Tracing the development of scientific sociology from Comte to the present, A Hundred Years of Sociology is a concise, narrative history of the major figures, ideas, and schools that lie behind the work of contemporary sociologists.
Covering both theoretical and empirical contributions, the book describes the convergence of two major streams of sociological thought: a speculative and philosophical tradition and a reformist, fact-finding tradition. Throughout the volume, the author is as much concerned with the content of ideas as with their labels and chronology. The important developments in both American and European sociology are considered in full, and special attention is given to the emergence of social anthropology and social psychology and to the profound influence of World War II on current work in the field.
Sociology is still both philosophical and practical, both concerned with society in general and with particular parts or aspects of human social life, yet an effective way of thinking about human social life has been built: a formulation of the principal questions, which define the discipline, and a drawing together, in an increasingly imposing organization, of the many diverse strands of knowledge about society.
A Hundred Years of Sociology is intended to acquaint the student with the intellectual history of the discipline, to show that the fundamental problems of sociology are not new, and to nurture a critical awareness of the relationship between present concerns and the heritage of the past. Not an exhaustive reference work or an encyclopedia of sociology, the book is a literate, coherent, and readable guide to this broad field that will be read with interest by all students of sociology.