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Aron, Raymond (1905–1983)


Subject Sociology » Sociological and Social Theory

Place Western Europe » France

Period 1000 - 1999 » 1900-1999

DOI: 10.1111/b.9781405124331.2007.x


Raymond Aron (1905–1983) was a French sociologist, philosopher, political actor, and commentator. Before World War II, he lectured in several French universities (Le Havre, Bordeaux, Toulouse). In 1938, he defended his doctoral thesis Introduction to the Philosophy of History , which was published as a book and widely reviewed in Europe and the United States. After graduating, he spent the years from 1930 to 1933 in Germany and observed the rise of National Socialism. In 1935, he published German Sociology in which he made the distinction between “systematic” and “historical” sociology. Systematic sociology was concerned with “fundamental social relations, types of social groups [and] the static structure of society,” while historical sociology focused on the “laws, or at least the theory, of the development of the bourgeois society” (Aron, 1957 [1935]: 2). Within systematic sociology he distinguished between formal sociology (Simmel and von Wiese), the sociology of society and community (Tonnies), phenomenological sociology (Vierkandt), and universalistic sociology (Spann). Within historical sociology he differentiated between Oppenheimer, the cultural sociology of Alfred Weber, and Mannheim's sociology of knowledge. The greatest attention and praise, however, was paid to Max Weber, “without any doubt, the greatest of German sociologists” (Aron, 1957 [1935]: 67). Weber's influence ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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