Divided into two parts, this book examines the train of social theory from the 19th century, through to the 'organization of modernity', in relation to ideas of social planning, and as contributors to the 'rationalistic revolution' of the 'golden age' of capitalism in the 1950s and 60s. Part two examines key concepts in the social sciences. It begins with some of the broadest concepts used by social scientists: choice, decision, action and institution and moves on to examine the 'collectivist alternative': the concepts of society, culture and polity, which are often dismissed as untenable by postmodernists today. This is a major contribution to contemporary social theory and provides a host of essential insights into the task of social science today.
Peter Wagner is Professor of Social and Political Theory in the Department of Political and Social Sciences, European University Institute, Florence
PART ONE: RECONSIDERING THE HISTORY OF THE SOCIAL SCIENCES As a Philosophical Science Unjustifiable, as an Empirical Science Anything Else but New Classical Sociology and the First Crisis of Modernity Time of Politics, and Not of Law Political Analysis during the First Crisis of Modernity Adjusting Social Relations Social Science and the Organization of Modernity The Mythical Promise of Societal Renewal Social Science and Reform Coalitions Out of Step The Social Sciences in the Second Crisis of Modernity PART TWO: RETHINKING KEY CONCEPTS OF THE SOCIAL SCIENCES Choice and Decision-Making Action and Institution Culture (with Heidrun Friese) Society Polity Modernity