Industrializing America:
Understanding Contemporary Society through Classical Sociological Analysis
By Frank W. Elwell
Praeger Paperback.  1999. ISBN: 0-275-96564-3.
A hardcover edition is avaliable: ISBN: 0-275-96563-5.

"It deserves to be read and used as a textbook in a wide variety of introductory courses in sociology, anthropology and sociocultural theory.  It can also serve as a text for American studies courses since it contains in-depth descriptions of basic trends in American society and culture, shedding new light on the core institutions of government, global corporations, health care bureaucracies, food production, manufacturing and many other features of what is often but erroneously called 'post-industrialism.'  Against the main current of the social sciences, here is a book that returns us to the classical view that societies and cultures can best be understood as entities whose parts fit together to form systems."
--Marvin Harris
Graduate Research Professor
Department of Anthropology
University of Florida


An analysis of any part of the social system must be firmly rooted in a framework that outlines the whole system and the interrelationships of the various parts.  Building on classical sociological theory, this volume proposes an original and comprehensive systems theory of sociocultural stability and change, which combines fundamental ecological relationships with social structures and culture.  Relationships and concepts developed by Marx, Weber, Malthus, Mills, Harris and Durkheim are explained and synthesized into a coherent perspective, which is used to examine multiple phenomena in hyper industrial societies:

The author argues that recent changes in social structures (for example corporations, education, or the family) and culture (our socially created and shared symbolic understanding of our world) are interrelated and rooted in massive changes in population size and industrial growth.  By systematically relating the analysis of these sociocultural phenomena to the whole and to one another this volume presents a framework that can serve to organize and integrate many diverse theories, insights, and much empirical information into a comprehensive worldview.

Contents: Preface; Introduction; Sociocultural Materialism; Sociocultural Evolution; Structures of Authority; Economic Rationalization; The Decline of Commitment; Factual Regularities; The Widening Gyre; The New Ideology; Possibilities; References; Index.

Related sites:
Classical Theorists
In the Classical Tradition

Frank W. Elwell is Professor of Sociology and the founding Dean of Liberal Arts at Rogers State University.  He teaches social problems, sociological theory, medical sociology, and cultural ecology and is the author of The Evolution of the Future (Praeger, 1991),  Industrializing America (Praeger, 1999), A Commentary on Malthus's 1798 Essay as Social Theory (Mellen, 2001), The Classical Tradition: Malthus, Marx, Weber & Durkheim, and Macrosociology: Four Modern Theorists.

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