Sociological theories: classic


This course aims to provide students with:
(1) the basis for an in-depth and metatheoretical knowledge of the main authors, currents and traditions of sociological thought;
(2) an educational environment that facilitates the reflection and debate on the classical theoretical perspectives of sociology.
The students should:
- understand, in a deep metatheoretical perspective, the different currents of classical sociological thought;
- have the capacity to collect, select and interpret relevant information in the areas studied, mobilizing and articulating it in the context of advanced learning;
- demonstrate the ability to discuss relevant issues and topics, engaging in debates developed in the context of advanced learning;
- know how to write texts according to existing conventions in the academy, demonstrating a capacity to articulate ideas and justify theoretically their argumentation;
-be able to communicate orally their ideas and arguments in a clear and comprehensive way.

General characterization





Responsible teacher

Rui Manuel Leitão da Silva Santos


Weekly - Available soon

Total - 224

Teaching language



Available soon


Andersen, H. et al. 2000. Classical and Modern Social Theory. Oxford: Blackwell
Berthelot, J.-M. 2000. Os novos desafios epistemológicos da sociologia. Sociologia, Problemas e Práticas, 33, 111-131.
Collins, R. 2009. Quatro Tradições Sociológicas. Petrópolis: Vozes
Comissão Gulbenkian. 1995. Para Abrir as Ciências Sociais. Mem Martins: Europa-América
Crompton, R. 2008. Forty years of Sociology. Sociology, 42 (6), 1218-1227
Dortier, J. F. 2009. Les Sciences Humaines. Auxerre: Ed. Sciences Humaines
Garcia, J. L., & Martins, H. (orgs.) (2019). Lições de Sociologia Clássica. Lisboa: Edições 70
Lallement, M. 2003/2004. História das Ideias Sociológicas (2 vols.). Petrópolis: Vozes.
McLennan, G. 2011. Story of Sociology. A first companion to social theory. London: Bloomsbury.
Turner, J.H. (ed.). 2006. Handbook of Sociological Theory. NY: Springer.
Wieviorka, M. (ed.). 2007. Les Sciences Sociales en Mutation. Auxerre: Éd. Sciences Humaines

Teaching method

Lecturing approaches are articulated with active constructivist approaches: critical analysis of selected texts; presentation, analysis and discussion of selected theoretical papers through individual and / or group work. Oral presentations of working papers and debate.
Students shall write a working paper and present it to the seminar.

Evaluation method

written essay and its oral presentation and debate, as well as class attendance and participation.(100%)

Subject matter

1. The philosophical background of sociological thought and the birth of the social sciences
2. Relevant precursors: Saint Simon, Spencer, Quételet, Pareto, Comte
3. The founders of great reference: Durkheim, Karl Marx and Max Weber
4. The institutionalization of sociology on both sides of the Atlantic
5. The differentiation of sociology: sociological traditions up to the mid-twentieth century
6. Conclusion: the legacy of classical authors


Programs where the course is taught: