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April 3, 2009

RSU to Present Discussion of Social Theory Book April 9

Dr. Frank Elwell, Dean of the School of Liberal Arts at Rogers State University, will discuss his recently-published book, "Macrosociology: The Study of Sociocultural Systems," on Thursday, April 9, at the RSU Stratton Taylor Library.

The review, which is free and open to the public, will begin at 3 p.m. in room 207 of the library. The event is part of the RSU Literary Review Series.

"Macrosociology: The Study of Sociocultural Systems," introduces readers to the classical social theory of Karl Marx, Emile Durkheim, Max Weber, and T. Robert Malthus, as well as the modern expressions of these perspectives.

The discussion will focus on one particular contemporary theorist, Robert Nisbet, and his thesis of the State as Leviathan, Elwell said. In his very first book, "The Quest for Community," Nisbet makes known his primary concern about the direction of social development: the expansion of administrative power, particularly government, and the consequent weakening of traditional groups and organizations. It was a concern he expressed over the next four decades. Initially, his primary focus was parallel to Durkheim's: the impact that this weakening of primary group ties had on the normative structure of society, and the consequent lack of integration of individuals into the social order. But over the years he began to focus more upon the impact that this shift had on representative government and individual liberty.

The painting "Common Ground," which RSU Professor Gary Moeller created for the cover of the book will also be on display.

Elwell's areas of academic specialty include social evolution, industrialization, cultural ecology, and social theory. He received a doctoral degree in sociology from the State University of New York at Albany, master's degrees from SUNY-Albany in sociology and SUNY-New Paltz in political science and education, and a bachelor's degree in history and education from Eastern Michigan University. He is the author of several books including "Macrosociology: Four Modern Theorists," "A Commentary on Malthus' 1798 Essay on Population as Social Theory," "The Evolution of the Future," and "Industrializing America: Understanding Contemporary Society through Classical Sociological Analysis."

More information is available by contacting the RSU Stratton Taylor Library at 343-7716.