Wanderer, Jules J. Books

Dr. Jules J. Wanderer is Professor Emeritus at the University of Colorado where he twice served as Department Chair. He is the author of books and numerous articles in sociology and symbolic interaction journals and, recently, in journals devoted to studies of semiotics. His current research interest is in the meanings of social types embodied in visual representations.

Interpretative Origins of Classical Sociology
2005 0-7734-6006-3
In their efforts to define the boundaries of a new discipline, the founders of modern sociology – Durkheim, Simmel, and Weber – left a rich legacy of theoretical insights. But with the exception of Weber's Verstehen (interpretative understanding), standard treatments of classical sociological theory have tended to understate interpretative influences.

The founders held different views of the place of alternative interpretations in sociology and of their symbolic and epistemological implications for a subject matter. For Weber, collective concepts failed to meet the standards of a unit of analysis for sociology. Durkheim and Simmel's approach to sociology's subject matter emphasized not the study of individuals or objects, but the social construction of what they meant and how they were experienced. Armed with the conceptual distinction drawn in phenomenological sociology between "appearing things" – things in the raw, life's content – and their "appearances," a rereading of Durkheim and Simmel's contribution to classical theory reveals how well their concepts fit descriptions of interpretative influences in social life.

This book seeks to trace the influence of a package of interpretative ideas – signs, representations, symbols, and meanings – on the issues addressed by the founders in the development of classical sociological theory.