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

Ritzer CLST 6th (cover)

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

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

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

(see page 1-2)


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

Theories of great scope & ambition created DURING sociology’s classic age in European roots.

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

(1) They played a central role during the early developmental years (2) they are still relevant today)

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

Important to understand HISTORICAL SOURCES (theories) also their later impact on soc.

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

They don’t belong to the period, the CLASSICAL AGE. (the period or the epoch are also correct answers)

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

(1) wide range of application  (2) they dealt with a CENTRALLY IMPORTANT social issues

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

The “BIG IDEAS” in the history of sociology.

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


  1. Martineau

  2. Gilman

  3. Addams

  4. Cooper

  5. Wells-B.

  6. Weber

  7. Potter-Webb

(2) As they are discovered and READ, their influence will GROW.

[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)

They are ALL shaped by their SOCIAL SETTINGS.

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

Theory is DERIVED from setting, but it’s also the SUBJECT MATTER.

Political Revolutions

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

The long series of political revolts ushered in by the French Revolution in 1879.

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

The desire to RESTORE ORDER to society.

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

They sought to find NEW BASES of ORDER in society.

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)

(1) a transformation from a rural lifestyle to an INDUSTRIAL lifestyle.

(2) people became mainly city-dwellers.

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

People moved to urban areas (cities)

[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)

Most were NOT in favor of SOCIALISM. (they feared it)

[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)

Whenever/wherever women were subordinated, women recognized it and protested

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

(1) 1630’s              (2) 1780’s -1790’s               (3) Early 20th-Century

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

 It was pushed to the periphery of the profession

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

They basically made CONSERVATIVE responses to the feminist arguments


[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)

Overcrowding / pollution / noise / traffic / etc.

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

It could use CHICAGO as a sociology laboratory

Religious Change.

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

They brought to sociology the same OBJECTIVES as they had in their religious lives.

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

 Morality played a key role.

The Growth of Science.

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

(science was permeating society) and science was acquiring enormous prestige)


 The Enlightenment.

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

The Enlightenment was a period of remarkable intellectual development.

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

A number of long-standing IDEAS & BELIEFS were being overthrown or replaced.

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

Montesguieu & Rousseau

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

Early sociological theory was a REACTION to the Enlightenment.

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

17th-Century philosophy & SCIENCE

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

GRAND – GENERAL – ABSTRACT – ideas that made RATIONAL sense.

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

They wanted to combine EMPIRICAL SCIENCE & REASON

[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)

If the physical world was dominated by NATURAL LAWS, perhaps SOCIAL LIFE was governed by some sort of natural laws too

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

With an emphasis on REASON, Enlightenment philosophers  were inclined to reject TRADITIONAL AUTHORITY.

The Conservative Reaction to The Enlightenment.

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

We can detect a STRONG ANTI-MODERNIST sentiment

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

Lewis de Bonald  &  Joseph de Maistre

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

A return to the peace and harmony of the Middle-Ages.

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

God was the source of society.

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

(see the info on these pages)


De Tocqueville.

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

His work is a pure product of the Enlightenment.

[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)

He was critical of both of them.

[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)

(1) CONSERVATIVE = preserve social order (not back to Middle-Ages)

(2) Posited a control of CENTRAL GOVERNMENT & ECONOMY.

Auguste Comte.

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

He is given credit for coining the term “sociology.”

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

To combat the negative & destructive philosophy of THE ENLIGHTMENT.

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

(1) He realized that a return to the MIDDLE-AGES was unlikely.

(2) He favored the development of sophisticated theory.

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


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

(1) THEOLOGICAL = a focus on SUPERNATURAL explanations

(2) META-PHYSICAL = a focus on NATURE as explanations

(3) POSITIVISTIC = a focus on SCIENTIFIC explanations

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


(2) POSITIVISM would take control and alleviate the SOCIAL DISORDER.

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

NOT the focus (this is important that SOC was separated from PSYCH.)

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

He felt that parts should agree on “things” or have SOCIAL CONSENSUS.

[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?

Test Laws

[63] What would these “laws” denote?

The general and generic properties of the social universe. . .

[64] What would these “laws” specify?

“natural relations”


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

IN LINE with the Enlightenment: as “inheritor” of Enlightenment tradition

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

Durkheim was the dominant force in SOC and in SOC THEORY.


Social Facts.

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

Social facts were EXTERNAL to the INDIVIDUAL and they were COERCIVE to individuals

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

He wanted to LINK individual behavior to SOCIAL CAUSES = make SOC a stand-alone discipline

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

Material (bureaucracy & law) & NON-material (culture)

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


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

Strongly-held COMMON MORALITY.


[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)

Religion was a self “expression” in the form of non-material social facts

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

Durkheim was more in line with the conservatives. Durkheim urged REFORM – NOT revolution.

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

He set up/founded a sociological JOURNAL


[76] How was German sociology “fragmented”?  (19)
It began with a split between MARX and the more mainstream WEBER & SIMMEL


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)

Largely through his “philosophy” framework

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

The OLD Hegelians still subscribed to HEGEL.

The NEW Hegelians were critical of some of Hegel’s ideas.

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



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

It emphasized MIND – mental processes and IDEA PRODUCTS.

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

FIRST: humans only “sense” their world.

THEN: they then acquire self-knowledge & self-understanding

[82] What does Hegel REDUCE individuals to?

Actors are reduced to little more than VESSELS swept along. . . .



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

Feuerbach was critical of HEGEL and emphasized the MATERIAL WORLD.


Marx, Hegel, and Feuerbach.

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

Marx = critical of Hegel’s “idealism.”  Marx = felt Hegel was concerned with the WRONG issues in society.

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

Hegel focused on CONSCIOUSNESS & NOT the real, material world.

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

Feuerbach was critical of Hegel on emphasizing only the “mind.”

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

Marx emphasized PRAXIS, or PRACTICAL ACTIVITY (mainly revolutionary activity)

Political Economy.

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

Marx lauded (high praise, acclaim, or glorification) their basic premise that LABOR was the source of all WEALTH.

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


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

Pay workers less than the products they produce.

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

(1) to Marx, capitalists’ “evils” were NOT inevitable (they could be changed by revolution)

(2) other economists failed to see “inherent” conflict between LABOR and CAPITAL.

Marx and Sociology.

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

He wanted radical change (economist).

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

HOSTILE toward his ideas and basically IGNORED his theory.

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

Because of his RADICAL IDEAS & his RADICAL FORECASTS (future = revolution).

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

(See paragraph 4 on page 22)

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

Marx wasn’t “put off” by social disorder.

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

Cause à Effect = science

Marx believed in the DIALECTICT.

Marx’s Theory.

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

People PRODUCED things in order to survive. PRODUCTION made them SOCIAL BEINGS.

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

(1) Through the MEAN CONDITIONS of primitive society.

(2) because of STRUCTURAL ARRANGEMENTS (artificial social arrangements)

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

He saw a breakdown of NATURAL INTER-CONNECTEDNESS among people.

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

PRAGMATIC SOCIOLOGIST (he helped revolutions get started- instead of just talking about social change.

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

The CONTRADICTIONS & CONFLICTS inherent with capitalism.

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

When people were no longer ALIENATED.



Early German sociology was in opposition to Marx.

Weber & Marx

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

In many ways, Marxian theory did play a NEGATIVE role in the development of Weberian theory.

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

Weber’s work was still working within a Marian tradition.

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

As ECONOMIC DETERMINISTS (offering single-cause theories of social life).

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

They put too much emphasis on MATERIALISM. He felt they were flawed by believing that MATERIALISM caused or determined IDEOLOGY.

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

Ideas did NOT equal simple reflections of MONEY. Ideas are AUTONOMOUS FORCES.

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

Especially concerned with the impact of religious IDEAS on the economy.

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

A religious idea that MAKING MONEY could save your soul.

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

Weber extended Marx’s ideas in a more robust manner. (Introduced the concepts of STATUS & POWER to Marx’s concepts of CLASS).

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

Marx was merely another INFLUENCE on Marx. Just another influence: no major deal.

Other Influences on Weber.

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

For the need to UNDERSATND = he claimed we could never know anything DIRECTLY.

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

The need for INDIVIDUALS to stand up to the impact of bureaucracies.

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

MARX = Hegel roots.         KANT = buzzing chaos = thought processes.

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

Kant = limited forms of knowing (Cause and Effect).       Marx = dynamic change (dialectics)

Weber’s Theory.

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


[120] What is FORMAL RATIONALITY? (26)

Concern for the MEANS-ENDS.

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

As a classic example of RATIONALITY. (in the historical process)

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


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

They both measured how RATIONAL an organization was.

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

(1) TRADITIONAL = see below

(2) CHARISMATIC = see below 

(3) RATIONAL-LEGAL = see below 

[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)

It was MORE accepted politically. Weber proposed NO radical solutions.

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

As an attack on their very society. (conservative)

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

In socialism.

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

They had an ACADEMIC TONE – made them more acceptable to later sociology.

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

Cause and Effect model. (Weber operated in a more PHILOSOPHICAL tradition.

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

Because Weber wasn’t so PREOCCUPIED with the ECONOMY.

Simmel’s Theory.

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

Simmel had a direct and almost immediate PROFOUND effect on the development of AMERICAN SOCIOLOGY.

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

UNDERSTANDING INTERACTION. (not only a macro focus)

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

He felt that he could isolate a LIMITED # OF FORMS.

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

A LIMITED number of FORMS = a manageable theory of INTERACTION.

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

His STYLE. His work focused on INTERACTION and NOT politics. 

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

His SHORT clever ESSAYS.

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

Growing INSIGNIFICANCE of the INDIVIDUAL. The emerging MACRO STRUCTURES tend to dominate them.


[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)

As a positive force, a source of ORDER. HARMONY, INTEGRATION.

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

“Facts” needed to understand the way the “system” worked (then produce wise advice to govt.)

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


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

The accumulation of “pure” facts without THEORY or PHILOSOPHY.

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

They were too closely focused upon the distribution of individual circumstances- stats guys had a problem with social structure.



[145] What is Ameliorism? (32)

The desire to solve social problems by REFORMING INDIVIDUALS.

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

They attempted to “cure” people as individuals.

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

They believed that the source of problem lies within the individual.

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

No theory of SOCIAL STRUCTURE. (which in turn influence individual social problems).

Social Evolution.

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

The work of Aguste Comte.

Herbert Spencer (1820-1903)

 Spencer & Comte.

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

SPENCER = lassiez-faire / govt. NOT a protection force.

SPENCER = individual

COMTE = large structure(s)

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

“survival of the fittest”

SPENCER = not interested in social reform

Spencer wanted social life to EVOLVE free of external control.

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

Parts and function = ORGANICISM

Evolutionary Theory.

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

SIZE + evolution   

TYPES = evolution (military à industrial)

The Reaction against Spencer in Britain.


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

(1) Pareto

(2) refute Marx

(3) society parts = equilibrium



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

Theory opposes Marx

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


“Orthodox Marxism” = this view was that Marx’s “scientific theory” had uncovered the economic laws that ruled the capitalist world. Such laws pointed to the INEVITABLE collapse of the capitalist system.

[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?

The “Charter documentation” of HEGELIAN MARXISM.



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

(1) “must reading” for beginners

(2) useful to contemporary theorists & research

(3)sufficient RICHNESS & DEPTH (re-read later)

[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