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The Emergence of Sociological Theory 6th Edition

Jonathan H. Turner, Leonard Beeghley, Charles H. Powers

  • Published
  • Previous Editions 2002, 1998, 1995
  • 416 Pages


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.

Jonathan H. Turner, University of California, Riverside

Jonathan Turner is Distinguished Professor of Sociology at UC, Riverside. He has authored dozen of articles and over thirty books, including THE STRUCTURE OF SOCIOLOGICAL THEORY, a companion volume to this book.

Leonard Beeghley, University of Florida

Leonard Beeghley has written numerous books and articles primarily in the area of stratification and social police issues.

Charles H. Powers, Santa Clara University

Charles Powers has done research and written books and articles in the areas of theory and organizations.
  • The text has been thoroughly revised to make it less lengthy and more accessible to undergraduates.
  • The writing has been simplified.
  • New organization. The sixth edition has done away with the tri-part organization of the previous edition, in which the third chapter on each theorist converts their models into abstract models and propositions has been eliminated.
  • The book is now more flexible and more modular. The two chapters on each theorist can stand alone, or be integrated into a set of two chapters. Thus, the main chapter on the sociology of a particular theorist can be assigned without its predecessor outlining the origin and context of the theorist's key works. In this way, the book can be used in a short, focused course where only the key works are examined, or it can be used in a longer course where instructors are interested in students' understanding that ideas emerge in an historical context.
  • Elimination of the chapters of Vilfredo Pareto.
  • Elimination of the chapter on scientific theorizing.
  • Portrays the historical context, Renaissance Europe to the Industrial Age, providing insight into how and why sociological theory emerged when it did.
  • Covers all major developments in sociological theory from the Enlightenment to George Herbert Mead.
  • The list of major writers covered includes Comte, Spencer, Marx, Weber, Simmel, Durkheim, and Mead.
  • Each of the major theorists is covered in two chapters - the first looks at the origin and context in which the person worked, and the second chapter provides an analysis of their writings.
  • Offers concluding critical evaluation of each scholar's theories.
  • Provides a comprehensive, in-depth examination of the early sociological theorists, including biographical background and an analysis of each theorist's key works.
  • Throughout the text diagrams are used to illustrate the connections and flow of the central elements of each theorist's contribution.
  • Modular construction of the book's chapters and less cross-referencing across chapters allows instructors the flexibility to pick and choose any of the following areas of emphasis for their course: Historical context of a theorist's ideas; The major works of each theorist; The enduring models and principles that can be extracted from a theorists' work.
1. The Enlightenment and New Ways of Thinking.
2. The Origin and Context of Auguste Comte's Thought.
3. The Sociology of Aguste Comte.
4. The Origin and Context of Herbert Spencer's Thought.
5. The Sociology of Herbert Spencer.
6. The Origin and Context of Karl Marx's Thought.
7. The Sociology of Karl Marx.
8. The Origin and Context of Max Weber's Thought.
9. The Sociology of Max Weber.
10. The Origin and Context of Georg Simmel's Thought.
11. The Sociology of Georg Simmel.
12. The Origin and Context of Émile Durkheim's Thought.
13. The Sociology of Émile Durkheim.
14. The Origin and Context of George Herbert Mead's Thought.
15. The Sociology of George Herbert Mead.