Classics of sociology

Document Type

Dictionary entry

Source Publication

The Blackwell dictionary of modern social thought

Publication Date


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Last Page



Blackwell Publishers


An oxymoron if ever there was one, this term refers to texts (or authors) that have assumed an exalted position in sociology as vital theoretical contributions to, and as fundamental points of reference for, the discipline as a whole. Classics are texts that are accorded a privileged status, which means that ‘contemporary practitioners of the discipline… believe that they can learn as much about their field through understanding this earlier work as they can from the work of their own contemporaries’ (Alexander, 1989, p. 9). But what is the nature of classical eminence and how are classics best understood? Modern discussion of these questions falls under four related approaches.

Publisher Statement

Copyright ©2003 Blackwell Publishers Ltd.

Additional Information

2nd ed.

ISBN of the source publication: 9780631221647

Recommended Citation

Baehr, P. (2003). Classics of sociology. In W. Outhwaite (Ed.), The Blackwell dictionary of modern social thought (2nd ed.) (pp. 86-87). United States: Blackwell Publishers.

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