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Capitalism and Modern Social Theory: An Analysis of the Writings of Marx, Durkheim and Max Weber
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1. Giddens might be the best and deepest understander of three father of sociology. The prestige and appeal of his structuration theory might be rooted in that mastery. Before proposed the outline of structuration theory in ¡®New Rules of Sociological Method¡¯, he spent about ten years in digging into three founders: Marx, Weber, and Durkheim. This book is the fruit of that effort.
Unlike usual textbook, this book us not simple introduction to classical theorists. The need to read classics lies in the problem sociology poses to itself: ¡®what is the modernity?¡¯ Whereas other sister disciplines pose somewhat narrower problems-capitalism for economics, democracy for political sciences- sociology questions the modernity itself. That¡¯s the very problem three fathers posed over a century ago. But still we question the same problem in the way they set. So we should always return to classics when meeting the fundamental problem.
2. The style of this book is clear, easy-to-follow, and jargon-free enough to be used in undergraduate introductory class. But it doesn¡¯t mean that there is no depth in this book. Giddens argues that thoughts of Weber and Durkheim should be understood as the reaction to Marx. His emphasis is convincing and offers a good standpoint to look up three fathers as a whole. Such a point is invaluable to beginners. Moreover, his interpretations are opposite to conventional wisdom, with solid grounds. He contends that there is no discontinuity between young Marx and late Marx, against humanist views like Frankfurt school¡¯s and structuralist exposition like Althusser¡¯s; there is no inconsistency I Weber. He was always a radical neo-Kantian; the relationship of Weber and Marx should be seen as creative tension rather than antagonism; Durkheim¡¯s point lies in not primarily in ¡®the problem of order¡¯ but in the changing nature of order in the context of social development.