Essays in Social Theory by Steven Lukes | …

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STEVEN LUKES is Professor of Sociology at New York University, USA. He has previously held professorships at the London School of Economics and Political Science, UK, the University of Siena, Italy, the European University Institute, Italy, and Balliol College, Oxford, UK. His many published works include Moral Conflict and Politics, Marxism and Morality, Essays in Social Theory, Individualism, and Emile Durkheim: His Life and Work.

The most ambitious claim of The Elementary Forms, of course, is that the most basic categories of human thought have their origin in social experience; but this claim, Steven Lukes has argued, is not one but six quite different claims which Durkheim did not consistently and clearly distinguish -- the heuristic claim that concepts (including the categories) are collective representations; the causal claim that society produces these concepts; the structuralist claim that these concepts are modeled upon, and are thus similar to, the structures of society; the functionalist claim that logical conformity is necessary to social stability; the cosmological claim that religious myth provided the earliest systems of classification; and the evolutionary claim that the most fundamental notions of modern science have primitive religious origins. The structuralist, cosmological, and evolutionary claims, Lukes observed, have been both challenging and influential. But the heuristic claim, by conflating the categories with concepts in general, confuses a capacity of mind with what is better described as its content. In so far as society is literally defined in terms of collective representations (as the later Durkheim increasingly did), both the causal and the functionalist claims seem simply to restate the heuristic claim, and are vulnerable to the same objection; but, in so far as society is construed in structural terms (as in The Division of Labor), the causal claim in particular is open to serious objections. The very relations proposed between the structures of primitive societies and their conceptual apparatus, for example, would seem to presuppose the primitives' possession of precisely those concepts; and the causal hypothesis itself cannot be framed in falsifiable form -- we cannot postulate a situation in which men do not think with such concepts, Lukes observes, because this is what thinking is. Finally, Durkheim's sociology of knowledge seems susceptible to at least as many empirical objections as his sociology of religion.

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Essays in social theory by Steven Lukes ..

Steven Lukes is a professor of politics and sociology at the University of Siena, The London School of Economics and New York University. He has written many books about political and social theory, including Emile Durkheim: His Life and Work and the seminal Power: A Radical View, recently released in a new edition 30-years after it was first published.

Essays in social theory Steven Lukes

Steven Lukes is Professor of Sociology at New York University, USA. He studied at Oxford and has previously held posts at Oxford, Florence, Siena and London. He is an emeritus Fellow of the British Academy and an editor of the European Journal Of Sociology. His writing and teaching have ranged over political science, political and moral philosophy, sociology, anthropology and the philosophy of the social sciences. He is the author of Emile Durkheim: His Life and Work (1972) and, most recently, Moral Relativism (2005).

Essays in social theory Steven Lukes By Lukes, Steven

cited in Steven Lukes, Essays in Social Theory (New York: Columbia University Press, 1977) p

Steven Lukes is a seminal work still widely used some 30 years after publication. The second edition includes the complete original text alongside two major new essays.

One assesses the main debates about how to conceptualise and study power, including the influential contributions of Michel Foucault. The other reconsiders Steven Lukes' own views in light of these debates and of criticisms of his original argument.

With a new introduction and bibliographical essay, this book will consolidate its reputation as a classic work and a major reference point within social and political theory.

About the Author

Steven Lukes is Professor of Sociology at New York University, USA. He has previously held professorships at the London School of Economics and Political Science, UK, the University of Siena, Italy, the European University Institute, Italy, and Balliol College, Oxford, UK. His many published works include and

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Preface to this edition, by Steven Lukes.- Introduction to the 1984 edition, by Lewis Coser.- Introduction to this edition, by Steven Lukes.- Durkheim's Life and Work: Timeline 1858-1917.- Suggestions for Further Reading.- Original Translator's Note.- The Division of Labour in Society by Emile Durkheim.- Preface to the First Edition (1893) .- Preface to the Second Edition (1902) .- Introduction .- PART I: THE FUNCTION OF THE DIVISION OF LABOUR.- 1. The Method of Determining This Function .- 2. Mechanical Solidarity, or Solidarity by Similarities.- 3. Solidarity Arising from the Division of Labour, or Organic Solidarity.- 4. Another Proof of the Preceding Theory.- 5. The Increasing Preponderance of Organic: Solidarity and its Consequences.- 6. The Increasing Preponderance of Organic: Solidarity and its Consequences (cont.).- 7. Organic Solidarity and Contractual Solidarity.- PART II: THE CAUSES AND CONDITIONS.- 8. The Progress of the Division of Labour and of Happiness.- 9. The Causes.- 10. Secondary Factors.- 11. Secondary Factors (cont.).- 12. Consequences of the Foregoing.- PART III: THE ABNORMAL FORMS.- 13. The Anomic Division of Labour.- 14. The Forced Division of Labour.- 15. Another Abnormal Form.- Conclusion.- Original Annotated Table of Contents.


Douglas (1966) argued that suicide statistics are socially constructs, negotiations formed by the coroner and the deceased families. Similarly, Atkinson, Kessel and Dalgaard (1974) asserted that coroners look for primary clues such as the presence of a suicide note, the mode of death, the location and if the individual has a family history of similar behaviours. Atkinson et al argued that no one can ever be sure whether a death really was attributed to suicide and so Durkheim?s work is flawed from the outset, as was mentioned earlier, when the social facts are challenged his entire theory is. Steven Lukes (1973) also criticised the concept of social facts suggesting that Durkhiem?s definition becomes contradictory when used in Suicide (1897). Lukes argues that Durkheim presents social facts - in the case of anomie and egoism - as factors inducing men to break that rules of a society. However, social facts were intended to constrain and so his ideas become fundamentally flawed. In conclusion, it cannot be doubted that social facts are the cornerstone with which Durkheim?s studies are built, they are basic factors present throughout his work including that on Suicide (1897) and the Elementary forms of Religious Life (1912). Although the validity of social facts can be questioned, they are apparent within societies and so must be taken into consideration. Durkheim?s work continues to influence sociology and was indeed innovative and cannot be taken for granted. It seems that the question concerning us here should be as to whether sociology can truly be studied using scientific method, a problem which could not be explored in this essay.