You are here

The Emergence of Sociological Theory

The Emergence of Sociological Theory

Seventh Edition

Other Titles in:
Social Theory

January 2012 | 520 pages | SAGE Publications, Inc
Now published by SAGE, this scholarly text covers the first one hundred years of sociological theorizing, from 1830-1930, focusing primarily on Comte, Spencer, Marx, Weber, Simmel, Durkheim, and Mead. The text provides an in-depth examination of these early sociological theorists with biographical background, analysis of key works, major influences, critical insights, and also answers the question, 'What do these ideas tell us about the basic forces that shape the social world?'

Posing this question for each theorist adds a unique perspective to the text and distinguishes it from other sociological theory books. In addition, it also includes material on the enduring models and principles of the theorists' work that continue to inform sociological theory today.

1 The Rise of Theoretical Sociology
The Enlightenment and New Ways of Thinking

Early Sociological Theory, 1830-1930

The First Masters


2 The Origin and Context of Auguste Comte’s Sociology
The Strange Biography of Auguste Comte

The Intellectual Origins of Comte’s Thought


3 The Sociology of Auguste Comte
Comte’s Early Essays

Comte’s Course of Positive Philosophy

Critical Conclusions

4 The Origin and Context of Herbert Spencer’s Thought
Biographical Influences on Spencerian Sociology

The Political Economy of ­Nineteenth-Century England

The Scientific Milieu of Spencer’s England

Spencer’s Synthetic Philosophy and the Sociology of Comte

Why Read Spencer?

5 The Sociology of Herbert Spencer
Spencer’s Moral Philosophy: Social Statics and Principles of Ethics

Spencer’s First Principles

Spencer’s The Study of Sociology

A Note on Spencer’s Descriptive Sociology

Spencer’s Principles of Sociology

The Analysis of Societal Institutions

Critical Conclusions

6 The Origin and Context of Karl Marx’s Thought
Biographical Influences on Marx’s Thought

G. W. F. Hegel and Karl Marx

Ludwig Feuerbach and Karl Marx

Adam Smith and Karl Marx

Friedrich Engels and Karl Marx

7 The Sociology of Karl Marx
The German Ideology

The Communist Manifesto


Critical Conclusions

8 The Origin and Context of Max Weber’s Thought
Biographical Influences on Weber’s Thought

The Early Years

Karl Marx and Max Weber

The Methodenstreit and Max Weber

Wilhelm Dilthey and Max Weber

Heinrich Rickert and Max Weber

Weber’s Theoretical Synthesis

9 The Sociology of Max Weber
Weber’s Methodology of the Social Sciences

Weber’s Image of Social Organization

Weber’s Analysis of Domination

Weber on Capitalism and Rationalization

Weber’s Study of Religion

Weber’s Outline of the Social System

Critical Conclusions

10 The Origin and Context of Georg Simmel’s Thought
Biographical Influences on Simmel’s Thought

Intellectual Influences on Simmel’s Thought

The Enigmatic Simmel

11 The Sociology of Georg Simmel
Simmel’s Methodological Approach to the Study of Society

The Web of Group Affiliations


The Philosophy of Money

Critical Conclusions

12 The Origin and Context of Émile Durkheim’s Thought
Biographical Influences on Durkheim’s Thought

Charles Montesquieu and Durkheim

Jean Jacques Rousseau and Durkheim

Auguste Comte and Durkheim

Alexis de Tocqueville and Durkheim

Herbert Spencer and Durkheim

Karl Marx and Durkheim

Anticipating Durkheimian Sociology

13 The Sociology of Émile Durkheim
The Division of Labor in Society

The Rules of the Sociological Method


The Elementary Forms of the Religious Life

A Science of “Morality”

Critical Conclusions

14 The Origin and Context of George Herbert Mead’s Thought
Biographical Influences on Mead’s Thought

Mead’s Synthesis of Schools of Thought

Wilhelm Wundt and Mead

William James and Mead

Charles Horton Cooley and Mead

John Dewey and Mead
Mead’s Synthesis

15 The Sociology of George Herbert Mead
Mead’s Broader Philosophy

Mind, Self, and Society

The Philosophy of the Act

Critical Conclusions

16 The Emergence of Contemporary Theoretical Perspective
Nine Theoretical Traditions and Perspectives



I did not receive this book

Mr Michael Donaldson
Care Humatities and sport, North Glasgow Collge
June 4, 2019

It's a Ph.D. course and the book is for undergraduated courses.

Dr Jacques-Bernard Gauthier
Administration, Université du Québec en Outaouais
November 14, 2013

Well-written. Ideas clearly communicated. Seemed accessible to students, even if they have little or no background in theory.

Dr Sharon Placide
The Honors College, Florida International University - Miami
January 10, 2013

Insightful, covered from old essential thinker and its contribution to enrich social sciences that cross to humanities studies to the current theorist and approach on learning. The sense of this book was delectation so it can discover theoretical grave to be light and meaningful.

Dr Abdullah Sumrahadi
COLGIS, Northern University of Malaysia (UUM)
November 1, 2012

For instructors

Please select a format:

Purchasing options

Please select a format:

ISBN: 9781452206240

SAGE Knowledge is the ultimate social sciences digital library for students, researchers, and faculty. Hosting more than 4,400 titles, it includes an expansive range of SAGE eBook and eReference content, including scholarly monographs, reference works, handbooks, series, professional development titles, and more.

The platform allows researchers to cross-search and seamlessly access a wide breadth of must-have SAGE book and reference content from one source.

SAGE Knowledge brings together high-quality content from across our imprints, including CQ Press and Corwin titles.