School of
Social Sciences
___Introduction to Sociology
Button1
Button1
Button1
Button1
 
Button1
Button1
Button1
Button1
Button1
Button1
Button1
Button1
 
Button1
Button1
Button1
Button1
Button1
Button1
Button1
 
Button1
Button1
Button1
Button1
 

Modernity
and Social Theory

"What experience and history teach us is this: that people and governments never have learned anything from history, or acted on the experience deduced from it"
(Hegel, Philosophy of History)
 
Ah, sociological theory, nothing but dead German males (henceforth referred to as DGMs). However, those who know nothing of their past are condemned to live in it, and if you want to understand society then at least a passing acquaintance with some DGMs is in order. Be thankful there are only five in this course.

The prospect of learning something from history is what makes sociologists tick. It is through developing a systematic understanding of the forces which shape our lives that we can exercise any control over them. The founding thinkers of sociology, who came to prominence during the development of what we are pleased to call modernity, thought so. It is the intimate relationship between the development of sociology and the development of modernity that the course begins with.

This relationship is an intimate one, because it is only with the social change instituted in the development of the modern world that a discipline such as sociology - and social science in general - could either exist or have anything to study. It seems as we come to the close of this century that the issues which concerned the founders of sociology are equally pressing. Problems of social exclusion and poverty, human rights abuses by countless governments, the freedom of the individual and the power of the state: one does not have to travel too far in time or in space to find some example of preventable human suffering being justified as inevitable, natural, or all for the best, a set of circumstances that would have been familiar to this lot:


Sociology and Modernity Hegel
Comte and Positivism Hegel's Dialectic
Herbert Spencer on the Principles of Sociology Hegel Society (External Link)
The Social Construction of Reality  
A Timeline of Sociology (External Link)  
   
How Is Society Possible?  
Georg Simmel (External Link)  

These pages were originally written by: Angus Bancroft and Sioned Rogers
Redesigned and updated by: Pierre Stapley - 2010