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A A Treatise on Social Theory : A Treatise on Social Theory Substantive Social Theory v.2 - W. G. Runciman

A A Treatise on Social Theory

A Treatise on Social Theory Substantive Social Theory v.2

Paperback

Published: 3rd April 1989
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This second of three volumes sets out a general account of the structure and evolution of human societies. The author argues first that societies are to be defined as sets of roles whose incumbents are competitors for access to, or control of, the means of production, persuasion and coercion; and second, that the process by which societies evolve is one of competitive selection of the practices by which roles are defined analagous, but not reducible, to natural selection. He illustrates and tests these theses with evidence drawn from the whole range of societies documented in the historical and ethnographic record. The result is an original, powerful and far-reaching reformulation of evolutionary sociological theory which will make it possible to do for the classification and analysis of societies what Darwin and his successors have done for the classification and analysis of species.

'This is a masterpiece: in its scope and its command of historical and ethnographic detail, it is reminiscent of Economy and Society; in its systematization more gripping.' Professor David Lockwood 'It is an astonishing bravura performance ... I have not come across another approach to comparative history which has impressed me so much.' Professor Eric Hobsbawn 'This is an important and remarkable book. It is extremely ambitious offering nothing less than a general theory of human society, and the confrontation of that theory with the historical material. The quality of the material is commensurate with the ambition.' Professor Ernest Gellner

Prefacep. xi
Introduction: societies as subjects for sciencep. 1
What are societies made of?p. 1
The dimensions of social structurep. 12
Roles and systactsp. 20
Mobility of persons and rolesp. 27
Competitive selection and social evolutionp. 37
Inter-societal comparisons and principles of taxonomyp. 48
Conclusionp. 60
Social relationsp. 61
The range of variationp. 61
Standard roles and routine careersp. 70
Functional differentiation and the accretion of powerp. 76
Ranks, distances and barriersp. 86
Systactic identity and collective consciousnessp. 97
Pervasive roles and central institutionsp. 113
Conclusionp. 121
Social structurep. 123
Stability and dissentp. 123
Reproduction, polarization and compressionp. 138
Systactic patterns and modes of the distribution of powerp. 148
Contradictions and constraintsp. 172
Functional alternatives (1)p. 182
Functional alternatives (2)p. 208
Functional alternatives (3)p. 244
Inter-societal relationsp. 266
Conclusionp. 283
Social evolutionp. 285
Processes of changep. 285
Regressions and catastrophesp. 310
Dead-ends and turning-pointsp. 320
Rebellions, reforms and revolutionsp. 340
Test casesp. 367
Test cases (2)p. 386
Test cases (3)p. 411
Hegemony and declinep. 433
Conclusionp. 448
List of referencesp. 451
Indexp. 481
Table of Contents provided by Syndetics. All Rights Reserved.

ISBN: 9780521369831
ISBN-10: 0521369835
Series: A Treatise on Social Theory 3 Volume Paperback Set : Book 2
Audience: Professional
Format: Paperback
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 508
Published: 3rd April 1989
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Country of Publication: GB
Dimensions (cm): 22.8 x 15.2  x 15.2
Weight (kg): 0.74