Sociological Theories: the Founders


1. Knowledge and understanding of the main authors and trends in classical socology;
2. Ability to identify such theoretical trends in substantive theoretical propositions;
3. Understanding of the bearing of classical sociological theory on the debates on contemporary sociology;
4. Ability to comnicate the basics of those authors and sociological trends in a rigorous and significant way.

General characterization





Responsible teacher

Helena Maria Rocha Serra


Weekly - Available soon

Total - 168

Teaching language



Available soon


Bottomore, T. (1978). “Marxismo e sociologia”. In Bottomore, T. & Nisbet, R. História da análise sociológica. Rio de Janeiro: Zahar, pp. 166-204.
Connell, R.W. (1997). “Why is classical theory classical?”. Am. Jour. of Soc. 102, pp. 1511-1557.
Durkheim, É. (1995). As Regras do método sociológico. Lisboa: Editorial Presença.
Marx, K. & Engels, F. (1995). “A ideologia alemã”. In Cruz, M.B. (org) Teorias sociológicas: Os fundadores e os clássicos. Lisboa: Fundação Calouste Gulbenkian, pp. 11-60.
Shils, E. (1980). “Tradition, ecology, and institution in the history of sociology”. In The calling of sociology and other essays on the pursuit of learning. Chicago: University of Chigago Press, pp. 165-257.
Simmel, G. (2004). Fidelidade e gratidão e outros textos. Lisboa: Relógio d’Água.
Turner, B.S. (1999). “The central themes of sociology: an introduction”. In Classical sociology. London: Sage, pp. 3-29.
Weber, Max (1995). Conceitos fundamentais de sociologia. Lisboa: Presença.

Teaching method

Theoretical/practical lectures based on support readings; analysis and discussion of theoretical texts; project research work. Grading will be based on:
- one test written in class (60% of the final grade)
- one written review of one cientific article indicated be the teaching team (40% of the final grade)
In class teaching.

Evaluation method

- one test written in class(60%), - one written review of one cientific article indicated be the teaching team(40%)

Subject matter

1. Founding themes of sociological knowledge
2. The sociological positivism of Auguste Comte
3. Herbert Spencer’s Organic and Super-organic evolution
4. Democracy in Tocqueville
5. The founding fathers: whom, why and how?

KARL MARX (1818-1883) AND FRIEDRICH ENGELS (1820-1895)
1. The roots of Marxist thought
2. Alienation and dialectical and historical materialism
3. Marxist theory on ideology and social classes
4. The political economy of capitalism
5. Marxist theory: critical readings

ÉMILE DURKHEIM (1858-1917)
1. Societies and social fact
2. The origins of collective consciousness
3. The social division of labour
4. Egoism and anomie

MAX WEBER (1864-1920)
1. Economy and social normativity
2. Social action, domination and legitimacy
3. Burocracy
4. Religious rationalities

GEORG SIMMEL (1858-1918
1. Formal sociology
2. The philosophy of money
3. Modernity and metropolises
4. The stranger


Programs where the course is taught: