Thought and Change

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Thought and Change (1964) is early work by Ernest Gellner. In this book Gellner outlines his views on what is "modernity". He looks at the processes of social change and historical transformation and perhaps most forcefully the power nationalism. Maleŝević and Haugaard argue that Gellner's method, the socio-historical method, by which as he sets out a powerful sociology of specific philosophical doctrines and ideologies, from utilitarianism and Kantianism to nationalism. (The chapter specifically dealing with nationalism was later expanded to form the basis of Gellner's most famous work (1983) Nations and Nationalism). They note that rather than looking at philosophies' internal coherence Gellner places them in their historical context. By doing this he explains their origins and their likely influence. Modernity for Gellner is "unique, unprecedented and exceptional" and these characteristics are sustained by the growth of economies and increases in cultural uniformity.[1]

See also[edit]


  • (1965) Thought and Change, London: Weidenfeld and Nicolson; Chicago: University of Chicago Press (with the imprint 1964). pp. viii + 224.


  1. ^ Maleŝević, Siniŝa, and Mark Haugaard (ed.), 2007, Ernest Gellner and Contemporary Social Thought, Cambridge : Cambridge University Press 2007