The Founding Fathers in Context

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Introduction The social sciences are a relatively new branch of science and with this youth comes complexities and growing pains. The evolution from looking strictly at history, to applying natural science research methods to the stratified version of research methods now utilized in the social sciences has progressed organically over time. This is a very interesting phenomenon since the founding fathers oscillated between history, the present-day’s ethnographic research as well as the views of their contemporaries. This leads one to ask if the time period in which sociology came about lead to its birth? Or were these founding fathers generally interested in the social ties that bind us together? I believe it is a combination of both that lead to the development of sociology. For all intents and purposes, I will essentialize the great thinkers in order to illustrate how they were affected by the times during which they were theorizing. Whether such an enterprise is, in principle, philosophically or empirically viable is a matter for debate. In this paper I aim to examine the social phenomenon of the birth of sociology and why it is important to contextualize the time periods during with Marx, Durkheim and Weber wrote. I intend to do this by relying on two core citations from Connell and Swingewood to assist in illustrating the role of time and place. Though I rely on Philip Abrams, I am not a strict historicist. However, he does bring valuable insight to the circumstances during which a split between history and sociology began to take root. The mechanisms of imperialism and swift social change were implicit in the work of the founding fathers and therefore, the phenomenon of the birth of sociology. In my conclusion I will ... ... middle of paper ... ...ort period of time. Understanding the context in which Marx, Durkheim and Weber honed their ideas lends itself to better understanding why they drew the conclusions they did. I realize this paper could include years of research, but this short synthesis will have to do. Works Cited Alan Swingewood (2000) A short history of sociological thought, Third edition, Palgrave. Durkheim,. Émile (1951 [1897]). ‘Preface’ and ‘Introduction.’ In his Suicide. A Study in Sociology; transl. J.A. Spaulding and G. Simpson; New York: Free Press, 35-53. Connell, R.W, (1997) Why is classical theory classical? American Journal of Sociology, 102 (6), 1511-1557 Weber, Max, (1930) The protestant ethic and the spirit of capitalism, Unwin University Books, 13-31 Abrams , P. (1972). The sense of the past and the origins of sociology . Past & Present , No. 55(May), 18-32.
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