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Classical Sociological Theory Paperback – Apr 19 2010
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About the Author
George Ritzer is Distinguished University Professor at the University of Maryland, where he has been a Distinguished Scholar-Teacher and won a Teaching Excellence award by the American Sociological Association, and in 2004, he was awarded an honorary doctorate by LaTrobe University, Melborune, Australia. He has served as Chair of the American Sociological Association's Sections on Theoretical Sociology and organizations and Occupations. He held the UNESCO Chair in Social Theory at the Russian Academy of Sciences, a Fulbright-Hay Chair at York University in Canada, and a Fulbright-Hays award to the Netherlands. He has been Scholar-in-Residence at the Netherlands Institute for Advanced Study and the Swedish Collegium for Advanced Study in the Social Sciences. Dr. Ritzer's main theoretical interests lie in metatheory as well as applied social theory. In metatheory, his contributions include Metatheorizing in Sociology(Lexington Books, 1991), Sociology: A Multiple Paradigm Science (Allyn and Bacon, 1975, 1980), and Toward an Integrated Sociological Paradigm (Allyn and Bacon). Professor Ritzer is perhaps best known for the McDonaldization of Society (4/e, 2004); translated into more than a dozen languages) and several related books (also with a number of translations, including Expressing America: A Critique of the Global Credit Card Society (1995), Enchanting a Disenchanted World: Revolutionizing the Means of Consumption (2/e, 2005),The Globalization of Nothing (2/e, 2007), and (with Craig Lair) Outsourcing: Globalization and Beyond. He edited the Encyclopedia of Social Theory (2005), and is the founding editor of the Journal of Consumer Culture. He just completed editing the eleven-volume Encyclopedia of Sociology (2007) and The Blackwell Companion to Globalization (2007). In 2006, McGraw-Hill published the second edition of Professor Ritzer's Contemporary Sociological Theory and Its Classic Roots: The Basics. In 2007, McGraw-Hill will publish the seventh edition of Modern Sociological Theory, and the fifth edition of Classical Sociological Theory. The latter texts, as well as this one, have been translated into a number of languages.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
In some ways, however, the strengths of Ritzer's treatment of classical theorists are also its weaknesses. If one were looking for applications to contemporary circumstances, it is difficult to make the case for Comte and Spencer. For historical reasons they certainly belong in an introductory overview of the development of the discipline. However, even with the current antiquarian revival of interest in Spencer, Ritzer has written a very conventional theory textbook. A good one, yes, since his prose is clear, his accounts are informative, and he does not trivialize important issues, but quite conventional nonetheless.
For someone interested in efforts to synthesize differing perspectives and hoping to think about contemporary issues within a framework provided by classical theory, Ritzer's book is a bit off the mark. Nevertheless, it is well suited for beginning undergraduates and others making a first foray into sociological theory. It serves best those who are comfortable with list-like presentation of material that is more descriptive than evaluative, and who are not concerned with synthesis or application.
It is VERY VERY dry, but it's classical sociological theory, so you're going to find that regardless. Still, it provides details that can make the original texts much more approachable and give an idea what you're supposed to be getting out of it where you might otherwise be stuck with a big "okay, so...?" from the original texts.
Do yourself a favor and give this book a chance even if at first it is difficult. Sometimes it takes reading the passages in it, the source material, and then back again before stuff clicks, but it worth the effort if you need to do well with classical theory.