The Voice of History within Sociology

Robert Nisbet on Structure, Change, and Autonomy

in Historical Reflections/Réflexions Historiques
Author: Daniel Gordon
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The conservative sociologist Robert Nisbet developed a theory that history is needed to supplement sociology. According to Nisbet, the chiefagents of historical change are the state and war. Sociologists tend to exaggerate the importance of internal or"endogenous" factors when explaining change. The article highlights the relationships between key topics— such as conservatism, medievalism, community, universities, the state, and war—in Nisbet's thought.

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