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This book, first published in 1976, discusses four classical paradigms for sociology the positivism of Saint-Simon and Comte, Durkheim, Marx and Weber and four contemporary developments or revisions of them the sociologie active of Dumazedier and his colleagues in France, sociology in Socialist Poland, the work of Dahrendorf and the 'new sociology' of Mills and his successors. Christopher Bryant suggests that no neutral language exists in which to compare the characteristics of these different paradigms, yet highlights those features which are common to all of them. Unique in its approach and analysis of the relationship between sociology and action, this book is of value and interest to students of sociology and theory and professional sociologists.