Engaging ideas, transforming minds
Engaging ideas, transforming minds

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Canadian Scholars’ Press
Philosophy / Sociology
301 pages
6 x 9 inches
February 2019
Print ISBN: 9781773381008


Authored by the world-renowned sociologist Dr. Irving Zeitlin, Classical Sociological Theory is an abridged version of the popular textbook Ideology and the Development of Sociological Theory. Known for its comprehensive descriptions of classical sociological theorists and concepts from Enlightenment to the 20th century, this new, abridged edition features an updated introduction, extensive index, and 14 succinct chapters.

Dr. Zeitlin provides detailed explanations of essential philosophies; develops ideologies and theories within a historical context; and introduces readers to the classical critical thinkers of our time, such as Émile Durkheim, Karl Mannheim, Karl Marx, George Herbert Mead, Max Weber, and Mary Wollstonecraft. This is an ideal resource for undergraduate students of sociology, philosophy, social theory, and social psychology.

Related Titles

Table of Contents

Chapter 1 | The Enlightenment: Philosophical Foundations

Chapter 2 | Mary Wollstonecraft (1759-1797)
Vindication of the Rights of Women

Chapter 3 | The Romantic-Conservative Reaction
Hegel's Historical Synthesis
Conservative Philosophy and Sociology: A Summary

Chapter 4 | Auguste Comte (1798-1857)
The Advent of Positive Philosophy
The Positive Method in Its Application to Social Phenomena
Chapter 5 | The Philosophical Orientations of Karl Marx (1818-1883)

Chapter 6 | Marx's Relation to Hegel and Feuerbach

Chapter 7 | Marx's Historical Sociology
Marx's Famous "Preface"
Tribal Ownership
Productive Forces: Did Marx in Fact Assign Them Casual Priority?
The Feudal Mode of Production
The Asiatic Mode of Production: Its Significance for Marx's
Theoretical Implications
The Capitalist Mode of Production
Was Marx a Social Evolutionist?

Chapter 8 | Max Weber (1864-1920)
Weber's Dialogue with Marxism
Feudalism: Weber's View and its Affinities with that of Marx
The Asiatic Mode of Production: Weber's Fruitful Elaboration of Marx's Concept
Asian Religions
Western Capitalism: Weber's Complementary Analysis
Social Class and Other Aspects of Social Organization:Weber's Revision of Marx's Class Theory
The Charismatic Political Leader: Weber's Error
The Historical-Sociological Method

Chapter 9 | Vilfredo Pareto (1848-1923)
Pareto's Repudiation of The Enlightenment's Legacy
Pareto and Science
Les Systemes Socialistes
Pareto's Sociology
Society Elites, and Force
Pareto and Fascism

Chapter 10 | Gaetano Mosca (1858-1941)
The Ruling Class
Aristotle and Montesquieu
Juridical Defense
Universal Suffrage
Standing Armies

Chapter 11 | Robert Michels (1876-1936)

Chapter 12 | Emile Durkheim (1858-1917)
Durkheim and Saint-Simon
The Problem of Order
Order and Justice
Durkheim's Sociology of Deviant Behavior
Crime and Punishment
Durkheim's Sociology of Religion
Methodological Rules and Values
The Study of Suicide
Chapter 13 | Karl Mannheim (1893-1947)
Ideology and Utopia
The Intelligentsia

Chapter 14 | George Herbert Mead (1863-1931)
Mind, Self, and Society
The Self
The "I" and the ""Me""
The "Biologic I"
The Philosophy of the Act
More on Mead's Pragmatic Epistemology

Irving M. Zeitlin

Dr. Irving Zeitlin is Professor Emeritus at the University of Toronto and holds a Ph.D. from Princeton University in the fields of Sociology and Anthropology, having specialized in the history of social and political thought. He has published over a dozen books on social theory and religion.


“This condensed version of Zeitlin’s now classic textbook retains the wide-ranging spirit of the original by introducing students to the critical concerns shared by early sociologists, concerns that still animate many of the central debates in the discipline. A lively and thoughtful introduction to and immersion in the vitality of classical sociological thought.”

“As an analysis of classical sociological thought this book is unrivalled. No other author in the field can match the depth and precision of Zeitlin’s work.”

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