Elias is one of the major figures in world sociology and social science. He is unique in having combined in his work the empirical minutiae of social life with theorizing on a grand scale. His work ranges across societies of all types and in all periods and transcends disciplinary boundaries. Among the many original features of his writings is a commitment to sociology as a historical science dealing with long-term developmental processes. His major works include "The Civilizing Process", "The Court Society" and "What Is Sociology?" In "The Symbol Theory" Elias draws together three central themes. At the first level the book is concerned with symbols in relation to language, knowing and thinking. He takes a fresh look at areas of inquiry normally associated with cultural anthropology and semiology. Secondly, Elias stresses that symbols are also tangible sound-patterns of human communication, made possible by the evolutionary biological precondition of the human vocal apparatus. At a third level, the book addresses theoretical issues about the ontological status of knowledge, moving beyond traditional philosophical dualisms such as subject/object and idealism/materialism.
By weaving evolutionary biology as a human science into a more broadly conceived sociology, Elias readjusts the traditional boundary between the "Social" and the "Natural". At the same time he demonstrates the potential of sociology as a unifying human science which pulls in data from history, psychology, economics, political science and anthropology.
`Elias' work is intriguing and has the capacity to stimulate sociologists...The subject matter of The Symbol Theory is both expansive and deep' - Journal of Applied Rehabilitation Counselling
`Readers will be well rewarded. In its attempt at a grand synthesis The Symbol Theory moves way beyond sociology in any strict sense...Few readers will fail to be impressed by the breadth of vision and the clarity of expression. For many, the book may supply a welcome, undogmatic antidote to skepticism' - Contemporary Sociology
Series: Published in Association with Theory, Culture & Society
Number Of Pages: 176
Published: 1st July 1991
Country of Publication: GB
Dimensions (cm): 21.59 x 13.97
Weight (kg): 0.21