Problematics of Sociology: The Georg Simmel Lectures, 1995
These skillfully written essays are based on the Georg Simmel Lectures delivered by Neil J. Smelser at Humboldt University in Berlin in the spring of 1995. A distillation of Smelser's reflections after nearly four decades of research, teaching, and thought in the field of sociology, the essays identify, as he says in the first chapter, ". . . some central problematics—those generic, recurrent, never resolved and never completely resolvable issues—that shape the work of the sociologist."
Each chapter considers a different level of sociological analysis: micro (the person and personal interaction), meso (groups, organizations, movements), macro (societies), and global (multi-societal). Within this framework, Smelser covers a variety of topics, including the place of the rational and the nonrational in social action and in social science theory; the changing character of group attachments in post-industrial society; the eclipse of social class; and the decline of the nation-state as a focus of solidarity.
The clarity of Smelser's writing makes this a book that will be welcomed throughout the field of social science as well as by anyone wishing to understand sociology's essential characteristics and problems.
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active actors affects analysis analytic approach argued assumptions basis become behavior capitalism chapter cial classical economics complex conflict constitute contemporary continuing cultural democracy diversity domination Durkheim economic endow environmental example focus forces formal organizations Georg Simmel global sociology groups Gustav Le Bon human human bonding Humboldt University idea identified identity increased individual industrial institutionalized institutions integration interaction interest internationalization intersubjective investigator involves issue kind less levels of social literature macro mainly meanings ments meso level methodological methodological individualism microsociological minds modern motivation nation-state national society Neil Smelser nomic nonrational person principle problem problematics psychological reality regarded relations revolution role salience sex tourism significance social move social movements social organization social science social scientists social structure sociologists solidarity status stimulus-response theories stratification structural differentiation subnational ternational theoretical theorists theory tion tional tradition typifications understanding unit Weber