Classic Sociological Theory Part 2
10th January 2012
Science of the Social ->
Theory- trying to produce abstract rather than empirical knowledge.
General vs. Particular
Abstract vs. Empirical
Contemplative vs. Practical
Marx had a general theory, we can take the theory and look at a particular incident.
Tocqueville tried to understand a democratic society, he was thinking what is a democratic society. The
theoretical aspect is to understand it.
Classic is a cultural product that lasts a long long time. Why they last? Because it allows people to reflect
on it over and over again.
How did these books become classic, they gave a theoretical grounding of what sociology is. They
offered the basic methods and models of doing research.
Comte invented the word sociology***
Sociology proposed the study of everyday life.
People thought that everyday life didn’t require any scholarly classic to study. While some argued that
sociology can be studied and measured.
Rationalization, Differentiation, Individualization ->
Rationalization- Max Weber’s obsession, he noticed a huge rise in the social authority in the sciences.
There was a massive rise in government spending in scientific research. It is rationally rearranging the
world in our minds rather than the way they come to us. Weber tried to understand social authority and
new personality types that emerged because of rationalization. This was due to religion, this was the
reason why people were more open to rationalization.
Differentiation, is Durkheim’s extension to Smith and Comte. It was the specialization of roles and
categories. When Smith was writing you can only specialize in philosophy, but now you can specialize in
anything, Ex. Shakespeare.