By Alan Swingewood

This lucidly written, jargon-free textual content deals an account of the increase of sociological inspiration from its origins within the eighteenth century. starting with the classical sociology of Marx, Durkheim, Weber and Simmel, it is going directly to learn the trendy paradigms of functionalism, interactionism, structuralism and important Marxism, and ends by means of discussing salient modern sociological idea, together with the theories of Foucault, Baudrillard, Giddens, Habermas and others. Systematic and entire, this can be a textual content that seriously engages with sociological idea all through its improvement, delivering scholars a direction via competing traditions and views that brings out the precise price and barriers of those.

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Scientists were associated with the spiritual realm, industrialists with the temporal: together they would create the leadership and the values necessary for a functioning modern society. There is, here, an authoritarian strand to Saint-Simon's thought, a dis trust of democracy and representative institutions, a lack of confidence in the masses, or the people, to create for themselves a culture of self-government. His distinction between productive and non-productive, or 'idle' dasses is polemical rather than scientific.

Since Comte knew the work of Adam Smith and Ferguson, as well as minor writers such as Lord Kames, it is obviously important to grasp the ways in which his own approach difTers from theirs and assess the extent to which Comte's sociological positivism assimilated and developed this proto-sociology. Comte's attitude to the Enlightenment was, of course, negative: although he accepted the theory of progress, especially Condorcet's notion of social evolution developing through the workings of specific natural la ws, he rejected the critical positivism of eighteenth-century philosophic rationalism abhoring its 'negative' attacks on the values of traditional authority and morality, on religious institutions and the family.

Social diversity is thus explicable in terms of an underlying structure consisting largely of economic factors. Millar's 21 Foundations comparative approach, however, sought to analyse diversity and uniformity in terms ofthe change from 'rude' to 'polished' society. Similarly, Ferguson related forms of government to property, social stratification, division of labour and social conflict. Ferguson's standpoint was civil not political society. Thus the Scots' typology of societies: savage, barbaric and polished (Ferguson), hunting, pastoral, agricultural and commercial (Millar, Smith), constituted forms based on the dominant mode of production in each.

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