Frontiers of Sociology

The Annals of the International Institute of Sociology – Volume 11


The 37th World Congress of the IIS focused on theory and research at the forefront of sociology and the relationship between sociology and its neighbouring disciplines. This volume constitutes a sustained effort by prominent sociologists and other social scientists to assess the current standing of sociology. It is a stocktaking of the unique nature of sociology in the light of advances within the discipline itself and within a range of neighbouring disciplines. Some of the chapters outline institutional and professional strategies for sociology in the new millennium. Others trace scholarly advances and propose ambitious research programmes drawing on recent developments not only within traditional neighbouring disciplines such as history, political science, and economics, but also within the cognitive, cultural and mathematical sciences. Contributors include: Hans-Peter Blossfeld, Raymond Boudon, Richard Breen, Christofer R. Edling, S. N. Eisenstadt, Jack Goldstone, Philip Gorski, Peter Gärdenfors, Ulf Hannerz, Peter Hedström, Hans Joas, Dietrich Rueschemeyer, Jens Rydgren, Neil Smelser, Aage B. Sørensen, Richard Swedberg, Piotr Sztompka, Peter Wagner and Björn Wittrock.
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Biographical Note

Peter Hedström is Professor of Sociology and Official Fellow of Nuffield College, Oxford. He is one of the key contributors to the literature on social mechanisms, and he has numerous publications in leading sociology journals. He is the current Secretary-General of the International Institute of Sociology. Björn Wittrock is University Professor at Uppsala University and Principal of the Swedish Collegium for Advanced Study. He has published extensively in the fields of intellectual history, historical social science and social theory. He is the current President of the International Institute of Sociology.

Table of contents

INTRODUCTION Peter Hedström and Björn Wittrock: Frontiers of Sociology THE LEGACY AND FRONTIERS OF SOCIOLOGY The Emergence of Universalism: An Affirmative Genealogy Hans Joas The Social Sciences and the Two Relativisms Raymond Boudon The Return to Values in Recent Sociological Theory Piotr Sztompka Sociology and Political Science: Learning and Challenges Jack Goldstone Toward a New Comprehensive Social Science Dietrich Rueschemeyer SOCIOLOGY AND THE HISTORICAL SCIENCES History and Sociology: Transmutations of Historical Reasoning in the Social Sciences Björn Wittrock Axial Visions and Axial Civilizations: The Transformations of World Histories Between Evolutionary Tendencies and Institutional Formations S. N. Eisenstadt Social “Mechanisms” and Comparative-Historical Sociology: A Critical Realist Proposal Philip Gorski SOCIOLOGY AND THE ECONOMIC SCIENCES Sociology and the Economic Sciences Neil Smelser Formal Theory in the Social Sciences Richard Breen Bourdieu’s Contribution to Economic Sociology Richard Swedberg SOCIOLOGY AND THE CULTURAL SCIENCES Modernity as Experience and as Interpretation: Towards Something Like a Cultural Turn in the Sociology of “Modern Society” Peter Wagner Geocultural Scenarios Ulf Hannerz SOCIOLOGY AND THE COGNITIVE SCIENCES The Social Stance and Its Relation to Intersubjectivity Peter Gärdenfors Shared Beliefs About the Past: A Cognitive Sociology of Intersubjective Memory Jens Rydgren The Analytical Turn in Sociology Peter HedströmM SOCIOLOGY AND THE MATHEMATICAL AND STATISTICAL SCIENCES We Always Know More Than We Can Say: Mathematical Sociologists on Mathematical Sociology Christofer Edling Statistical Models and Mechanisms of Social Processes Aage B. Sørensen Causal Inference and Statistical Models in Modern Social Sciences Hans-Peter Blossfeld Notes on Contributors Author Index


All sociologists and all other social scientists with an interest in social theory, historical and mathematical social science, and in the history of social science disciplines. It should be a natural reader in any graduate and Ph.D. course in sociological theory.