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Prophecy and Progress : Sociological Perspectives on the Past, Present, and Future of Industrial Societies

Kumar, Krishan (1977) Prophecy and Progress : Sociological Perspectives on the Past, Present, and Future of Industrial Societies. Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) thesis, University of Kent. (doi:10.22024/UniKent/01.02.94469) (KAR id:94469)


As part of a wider intellectual movement of the 1960s and 1970s commonly referred to as futurology, some social theorists in the West announced the coming of 'post-industrial society'. Prominent among these was Daniel Bell, whose writings were the immediate stimulus to this study. As a necessary step in assessing its validity, the concept of a post-industrial society forces us to re-examine the supposed nature of industrial society. I therefore go back to the origins of the idea of an industrial society, and look in particular at the way in which the nineteenth century sociologists conceived the new social order of their times. This conception is set against the actual history of the period, to discover how far the later suggestion of a 'post-industrial' break may be based on a misconception as to the form, timing, and speed of social change in this period.

With this examination of the 'image and reality' of the sociological account of classic industrialism, I go on to criticize the idea of the post-industrial society, and especially Bell's version of it. This leads to the speculations of the final two chapters, where I consider possible alternative futures for the industrial societies, based in part on the recovery of pre-industrial forms.

Since the ideas of progress and industrialism have been fused from the very beginning, throughout I have traced the fortunes of the idea of progress, up to and including its embodiment in the post-industrial idea.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctor of Philosophy (PhD))
DOI/Identification number: 10.22024/UniKent/01.02.94469
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Subjects: H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
Divisions: Divisions > Division for the Study of Law, Society and Social Justice > School of Social Policy, Sociology and Social Research
SWORD Depositor: SWORD Copy
Depositing User: SWORD Copy
Date Deposited: 13 Jul 2023 11:59 UTC
Last Modified: 14 Jul 2023 13:53 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)

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