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1. Comparing Societies around the World

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Chapter Summary

The rise of modern sociology is associated with the 19th century explosion of empirically based knowledge about societies around the world. Four historical break points mark comparing societies in sociology. The first is the classical period, beginning in the second half of the 19th century with systematic, scientifically inspired comparisons that covered great civilizations through the lenses of archeology as well as discoveries of hundreds of small, isolated societies. The second period followed the end of the First World War in 1918-20. The third came after the Second World War in 1945. Finally, after the end of the Cold War in 1989-90, sociology entered the current period of a global sociology, freed of the controlling influences of nationalism as well as the contending, secular political ideologies of socialism, capitalism, fascism, and communism. Complex networks of collaborating sociologists and social scientists are engaged in comparing societies around the world.

Keywords: communism; fascism; isolated societies; modern sociology



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