By Percy S. Cohen
This can be a e-book either for college kids and for the proficient reader who's attracted to the current state of affairs in sociological proposal. Dr Cohen presents either an exposition and an enormous and unique critique of the current scenario. In what's essentially the most speedily starting to be topic in our universities there's no different ebook, previous or current, which covers a similar floor. it isn't a textual content booklet, for it doesn't survey the diversities among a number of colleges of proposal and current the arguments of alternative theorists for his or her personal sake, nor but is it a treatise providing a brand new physique of thought. Its objective is to extract what's of such a lot worth from modern theories and from the sociological classics of Marx, Durkheim, Weber, and Simmel. Graduate scholars shifting from different disciplines may still locate this e-book relatively precious, and each reader can be thrilled via its lucidity and freedom from jargon. for college students of sociology it is going to without problems turn out crucial.
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Additional info for Modern Social Theory
1 Underlying this was the notion that all of the institutions, beliefs and morals of a society are interrelated as a whole, so that the method of explaining the existence of any one item in the whole is to discover the law which prescribes how this item coexists with all of the others. This, for Comte, was part of a grand scheme of planning the total reconstruction of society; for this could be based only on a theory stating which combinations of social items would be viable. Comte has been much criticized for his grandiose proposals2 and for his responsibility for encouraging the view of society as a 'seamless web'.
12 He started from the assumption that all men have certain primary needs for food, shelter, sexual satisfaction, exploration, protection, and so on. They meet these by devising techniques for growing or finding and distributing food, erecting dwellings, establishing heterosexual relations and banding together. The process of satisfying these needs creates derived or secondary needs: the need for communication produces language; the need to control conflict and promote cooperation gives rise to norms of reciprocity and social sanctions; the development of conscious awareness of the vicissitudes and dangers of life and of the significant points of change in the life-cycle gives rise to magic and other forms of ritual and belief, such as religion, which allay the anxieties produced by uncertainty.
Yet they have a 'need' to express this; they therefore choose some material object to represent society and their collective attitude towards it. This symbol becomes sacred by virtue of what it represents-the moral order-and must be kept separate in the minds of men from other, profane, objects so that it can evoke a special feeling of reverence. Such objects are central to ritual activities which are, in turn, collective actions whereby certain sentiments of group solidarity are aroused and sustained.