Sociologys specific goal is to analyze social phenomenon in an empirical manner in order to identify the main factors that operate in them and to supply frameworks for understanding the internal mechanisms of social dynamics. In order to achieve this goal one must develop direct observations of social behaviour as well as a conceptual structure for selecting the most important aspects among the many involved in social processes. This is why theoretical thought is so important for empirical research. This book illustrates and critically discusses the most significant sociological theories, from the origins to the present day. The volume is an indispensable guide for readers who wish to delve into the complex problems of a discipline which represents both an autonomous form of knowledge and an essential complement of specialised training.
Contents: Preface - Introduction: The Relationship between Theory and Research - Part One: The Classics of Sociological Thought - 1. Emile Durkheim: Society as a "Sui Generis" Reality - 2. Max Weber: Meaningful Action - 3. Georg Simmel: Social Forms - 4. Vilfredo Pareto: Social System and Non-rational Action - Part Two: Contemporary Theoretical Models - 5. Talcott Parsons and Functionalist Theory - 6. Structuralism - 7. Critical Theory - 8. Symbolic Interactionism - 9. Phenomenological Sociology - 10. Social Action Theories - 11. Social System Theories - Part Three: Empirical Research - 12. Methodological Features and Functions of Social Research - Conclusions - Bibliography.
Franco Crespi teaches Sociology in the Faculty of Political Science at the University of Perugia.