Founders, classics, and canons have been vitally important in helping to frame sociology's identity. Within the academy today, a number of positions feminist, postmodernist, postcolonial question the status of "tradition."In Founders, Classics, Canons, Peter Baehr defends the continuing importance of sociology's classics and traditions in a university education. Baehr offers arguments against interpreting, defending, and attacking sociology's great texts and authors in terms of founders and canons. He demonstrates why, in logical and historical terms, discourses and traditions cannot actually be "founded" and why the term "founder" has little explanatory content. Equally, he takes issue with the notion of "canon" and argues that the analogy between the theological canon and sociological classic texts, though seductive, is mistaken.Although he questions the uses to which the concepts of founder, classic, and canon have been put, Baehr is not dismissive. On the contrary, he seeks to understand the value and meaning these concepts have for the people who employ them in the cultural battle to affirm or attack the liberal university tradition.

chapter 1|4 pages


chapter 2|36 pages

Founders of Discourse

chapter 3|38 pages

Founders of Institutions

chapter 5|40 pages

Classicality: Criteria and Reception

chapter 6|32 pages


chapter 7|2 pages

A Concluding Look at the Three Concepts