusco, GDudek, Gaius Cornelius, Gamewizard71, Ganemcometudo, Gary cunningham, Gavinshields, Gdarin, Geniac, George100, GhanaDa, Gilliam, Ginar, Giraffedata, Gizmoguy, GlaucusAtlanticus, Glenn, Globalsolidarity, GoingBatty, Golgofrinchian, GraemeL, Grafen, GrayFullbuster, Greenlight01, Grrrlriot, Gsaup, Gsociology, Guerorocks, Guillaume2303, Gunderiffic, Guy Peters, Gwernol, H.W. 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File:Ibn Khaldoun-Kassus.jpg †Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=File:Ibn_Khaldoun-Kassus.jpg †License: Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported †Contributors: Kassus File:Auguste Comte2.jpg †Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=File:Auguste_Comte2.jpg †License: Public Domain †Contributors: C.Lˆser, Kilom691 File:Karl Marx.jpg †Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=File:Karl_Marx.jpg †License: Public Domain †Contributors: John Mayall File:Spencer-detail.png †Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=File:Spencer-detail.png †License: Public Domain †Contributors: derivative work: Zik2 (talk) Herbert_Spencer.jpg: Chico File:Emile Durkheim.jpg †Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=File:Emile_Durkheim.jpg †License: Public Domain †Contributors: Chico, Dittaeva, Gvf, Mu, P. S. 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