What are the forces that led to the development of social theory?

The foundations of social theory are the result of a confluence of social, historical, economic, political, and scientific developments. The social forces that gave rise to these developments in turn arose from an increasingly complex political life as states began to expand their territorial power and the conduct of politics became more centralized.

The rise and fall of empires and the development of nation-states also led to the increased circulation of people and ideas across geographic boundaries. This movement contributed in no small way to new ways of thinking about society and the state.

The first people to develop social theory were philosophers, particularly Plato and Aristotle.

They believed that society existed as a result of human nature, and because humans are imperfect they needed an organization that kept them in check. Many sociologists later focused on the role that culture plays in society in order to understand the development of social norms. Others believed that institutions such as religion and law help explain how societies function over time.

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