By Shaun Best
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Extra info for A beginner's guide to social theory
Giddens 29 A Beginner's Guide to Social Theory gives the example of the category of time. In contradistinction to Kant, for Durkheim all time is `social time' and as such is a social fact. Both time and space are collective representations, which express a collective reality and `correspond to the most universal properties of things' (Durkheim, 1915: 9). Time re¯ects the rhythms of social life or collective activities, for example feasts and public ceremonies. The function of time `is to assure their regularity' (1915: 11).
In 1951, when Parsons published The Social System, he stated clearly that he had no theory of social change: a general theory of the processes of change of social systems is not possible in the present state of knowledge . . We do not have a complete theory of the processes of change in social systems . . when such a theory is available the millennium of social science will have arrived. This will not come in our time and most probably never. (Parsons, 1951: 486) Similar themes were taken up by Martin Lipset (1960) with his notion of `political man' and Daniel Bell (1960) with his `end of ideology thesis'.
Schnurer. Free Press of Glencoe: New York. Durkheim, E. and Mauss, M. (1963) Primitive Classi®cation, trans. R. Needham. Cohen & West: London. Fulcher, J. and Scott, J. (1999) Sociology. Oxford University Press: Oxford. Habermas, J. (1987) The Philosophical Discourse of Modernity. Polity: Cambridge. Harris, S. (1996) Sociology. Letts: London. Jorgensen, N. (1997) Sociology: An Interactive Approach. Collins Educational: London. , Manning, N. and Triggs, A. (1997) Sociology in Perspective. Heinemann: Oxford.
A beginner's guide to social theory by Shaun Best