The Foundations of Social Theory: Origins and Trajectories

Delanty, Gerard (2000) The Foundations of Social Theory: Origins and Trajectories. In: Turner, Bryan S (ed.) The Blackwell Companion to Social Theory (2nd Edition). Blackwell Companions to Sociology . Wiley-Blackwell, Malden & Oxford, pp. 21-46. ISBN 9780631213666

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Abstract

Since its origins in the early modern period, social theory can be seen as a reflection on modernity. The theme of modernity has been the great unifying motif in social theory from the sixteenth century to the twentieth century, providing a frame of reference for many different approaches, which all have in common the attempt to provide an interpretation of the modern world. Social theory, then, is above all a response to the emergence of the social, economic, cultural, and political forces that define modernity. More specifically, however, in its formative and classical phase, roughly from the early sixteenth century to the early twentieth century, social theory was a response to the rise of society. In earlier times "society" as such did not exist in the sense of a recognizable social domain distinct from kinship, economic and military function, the state, or religious ties. For the early social theorists, the rise of the social was the defining aspect of modernity, constituting a distinct object of research and reflection. Thus social theory is the interpretation of "the social," which came to be seen as a domain mediating the private world and the state.

Item Type: Book Section
Schools and Departments: School of Law, Politics and Sociology > Sociology
Depositing User: Gerard Delanty
Date Deposited: 06 Feb 2012 21:28
Last Modified: 23 Jul 2012 11:50
URI: http://sro.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/31382
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