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Sociocultural Systems: Principles of Structure and Change

Sociocultural Systems: Principles of Structure and Change (Paperback)

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Macrosociology-the study of large-scale social structures and

the fundamental principles of social organization-was the style

of sociology practiced by the founders of the discipline. Today, the

social theories of Karl Marx, Max Weber, Emile Durkheim, and Herbert

Spencer (among others) are commonly studied as part of the history of

the field, but, although the macrosociological approach that these

thinkers advocated is still employed, it no longer dominates the

discipline. Instead, sociologists typically adopt a narrower focus,

specializing in areas such as social psychology, medicine, religion, or

the study of social stratification.

Sociocultural Systems aims to reinstate macrosciology as the heart

of the discipline by demonstrating that both classical and contemporary

macrosociologists stand upon common ground. Focusing on the broad

issues that concerned the founders, Elwell addresses questions such as:

Historically, what factors accounted for the origin, survival, and

evolution of sociocultural systems? Why were some societies more

technologically advanced than others? What is the origin of capitalism?

What factors determine the allocation of goods and services within and

among societies? What effects do changes in government and economic

institutions have on communities?

Elwell argues that, as evolution does for biology, the

macrosociological paradigm offers an analytical strategy that can be

used both to guide and prioritize research in all of the myriad

specialties within sociology and to lay forth an orderly body of

knowledge for students. Clearly articulating important sociological

principles, Sociocultural Systems provides a critical understanding of

social institutions and issues, while also furnishing a framework for

possible solutions to the perennial social crises that are part and

parcel of the development of human societies.

Frank W. Elwell is a professor of sociology and the dean of Liberal Arts at Rogers State University, in Oklahoma.He is the author of Macrosociology: Four Modern Theorists, among other works.

More books by Frank W. Elwell

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