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A History and Theory of the Social Sciences
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A History and Theory of the Social Sciences
Not All That Is Solid Melts into Air

  • Peter Wagner - Catalan Institution for Research and Advanced Studies, University of Barcelona, Spain


July 2001 | 208 pages | SAGE Publications Ltd
Divided into two parts, this book examines the train of social theory from the 19th century, through to the 'organization of modernity', in relation to ideas of social planning, and as contributors to the 'rationalistic revolution' of the 'golden age' of capitalism in the 1950s and 60s. Part two examines key concepts in the social sciences. It begins with some of the broadest concepts used by social scientists: choice, decision, action and institution and moves on to examine the 'collectivist alternative': the concepts of society, culture and polity, which are often dismissed as untenable by postmodernists today. This is a major contribution to contemporary social theory and provides a host of essential insights into the task of social science today.
 
PART ONE: RECONSIDERING THE HISTORY OF THE SOCIAL SCIENCES
 
As a Philosophical Science Unjustifiable, as an Empirical Science Anything Else but New
Classical Sociology and the First Crisis of Modernity  
 
Time of Politics, and Not of Law
Political Analysis during the First Crisis of Modernity  
 
Adjusting Social Relations
Social Science and the Organization of Modernity  
 
The Mythical Promise of Societal Renewal
Social Science and Reform Coalitions  
 
Out of Step
The Social Sciences in the Second Crisis of Modernity  
 
PART TWO: RETHINKING KEY CONCEPTS OF THE SOCIAL SCIENCES
 
Choice and Decision-Making
 
Action and Institution
 
Culture (with Heidrun Friese)
 
Society
 
Polity
 
Modernity

Peter Wagner´s study is surely very helpful for those who study the interrelations between developments in the society and the historical evolution of social sciences. For all students who search a small volume, Wagner´s study is quite appropriate: Thus, one of the most advantages in this regard is Wagner´s pragmatist approach: to show this central problem by a short and equally well informed book.

All in all: The key concepts of present sociology referred in the second part of the book can be understood better by examining the history of social sciences themselves.

Mr Alexander Pinwinkler
Department of History, University of Salzburg
March 6, 2015

Good introduction for the social sciences elements of the course. Recommended.

Mr Douglas Watson
Department of History, Univ. of Plymouth
May 29, 2014

The layout and type-setting is poor. The information is packed too densely into its pages.

Mr Harry Miller
Business School, Grimsby Institute of Further and Higher Education
December 21, 2010

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