Sample Study Guide: Ritzer SOCIOLOGICAL THEORY (6th) Ch-1

Ritzer studyguides are available on each theorist’s page. This example is a link to De Toquerville. Most theorists have a Ritzer study guide.

Ritzer CLST 6th (cover)Study Guide: Chapter One. (Classical Sociological Theory- Ritzer 6th Edition)

Introduction to A Historical Sketch of Sociological Theory: The Early Years.

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[1] Know the one-sentence summaries of each theorist. (1-2) 



[2] What do “we” mean by “classical sociological theory”?   

[3] For what two (2) reasons are theories discussed (included) in this book?   

[4] The two introductory chapters are animated by what belief?  

[5] Why were so many theories NOT given full-chapter treatment in the book?   

[6] To be included in the text, the author deemed that the theories must do what?  

[7] Put succinctly, this book is about what?   

[8] Who are some of the women/ female theorists included in this book? What exception has been made for them and why?  

[9] When was it that we could first find thinkers who can be clearly defined as sociologists? (5)


[10] What shapes ALL intellectual fields? (5)

[11] Why is this particularly true of sociology? (5)

Political Revolutions

[12] What was the most immediate factor in the rise of sociological thinking? (6)

[13] Despite positive aspects of early social theorizing, what united early sociological theorists? (6)

[14] How did the INTEREST IN SOCIAL ORDER affect sociologists’ thinking?

The Industrial Revolution and the Rise of Capitalism

[15] What was at least as important as Political Revolutions in shaping early sociological theory? (7)

[16] What did the Industrial Revolution culminate in? (7)

[17] How did the rise of factories affect social life? (7)

[18] What did the move toward industrial urban center lead to (as far as radical social movements were concerned)? (7)


The Rise of Socialism.

[19] Where most sociologists in favor of socialism as a solution to problems of industrialization? Why/ why not? (7)

[20] T/F: Most classical theorists feared socialism? (7)

[21] Who was the exception to this trend? (the theorist) (7)



[22] Why does the author claim that “there has always been a feminist perspective”? (8)

[23] Know the three (3) “stages” of Feminist “activity” and “writing.” (8)

[24] What happened to much of the early feminist writings? (8)

[25] How did male theorists react to the feminist ideas set forth by the female theorists? (8)


[26] What caused such an influx of population into urban areas from rural areas? (8)

[27] What were some of the social problems (issues) created by such an influx/ change? (8)

[28] How did the University of Chicago benefit from a mass change in population becoming “urbanized”? (8)

Religious Change.

[29] How did political revolutions and the Industrial Revolution affect religion? (9)

[30] How did religion affect early sociological theorists? (9) 

The Growth of Science.

[31] What was the single most important factor as to why sociology wanted to become “scientific”? (9)


The Enlightenment.

[32] How did The Enlightenment affect early social thought? (10)

[33] How did The Enlightenment affect many long-standing ideas and beliefs? (10)

[34] Who were the two most Enlightenment “thinkers”? (10)

[35] What was the relationship between early social thought and The Enlightenment? (10)

[36] What were two (2) 17th-Century intellectual “currents” influenced by? (10)

[37] What type of social theory did thinkers such as Descartes, Hobbes, and Locke emphasize? (10)

[38] What did these thinkers want to “combine”? (10)

[39] What was their “model”? (what especially?) (10)

[40] How did The Enlightenment contribute to the idea that social life might be governed by “social laws”? (10)

[41] What did Enlightenment thinkers tend to do to beliefs in traditional authority? Why? (10) 

The Conservative Reaction to The Enlightenment.

[42] How was counter-Enlightenment ideology an “inversion” of Enlightenment liberalism? (11)

[43] Who professed the most extreme form of opposition to Enlightenment ideas? (2 people) (11)

[44] What did these two counter-Enlightenment thinkers “yearn for”? (11)

[45] What was their reasoning? (hint: God) (11)

[46] Know the ten (10) major propositions that emerged from the conservative reaction to The Enlightenment as a basis for French sociology. (11-12)


De Tocqueville.

[47] Why is De Tocqueville included in this book? (13)

[48] What are the three (3) interrelated issues that lie at the heart of Tocqueville’s theory? (13)

[49] How did Tocqueville view democracy and socialism? (13)

[50] How did Tocqueville view the relationship between freedom, equality, and central government? (13)

Claude Henry Saint-Simon.

[51] How was Saint-Simon both a conservative as well as a radical theorist? (14)

Auguste Comte.

[52] Why do some refer to Comte as the “founder” of sociology? (14)

[53] Why did Comte develop his “posititivism”? (it was a reaction to?)

[54] How was Comte’s view opposed to the Catholic conservatives? (15)

[55] To Comte, what was “social physics”? (15)

[56] Be familiar with Comte’s “evolutionary theory” and its LAW OF THREE STAGES. (15)

[57] To Comte, what caused social disorder? And what did he suggest could alleviate social disorganization?

[58] How did the “individual” play a part in Comte’s theory? (16)

[59] Why was Comte concerned with the relationship between the “parts.”

[60] Be familiar with Comte’s research methods. (16)

[61] T or F? Comte was on the forefront of the development of POSIVITISTIC SOCIOLOGY.

[62] What did Comte’s positivism emphasize?

[63] What would these “laws” denote?

[64] What would these “laws” specify?


[65] Was Durkheim more “in-line” or “out-of-line” with the ideas of The Enlightenment? (16)

[66] How did Durkheim legitimize sociology in France? (16-17)


Social Facts.

[67] What are “social facts” and why did Durkheim feel they were important? (17)

[68] Why did Durkheim study suicide? (17)

[69] What were the two types of “social facts”? (17) (examples?)

[70] In Durkheim’s view, what held society together? (17)

[71] What is a “collective conscience”? (18)


[72] According to Durkheim, what was perhaps the ultimate form of a non-material social fact? (18)

[73] According to Durkheim, what was the relationship between religion and society? (18)

[74] Was Durkheim more in line with the conservatives or with Marx? (18)

[75] How did Durkheim formalize his thoughts and how did he help spread formal sociological thinking? (18)


[76] How was German sociology “fragmented”?  (19)

The Roots and Nature of the Theories of Karl Marx. (1818-1883)  


[77] To what degree did Hegel dominate German sociology in the 2nd quarter of the 19th Century? (19)

[78] What was the difference between the “Old Hegelians” and the “young Hegelians”? (19)

[79] What two (2) concepts represent the essence of Hegel’s philosophy? How? (19)

[80] How did Hegel view the philosophy of IDEALISM? (19)

[81] What was Hegel’s “evolutionary theory” of the world? (20)

[82] What does Hegel REDUCE individuals to?


[83] How was Feuerbach a “bridge” between Hegel and Marx? (20)


Marx, Hegel, and Feuerbach.

[84] How was Marx both critical of and influenced by Hegel and Feuerbach? (20-21)

[85] What does it mean that Hegel “stood the world on its head”? (21)

[86] How did Marx applaud Feuerbach? (21)

[87] How did Marx’s PRAXIS make him different from Feuerbach?

Political Economy.

[88] How was Marx influenced by Smith and Ricardo? (21)

[89] What did this “influence” Marx to develop? (21)

[90] What was the gist of Marx’s concept of SURPLUS VALUE?

[91] Why was Marx critical of the political economists of his day? (22)

Marx and Sociology.

[92] Did Marx consider himself a sociologist? Why/ why not? (22)

[93] For the majority of sociology’s existence, how did the discipline think of Marx? (22)

[94] What was the basic reason sociology rejected Marx? (22)

[95] What were some of the reasons sociologists rejected Marx? (22)

[96] How did Marx’s interest in revolution compare to the conservative view of sociology? (23)

[97] How did Marx’s theory stand in contrast to Kantian “science”? (hint: scientific model) (23)

Marx’s Theory.

[98] What did Marx mean that people were “productive”? Why was this important to his theory?

[99] Throughout history, how had “production” become subverted? (23)

[100] Why did Marx view people as having become “alienated”?

[101] Was Marx more of a utopian sociologist or a pragmatic sociologist? (hint: praxis) (23)

[102] What did Marx think would lead to the collapse of capitalism? (24)

[103] To Marx, what was “socialism”? (24)



Weber & Marx

[105] How was Weber’s work “a long intense debate with the ghost of Marx”? (or the Marxists) (24)

[106] Then again, how did Weber’s work “round out” Marx? (24)

[107] How did Weber view the Marxists of his day? (not necessarily Marx himself) (24)

[108] What rankled Weber about “economic determinism”? (24)

[109] How did Weber “turn Marx on his head”? (24)

[110] How did religion affect Weber’s view of the social world? (24-25)

[112] What was “the spirit of capitalism”? (25)

[113] How did Weber extend Marx’s view of “stratification”? (25) (Hint: status & power)

[114] What was a “third view” of the influence of Marx on Weber’s works? (25)

Other Influences on Weber.

[115] How did Immanuel Kant influence Weber? (25)

[116] What impact did Nietzsche have on Weber’s work? (25)  (hint: the hero)

[117] How did German sociology grow from “different philosophical roots”? (25)

[118] How was the Kantian perspective more static than Marx’s ? (25) (hint: dialectic)

Weber’s Theory.

[119] What word sums up Weberian sociology? (26)

[120] What is FORMAL RATIONALITY? (26)

[121] How do bureaucracies fit into Weber’s view? (26)

[122] What was “the classical example of rationalization”? (26)

[123] Why were speed and efficiency important to rational thinking? (26)

[124] What were Weber’s three (3) types of “authority”? (examples?) (26)

[125] What religious system played a key role in the rise of capitalism in the West? (27)

The Acceptance of Weber’s Theory.

[126] Why did Weber’s theory prove more attractive to later social theorists than Marxian theory? (27)

[127] How did later sociologists (especially Americans) view Marxian theory? (27)

[128] In Weber’s view, was rationalization a greater problem in socialism or in capitalism? (27)

[129] Why were Weber’s political conclusions more acceptable (to sociologists) than Marx’s? (27)

[130] What was another reason for Weber’s “greater acceptability” to sociologists than Marx? (hint: Kant) (bottom 27- top 28)

[131] What was another reason Weber’s view was more acceptable than Marx’s? (hint: focus) (28)

Simmel’s Theory.

[132] Why was Simmel an “atypical sociological theorist”? (28)

[133] What did Simmel view as one of the major tasks of sociology? (28-29)

[134] How were “forms of interaction” Simmel’s conceptual tools? (29)

[135] How did this affect SYMBOLIC INTERACTIONISM? (29)

[136] What made Simmel “accessible” to early American social theorists? (29)

[137] What made Simmel’s work more significant to American sociological theory than Marx or Weber? (29)

[138] How did Simmel view the relationship between the individual and the larger culture? (29) (hint: expand)


[139] EXPAND = decrease focus on individuality (example = modern non-human phone prompts)

Political Economy, Ameliorism, & Social Evolution.

[140] How did the Brits view “the market”? (As opposed to Marx) (31)

[141] What “facts” interested the British sociologists? (31)

[142] What was the British sociological “method”? (bottom 31)

[143] What was the “objective” of British “fact-finders”? (32)

[144] How come British sociologists couldn’t understand the concept of “structural victimization”? (32)


[145] What is Ameliorism? (32)

[146] What did British sociologists want to do to “cure” social problems? (32)

[147] How did the Brits “blame the victims” (32)

[148] What was lacking in British sociological theory? (32)

Social Evolution.

[149] What influenced the British sociologists to become interested in SOCIAL EVOLUTION? (32-33)

Herbert Spencer (1820-1903)

Spencer & Comte.

[150] What were some important differences between Spencer & Comte? (33)

[151] Why could Spencer be considered a SOCIAL DARWINIST? (33)

[152] How did Spencer’s view society as an ORGANISM? (33-34)

Evolutionary Theory.

[153] What are the two major evolutionary perspectives in Spencer’s work? (34)

The Reaction against Spencer in Britain.


[154] Who was THE major Italian sociologist. Why? (35-36) 


[155] What was happening to mainstream sociology and Marxian theory between 1875-1925? (36)

[156] What was “orthodox Marxism” and what did it conclude? (36)

[157] What was “Hegelian Marxism” and how did it differ from the orthodox Marxists? (37)

[158] What is Lukac’s book Class and Class Consciousness generally acknowledged as?


[159] According to Tiryakian, what are three (3) criteria for judging a sociological work as “Classic”? (37)

[160] Know the section on pages 37-38 on the contemporary relevance of the major classical thinkers from this historical period.

– Durkheim

– Simmel

– Marx

– Weber

– Women thinkers

– Marx

– Spencer

– Pareto

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pete padilla  sociology