A New Science: The Breakdown of Connections and the Birth of by Bruce Mazlish

By Bruce Mazlish

During this booklet Mazlish examines the historic origins of sociology, having a look heavily at how what he phrases the "cash nexus"--the omnipresent substitution of cash for private relations--was perceived as altering the character of human kin within the nineteenth century and resulted in the improvement of sociology as a way of facing this situation. Mazlish additionally considers the breakdown of connections in smooth society: how the orderly 18th century international within which God, humanity, and nature have been heavily attached to each other got here to get replaced with one among felt disconnection, and the way individualism then got here to be obvious as exchanging a feeling of group in smooth society. He investigates the paintings of a couple of 19th-century English writers who have been enthusiastic about this breakdown of connections, together with Adam Smith, William Wordsworth, Edmund Burke, Thomas Carlyle, and especially novelists akin to Benjamin Disraeli, Elizabeth Gaskell, and George Eliot. He additionally explores the impact of Darwin, offers Engels and Marx as precursors of the technology of sociology and discusses at size the most important founding figures of contemporary classical sociology: Ferdinand Tönnies, George Simmel, Emile Durkheim, and Max Weber.

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Extra resources for A New Science: The Breakdown of Connections and the Birth of Sociology

Sample text

The chosen instrument of capitalist economics is, as we shall see further, the contract. The marriage contract is merely an intimate form of such a legal document. Yet, capitalism pushes toward individualism, and personal choice. Its bourgeois exponents thus face the dilemma of having to choose between the impersonal tie of money—the cash nexus, in short—which dominates the market, and the personal tie of affection, which may be an individual choice. Thus, the institution of marriage mirrors in itself the larger problem of connections that is so omnipresent in the period.

We are unsettled, disturbed by the sentiment of wonder, which Smith oddly enough describes as "that staring, and sometimes that rolling The Break 35 of the eyes, that suspension of the breath, and that swelling of the heart, which we may all observe, both in ourselves and others, when wondering at some new object. . " To assuage the sentiment of wonder, we seek to connect. " It represents "the invisible chains which bind together all these disjointed objects," and seeks to "introduce order into this chaos of jarring and discordant appearances, to allay this tumult of the imagination, and to restore it, when it surveys the great revolutions of the universe, to that tone of tranquility and composure, which is ...

The Chain and the Web In reviewing the concerns already mentioned, through the eyes of our breakers, lamenters, and sociologists, it is important to highlight an overall shift in conception against which the controversy and analysis was played out. In different eras, different images attain a special ascendance. In the roughly eighty-five-year period from the late eighteenth to the mid-nineteenth century in parts of Europe and the Americas, the metaphor of a "web of interconnections" gradually replaced "the chain of being" as the image which summed up the way human beings thought of themselves in relation to God, Nature, and their fellow Men.

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