Introduction to Cultural Historical Sociology

Author: Siemens, Robert
Contributes a unifying paradigm to sociological theory that constructively integrates micro and macrosociological, subjective and objective, social scientific and humanistic perspectives. It synthesizes the European critical theory/phenomenological approach with the American radical tradition, and illuminates the internal tension in the discipline of sociology that is the result of the European struggle for world hegemony. It also contributes a relational comparison of the social institutions of modern life, and examines the work of some neglected sociologists such as Leo Frobenius and Henry George.


"This work is an 'introduction' only in the sense that it opens up a way of conceptualizing sociology which has long been neglected. It is not an 'introduction' in the sense that it is a simplified version of a complex subject; it is an introduction to its very complexity. The work will be particularly appreciated by scholars who already sense the limits, if not the end of contemporary sociology. It is demanding, not only because it includes a wide spectrum of thought, but because it forces the reader to change perspectives, to re-think taken for granted positions." - Johann W. Mohr

"Siemens brings an astonishing breadth of reading and an impressive freshness of imagination to his project. . . . Though trained as a professional sociologist, Siemens deploys more of an outsiders' perspective, not only to particular theoretical frameworks, but to the deeper presuppositional nexus (the episteme, in Foucault's sense) of contemporary sociology. His perspective is radical in the etymological sense of that term; he is helping us to take a new look at roots." - Peter C. Blum

Table of Contents

Table of Contents:
Foreword by Calvin Redekop
Introduction: Biblical Discourse and the Critique of Sociological Reason
Part I: The Epistemological Foundations of Social Theory
1. Social Theory and Social Learning: Plato and the Problem of Social Learning; Social Learning and Husserl's Transcendental Ego; Social Interpretation of Husserl's Transcendental Ego
2. Conflict of Paradigms in the History of Science: Philosophies of Science and Systems of Knowledge; The Adequacy of Scientific Materialism for Sociology Considered; Sociology of Knowledge Criteria for 'Scientific' Sociology; Conclusion. The Poetic Science Paradigm
3. The Empirical Origins of Cultural-historical Inquiry: The Problem of Social Learning; The Poetic Science Roots of Cultural-historical Method; Frobenius' Ethnography of History; Time - Linear and Epochal; The Typological Reconstruction of World History
Part II: The Social Institutions
4. The Family: Hegel's Sociology; Childrens' Culture - Reflections on a Lecture by Harold Garfinkel; The Family of Modern Conception; From Promiscuity to Patriarchy; The Family of Postmodern Conception
5. World-Systems Theory - Modern Social Science and Cultural-historical Theorizing Meet: The Politics of Historicity; Ancient Historiography Briefly Reviewed; Critical Comparison of Ancient and Modern World-Systems
6. Sociology and Economics: The Individual and the World-System; The Economy of the Family; The Problem of Establishing an American Identity; The Sociology of Money
Part III: The Body
7. Methodological Individualism and American Society: The Problem of the Body; The Body in the Economies Political and Imaginative; The Sociology of the Money Economy; Max Weber's Historical Sociology
8. Epilogue. After Patriarchy: Hegel's Hinduism; Weber's Distinction between Formal and Substantive Law; Conclusion - Perverting Hegel
Appendix I: Frobenius' Map of the Sources of the Culture of Transformation
Appendix II: Table of the Foundation of the Paideuma
Bibliography and Index