In this lucid historical introduction to a major tradition in Western thought, Harry Liebersohn discusses five scholars—Ferdinand Tonnies, Ernst Troeltsch, Max Weber, Georg Simmel, and Georg Lukács—who were responsible for the creation of modern German sociology. This tradition has generally been interpreted as having a tragic, "fatalistic" perspective on modem society; Liebersohn argues that this sense of fate was matched by an underlying utopian hope for an end to fragmentation, rooted for all of his subjects in the Lutheran idea of community.
Harry Liebersohn is Assistant Professor and Director of European studies in the Department of History at the Claremont Graduate School.
"Impressively highlights the sometimes shared visions of tradition, modernity and utopia of (these) five social theorists .... Liebersohn has written a provocative and stimulating study of the context of German social theory at the turn of the century."
—David Frisby, Times Higher Education Supplement
Honorable Mention, Morris D. Forkosch Prize sponsored by the Journal of the History of Ideas.