Reviews of Sociocultural Systems: Principles of Structure and Change

“This beautifully written book is one of those rare gems that one is fortunate to encounter in an increasingly disenchanted world. Every page provokes new thoughts and engages the emotions. Unlike the deconstructionists, Elwell reconstructs social theory by connecting significant issues and social theorists from the past with the needs and passions of the present. Above all, he finds what diverse thinkers held in common as they struggled to make sense of the social worlds. This book is a must read for students, professors, and laypersons alike”

                                                                                      —Stjepan Mestrovic, Professor of Sociology, Texas A&M University and author of Postemotional Society

Sociocultural Systems provides a stimulating introduction to, and challenging overview of, macrosociology, that can be read with equal benefit by everyone from freshmen in Sociology 101 to graduate students in advanced theory courses. Elwell has done an excellent job of blending the development of macrosocial theory from the early classics to the present day with a strong emphasis on the substance and processes of social change throughout human history. Even faculty members who, themselves, have never been introduced to a truly comprehensive and coherent theoretical framework for the discipline (and, sadly, that includes far too many) will benefit from this volume and find it intellectually rewarding. I believe Sociocultural Systems merits serious consideration for the American Sociological Association's annual distinguished book award.”

                                                                                       —Gerhard Lenski, author of Power and Privilege and Human Societies: An Introduction to Macrosociology

“As a historian, I've always had a great deal of respect for the sister discipline of sociology. As a specialist in historiography, i.e., the study of historians and their interpretations of history, Elwell's work in sociological theory, specifically macrosociology, resonates a great deal for me. He insists that macrosociology ‘should not be considered just another specialty within sociology . . . [but rather] the holistic view of a sociologist's subject matter, the overall framework within which the specialities exist.’ I honestly believe I can make the same case for historiography in re history. This book should have value for those in all social science disciplines, not just sociology and history. Economists, for example, could benefit from Elwell's coverage of the origins of capitalism, the best explanation I've ever read, and political scientists from his discussion of the origins of the military-industrial complex. Indeed, this is a valuable work for any intellectually curious read

                                                                                         —Davis Joyce, author of Howard Zinn: A Radical American Vision

“Although the joint systems and evolutionary frameworks sit uneasily together at times, Elwell refreshingly emphasizes what macrosociologists, particularly the 19th century classics of Malthus, Spencer, Marx, Durkheim and Weber, have in common rather than the more usual what divides them. All in all, this treatment of the material, structural and ideal features of societies is a worthy heir of Lenski.”

                                                                                         —Marion Blute, author of Darwinian Sociocultural Evolution: y