Is there a future for sociology? To many, sociology seems to have lost its way. Born of the ideas of Auguste Comte in the nineteenth century, sociology established itself as 'the science of modernity', linked to a progressive view of history. Yet today the idea of progress has more or less collapsed; with its demise, some say, sociological thought has moved to the margins of contemporary intellectual culture. In this book the author challenges such an interpretation, showing that sociology continues to hold a central position within the social sciences. Looking both to the past of sociology and the diversity of intellectual trends found in the present-day, Giddens explores many aspects of the sociological heritage. Comte, Durkheim, Parsons, Marshall, and Habermas are among the figures covered. Giddens also connects sociological work directly to current political issues and places the discipline of sociology in the context of broad questions of social and political theory. This book will be of interest to undergraduates and professionals in the fields of sociology, anthropology and political science.