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Sept. 24, 2003

CONTACT: Dr. Tim Delaney, 312-3410


    OSWEGO -- "Classic Social Theory: Investigation and Application" is unlike most social theory books, according to its author, Dr. Tim Delaney, assistant professor of sociology at SUNY Oswego.

    Delaney, who joined the SUNY Oswego faculty this fall, said that most books he has read failed to tie the ideas of the great thinkers to what makes them relevant today.

    "I've been teaching theory for about six or seven years and loved it as a student," Delaney said. "I've been thinking that there must be a better way to present this material."

    The concept of tying in contemporary relevance for classic thinkers -- in other words, why readers should care about centuries-old ideas -- was something that interested Prentice Hall in the book, he said.

    In "Classic Social Theory," Delaney starts with Enlightenment-era social, political and philosophical antecedents and 19th century philosopher Auguste Comte, who coined the term "sociology," and profiles prominent figures up through the recent past.

    For each person, he includes biographies, intellectual influences, concepts and contributions and "what makes him or her relevant to today's world," Delaney said.

    "Why do we still talk about Karl Marx when we've disproven most of his theories? It's because there is still relevance to his theories," Delaney explained. He noted such concepts as alienation and class-consciousness that remain relevant social concerns today.
   Another example Delaney cited in his book is Herbert Spencer, who coined the term "survival of the fittest" which most people mistakenly credit to Charles Darwin. The concept showed up in socialist, communist and capitalist theories and is today used to justify the highly competitive natures of business and society, he added.

    The book includes a chapter dedicated to profiling the contribution of women to social thinking. "Of all the classic social theory books I've seen, there's only one other that has a chapter on women," he noted.

    A companion to this text, "Contemporary Social Theory," is due out next year. Delaney's previous books include "Community, Sports and Leisure" and the co-authored "Society and Evolution."

    "Contemporary Social Theory" is priced at $61.33 from Prentice Hall.

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Dr. Tim Delaney, an author and member of the sociology department

SHOWING RELEVANCE -- Dr. Timothy Delaney, assistant professor of sociology at SUNY Oswego, recently published "Classical Social Theory," a book that explains how the ideas of centuries of great thinkers continue to influence thought patterns and society today. Delaney joined the SUNY Oswego faculty this fall.

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