Social theorists dwell on the canical works of Marx, Weber, and Durkheim but little on the theories of the major contemporary macrotheorists. This book fills this gap with a focus on the work of four modern theorists who have taken on the larger questions spawned by classical social theory. C. Wright Mills, Marvin Harris, Immanuel Wallerstein, and Gerhard Lenski have examined such phemena and processes as the rise and impact of capitalism; the centralization and enlargement of authority; inequality; and the historical intensification of production and populations. Borrowing what is useful from the classics as well as relying on contemporary practitioners and empirical evidence, each theorist adds his own insights and interpretations in constructing a comprehensive perspective of sociocultural stability and change. This book fully synthesizes and documents each perspective, using language and examples that resonate with the general reader. A short biography on each theorist is also provided.
Frank W. Elwell, Professor of Sociology at Murray State University, is the author of The Evolution of the Future (Praeger, 1991) and Industrializing America (Praeger, 1999).