The best books for social sciences (microhistorical sociology, social theory, sociology of development)

Why am I passionate about this?

After finishing my secondary education in Athens I got a degree in business administration at the University of Genova. The idea was to return to Greece to work in my father’s business. But I soon realized that I was neither interested in business theory nor going back to Greece to work in my father's organization. I decided to continue my studies in England focusing on the social sciences – first at Leicester University and then at the London School of Economics. After retiring I continued to write books and articles in Greek, English, and French. I have passion for reading and writing. It helps me psychologically as well to survive in a postmodern chaotic world.


I wrote...

Post-Marxist Alternatives: The Construction of Social Orders

By Nicos P. Mouzelis,

Book cover of Post-Marxist Alternatives: The Construction of Social Orders

What is my book about?

Mouzelis puts forward a post-Marxist conceptual framework which overcomes economic reductionism while retaining some distinctive features of the Marxist paradigm which are seen to be indispensable for an examination of how whole social orders are constituted, maintained, and transformed.

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The books I picked & why

Book cover of The Sources of Social Power: Volume 1, A History of Power from the Beginning to AD 1760

Nicos P. Mouzelis Why did I love this book?

Professor Mann is the best macrohistorical social theorist I know.

The book is a clearly written analysis of the development of social formations from primitive societies, to the more developed societies in many parts of the world. As it combines a sophisticated conceptual homework with extensive empirical research the book will help the reader to grasp from where we are coming and where we are going.

I personally recommend the book. It is extremely valuable.

By Michael Mann,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Sources of Social Power as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Distinguishing four sources of power in human societies - ideological, economic, military and political - The Sources of Social Power traces their interrelations throughout human history. In this first volume, Michael Mann examines interrelations between these elements from neolithic times, through ancient Near Eastern civilizations, the classical Mediterranean age and medieval Europe, up to just before the Industrial Revolution in England. It offers explanations of the emergence of the state and social stratification; of city-states, militaristic empires and the persistent interaction between them; of the world salvation religions; and of the particular dynamism of medieval and early modern Europe. It…


Book cover of New Rules of Sociological Method

Nicos P. Mouzelis Why did I love this book?

I know Antony Giddens from the time we were young lecturers at the University of Leicester.

He is one of the well known living sociologists globally. In this text he shows the importance or interpretative sociology for understanding social reality. I personally recommend it to those who want to know how our social world is constructed.

By Anthony Giddens,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked New Rules of Sociological Method as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This is a new and revised edition of a book which has established itself as a basic text in social theory. The first section of the work provides a concise critical analysis of some leading schools of thought in social philosophy, giving particular attention to phenomenology, ethnomethodology, and Wittgensteinian thought. Giddens concentrates primarily upon the implications of these various perspectives for an account of human action and its intelligibility. An 'action approach' on its own, however, will not do; in human social life, action and structure presuppose one another. The author therefore moves on to provide a series of concepts…


Book cover of Theories of Underdevelopment

Nicos P. Mouzelis Why did I love this book?

Roxborough’s work helped me to understand better the structure and development of peripheral and semiperipheral societies.

It was particularly useful to me as a part of my work has to do with the study Latin American and Balkan Societies. I personally recommend the book very strongly. It was an excellent guide for those interested in the sociology of development and underdevelopment.

By Ian Roxborough,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Theories of Underdevelopment as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Focusing on the effects of imperialism on class structures in Third World societies, Roxborough provides a historical explanation of the similarities and differences between these societies.


Book cover of Class, Citizenship, & Social Development

Nicos P. Mouzelis Why did I love this book?

Marshall provides a very interesting analysis of the development of human rights.

He identifies three developmental stages: First the rights referring to property, freedom of speech, and freedom to religious beliefs and practices. Second the rights to vote and be elected in parliament and third the development of social rights (decent education, health care, and social welfare for old age). His analysis is focused in England.

But as a general overview is very useful for the study of citizenship.

By T. H. Marshall,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Class, Citizenship, & Social Development as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Reprint of the 1964 edition published by Doubleday under title "Sociology at the Crossroads". Contents: Introduction by Seymour Martin Lipset; Preface; Part One: Sociology Today and Tomorrow [Sociology at the Crossroads; Sociology: The Road Ahead; International Comprehension in and through Social Science]; Part Two: Social Class [Citizenship and Social Class; Changes in Social Stratification in the Twentieth Century; Recent History of Professionalism in Relation to Social Structure and Social Policy; Nature of Class Conflict; Nature and Determinants of Social Status; A Note on 'Status'; Work and Wealth; Property and Possessiveness]; Part Three: Social Welfare [Social Selection in the Welfare State;…


Book cover of Theory and Practice

Nicos P. Mouzelis Why did I love this book?

Habermas is one of the most important living philosophers. In his eighties, he still writes important texts and articles.

I have never met him but I have studied his work and written about it. He has a profound knowledge of social sciences (American, continental, and Anglo-Saxon). He is difficult to read but it is worth trying.

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Who Is a Worthy Mother?: An Intimate History of Adoption

By Rebecca Wellington,

Book cover of Who Is a Worthy Mother?: An Intimate History of Adoption

Rebecca Wellington Author Of Who Is a Worthy Mother?: An Intimate History of Adoption

New book alert!

Why am I passionate about this?

I am adopted. For most of my life, I didn’t identify as adopted. I shoved that away because of the shame I felt about being adopted and not truly fitting into my family. But then two things happened: I had my own biological children, the only two people I know to date to whom I am biologically related, and then shortly after my second daughter was born, my older sister, also an adoptee, died of a drug overdose. These sequential births and death put my life on a new trajectory, and I started writing, out of grief, the history of adoption and motherhood in America. 

Rebecca's book list on straight up, real memoirs on motherhood and adoption

What is my book about?

I grew up thinking that being adopted didn’t matter. I was wrong. This book is my journey uncovering the significance and true history of adoption practices in America. Now, in the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court’s overturning of Roe v. Wade, the renewed debate over women’s reproductive rights places an even greater emphasis on adoption. As a mother, historian, and adoptee, I am uniquely qualified to uncover the policies and practices of adoption.

The history of adoption, reframed through the voices of adoptees like me, and mothers who have been forced to relinquish their babies, blows apart old narratives about adoption, exposing the fallacy that adoption is always good.

In this story, I reckon with the pain and unanswered questions of my own experience and explore broader issues surrounding adoption in the United States, including changing legal policies, sterilization, and compulsory relinquishment programs, forced assimilation of babies of color and Indigenous babies adopted into white families, and other liabilities affecting women, mothers, and children. Now is the moment we must all hear these stories.

Who Is a Worthy Mother?: An Intimate History of Adoption

By Rebecca Wellington,

What is this book about?

Nearly every person in the United States is affected by adoption. Adoption practices are woven into the fabric of American society and reflect how our nation values human beings, particularly mothers. In the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court's overturning of Roe v. Wade, the renewed debate over women's reproductive rights places an even greater emphasis on adoption. As a mother, historian, and adoptee, Rebecca C. Wellington is uniquely qualified to uncover the policies and practices of adoption. Wellington's timely-and deeply researched-account amplifies previously marginalized voices and exposes the social and racial biases embedded in the United States' adoption industry.…


5 book lists we think you will like!

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