"Karl Marx remains fundamental for an understanding of structural dynamics in modern society. Don't think sociologists agree with everything he said as he said it, but the analytic frameworks embedded within his works continue to be important."
"Appreciation for Durkheim's last published work grows with a string of new translations in the past decade. The book appears to be about religion (and it is), but the analysis is about how individuals create societies. Favorite sections: Intro, Bk. I Ch. 1, Bk. II Ch. 7, Bk. III Ch. 2, Conclusion. See also "Suicide" and "Rules of Sociological Method"."
"Weber's essays looking at the relationship between Protestantism and the rise of Capitalism are among the most important in the history of sociology. Weber takes seriously the social meanings individuals attribute to their actions such that they can fundamentally transform the structure of society. See also "Economy & Society", "Methodology of the Social Sciences", and "Sociology of Religion"."
"Society lives in our heads as much as in the "world". Provides a paradigm for how individuals ongoingly re-construct the world. This book represents a culmination of thinking about the social world, synthesizing many of the most important ideas up until the mid-20th century. Very important, and very interesting. See "The Sacred Canopy" and "The Homeless Mind" among others."
"A compelling book showing the transformation from public executions to private rehabilitation. In the process, Foucault demonstrates how modern society effectively manages our bodies. Pay close attention to the "panopticon" chapter with all its attendant implications."
"Foundational work in understanding the socially contingent nature of knowledge, even the most "objective" knowledge found among scientists. So much scholarship is based on insights contained in this one book."
"More technical, but definitive, book on the structuring of occupational prestige. Where the future of one's life is dominated by their work, this book captures the structure of occupations and how it affects people's lives."