Theory week: prologue

This is a quick post on two things. First, it starts with a short summary of a historical sketch of sociological theories after 20th century. Second, I will lay out my ambitious plan to skim three theory books this week. This is a long overdue task of mine. Lack of proper theory training, I always felt somewhat missing in the glorious realm of sociology. Sorry to those of my readers that are not so interested in my subject. Well there are only four so…

Summary
The original text is already a sketch, so the summary here is more like an item-list of who-is-who. The author starts with the liberal orientation of early American sociologists, their emphasis on social change and scientific method, and the establishment of (old) Chicago School who connect to religious ideas, scientific method and urban problems. There were also a bunch of female sociologists at that time who, due to gender politics in the discipline, are seldom read today. With the left of Mead and the rise of Parson, Harvard replaced Chicago as the center of US sociology, and American Sociological Review was established to challenge the triumph of American Journal of Sociology. Structural functionalism was on rise. Then it was Marxian theory, largely ignored by sociology from 1930s to 1960s, was rediscovered in the 1960s (possibly of social turbulence in the 60s and the Soviet Union?). Around the same time there was the sociology of knowledge by Mannheim – remember Berger and Luhmann “social construction of reality”?

Since the Mid century structural functionalism began to decline possibly due to its tendency towards conservatism. [This is reputed by Giddens 1979] Arising are radical sociology that wants to challenge the conservative origins of sociological theories (C. Wright Mills), Exchange theory of Homan and Blau that deals with elementary forms of social behaviour, Dramaturgical analysis of Erving Goffman, phenomological sociology of Schutz and ethnomethodology of Garfinkel. Also there are radical paradigms like Marxian theory and Feminist theory. Then there are more recent trends of micro-macro integration, agency-structure integration, and post-modern theories.

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