History of ISA

Books of the XX Century

One of the major aims of the ISA World Congress of Sociology held in Montreal 1998, was to make a critical assessment of sociological heritage of the twentieth century. In this framework the ISA Congress Programme Committee carried on in 1997 an opinion survey in order to identify ten most influential books for sociologists. ISA members were asked to list five books published in the twentieth century which were most influential in their work as sociologists. 16% of ISA members (455 out of 2785) participated in the survey.

Top 10 books
Ranking Author Book Title % Votes
1 Weber, Max Economy and Society 20.9
2 Mills, Charles Wright The Sociological Imagination 13.0
3 Merton, Robert K. Social Theory and Social Structure 11.4
4 Weber, Max The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism 10.3
5 Berger, P.L. and Luckmann, T. The Social Construction of Reality 9,9
6 Bourdieu, Pierre Distinction: A Social Critique of the Judgment of Taste 9.5
7 Elias, Norbert The Civilizing Process 6.6
8 Habermas, Jürgen The Theory of Communicative Action 6.4
9 Parsons, Talcott The Structure of Social Action 6.2
10 Goffman, Erving The Presentation of Self in Everyday Life 5.5
Most voted books by gender
Gender Ranking Author Book Title % Votes
Female
27,7%
126 votes
1 Weber, Max Economy and Society 12
2 Mills, Charles Wright The Sociological Imagination 12
3 Merton, Robert K. Social Theory and Social Structure 11
4 Weber, Max The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism 8
5 Berger, P.L. and Luckmann, T. The Social Construction of Reality 7
6 Bourdieu, Pierre Distinction: A Social Critique of the Judgment of Taste 6
7 Elias, Norbert The Civilizing Process -
8 Habermas, Jürgen The Theory of Communicative Action 6
9 Parsons, Talcott The Structure of Social Action 6
10 Goffman, Erving The Presentation of Self in Everyday Life 6
 
Male
72,3%
329 votes
1 Weber, Max Economy and Society 24
2 Mills, Charles Wright The Sociological Imagination 14
3 Merton, Robert K. Social Theory and Social Structure 13
4 Weber, Max The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism 12
5 Berger, P.L. and Luckmann, T. The Social Construction of Reality 10
6 Bourdieu, Pierre Distinction: A Social Critique of the Judgment of Taste 9
7 Elias, Norbert The Civilizing Process 8
8 Habermas, Jürgen The Theory of Communicative Action 7
9 Parsons, Talcott The Structure of Social Action 6
10 Goffman, Erving The Presentation of Self in Everyday Life 6
Most voted authors by gender
Gender Ranking Author % Votes
Female
27,7%
126 votes
1 Weber, Max 25
2 Mills, Charles Wright 19
3 Giddens, Anthony 15
4 Goffman, Erving 15
5 Berger, Peter L. 14
6 Bourdieu, Pierre 14
7 Luckmann, Thomas 11
8 Elias, Norbert 10
9 Durkheim, Emile 9
 
Male
72,3%
329 votes
1 Weber, Max 41
2 Parsons, Talcott 17
3 Bourdieu, Pierre 17
4 Mills, Charles Wright 16
5 Habermas, Jürgen 15
6 Merton, Robert K. 15
7 Durkheim, Emile 12
8 Berger, Peter L. 11
9 Giddens, Anthony 10
10 Luckmann, Thomas 10
Most voted books by age groups
Age groups Ranking Author Book Title % Votes
Less than 45
(30%)
136 Votes
1 Weber, Max Economy and Society 18
2 Bourdieu, Pierre Distinction: A Social Critique of the Judgment of Taste 15
3 Mills, Charles Wright The Sociological Imagination 14
4 Elias, Norbert The Civilizing Process 13
5 Habermas, Jürgen The Theory of Communicative Action 10
6 Berger, P.L. & Luckmann, T Social Construction of Reality 10
7 Foucault, Michel Discipline and Punish 7
8 Beck, Ulrich Risk Society 6
9 Braverman, Harry Labour and Monopoly Capital 6
10 Goffman, Erving The Presentation of Self in Everyday Life 6
 
45-55
(44%)
199 Votes
1 Weber, Max Economy and Society 23
2 Weber, Max The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism 13
3 Mills, Charles Wright The Sociological Imagination 12
4 Merton, Robert K. Social Theory and Social Structure 12
5 Berger, P.L. & Luckmann, T Social Construction of Reality 11
6 Bourdieu, Pierre Distinction: A Social Critique of the Judgment of Taste 8
7 Giddens, Anthony The Constitution of Society 6
8 Wallerstein, Immanuel The Modern World-System 6
9 Durkheim, Emile The Elementary Forms of Religious Life 5
10 Habermas, Jürgen The Theory of Communicative Action 5
11 Mead, George Herbert Mind, Self and Society 5
12 Moore, B. The Social Origins of Dictatorship and Democracy 5
13 Parsons, Talcott The Structure of Social Action 5
 
More than 55
(26%)
120 Votes
1 Merton, Robert K. Social Theory and Social Structure 20
2 Weber, Max Economy and Society 20
3 Mills, Charles Wright The Sociological Imagination 13
4 Weber, Max The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism 12
5 Mead, George Herbert Mind, Self and Society 9
6 Parsons, Talcott The Structure of Social Action 9
7 Parsons, Talcott The Social System 8
8 Simmel, Georg: Sociology Sociology 7
9 Bourdieu, Pierre Distinction: A Social Critique of the Judgment of Taste 6
10 Durkheim, Emile The Elementary Forms of Religious Life 6
Most voted authors by age groups
Age groups Ranking Author % Votes
Less than 45
(30%)
136 Votes
1 Weber, Max 31
2 Bourdieu, Pierre 27
3 Mills, Charles Wright 17
4 Berger, Peter L. 15
5 Elias, Norbert 14
6 Giddens, Anthony 14
7 Habermas, Jürgen 13
8 Luckmann, Thomas 13
9 Foucault, Michel 13
10 Parsons, Talcott 13
 
45-55
(44%)
199 Votes
1 Weber, Max 42
2 Mills, Charles Wright 17
3 Habermas, Jürgen 14
4 Giddens, Anthony 13
5 Bourdieu, Pierre 13
6 Berger, Peter L. 12
7 Luckmann, Thomas 12
8 Merton, Robert K. 12
9 Parsons, Talcott 12
10 Durkheim, Emile 11
 
More than 55
(26%)
120 Votes
1 Weber, Max 34
2 Merton, Robert K. 23
3 Parsons, Talcott 20
4 Mills, Charles Wright 18
5 Durkheim, Emile 12
6 Goffman, Erving 12
7 Mead, George Herbert 10
8 Simmel, Georg 9
9 Bourdieu, Pierre 8
10 Berger, Peter L. 8

List of all voted books

Ranking order

Languages in which respondents studied Sociology*

Languages %
English 65.3
German 18.7
French 18.3
Spanish 7.4
Dutch 5.1
Italian 4.7
Portuguese 3.6
Swedish 2.9
Russian 2.6
Japanese 2.4

*Some people studied in more than one language

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