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  • ISBN: 9780226475462
  • ISBN10: 0226475468

Visions of the Sociological Tradition

by Donald N. Levine

  • List Price: $81.00
  • Binding: Hardcover
  • Publisher: Univ of Chicago Pr
  • Publish date: 09/01/1995
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This book is a masterful account of the social science enterprise by one of its most accomplished practitioners. Moving from the origins of systematic knowledge in ancient Greece to the present day, Donald Levine offers a richly detailed, ingeniously organized introduction to the cornerstone works of Western social thought. Visions has three meanings, each of which corresponds to a part of the book. In Part One, Levine presents the ways sociologists have rendered accounts of their discipline, as a series of narratives - or life stories - that build upon each other, in an effort to envisage a coherent past for the sake of a purposive present. In Part Two, Levine offers his own narrative, a dialogue among the strands of the sociological tradition: Hellenic, British, French, German, Marxian, Italian, and American. Clearly and concisely, he tracks the sociological imagination through a series of conversations across generations. From classic philosophy to pragmatism, Levine maps the web of a visionary statements from which social science has grown in response to three recurring questions: How shall we live? What makes humans moral creatures? How do we understand the world? He anchors the creation of social knowledge to ethical foundations, and shows how differences in those foundations disposed the shapers of modern social science to proceed in vastly different ways. In Part Three, Levine sets the crisis of fragmentation in social science against the fragmentation of experience and community. By reconstructing the history of social thought as a series of fundamentally moral engagements with common themes, he suggests new uses for sociology's resources: not only as insight about the natureof modernity, but also as a model of mutually respectful communication in an increasingly fractious world.
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