Theory: intellectual work that does one of three things: Can be doing theory if it claims to be general vs. particular. If what you are doing is said to be abstract vs. empirical. Marx had a general theory of why capitalism affects workers everywhere. Smith had a lot of data on trade patterns and created abstract laws to help people understand what was going on (supply, demand, comparative advantage) Tocqueville tried to understand democratic society and how it brings about changes. Provides something for people to come back to. Greatest classics speak to large volumes of people (religious books, people of importance) Smith was also an economist, political scientist, sociologist. Inspired by social changes, how and why they changed; changes were sometimes unsettling. Many sociologists are driven by an ongoing trend. Rise in gov"t funding, business funding in science exploration. Bureaucracy attempt to understand new type of authority that came along with them. What types of tradition does it marginalize.