This book reconstructs and brings together the work of a number of social and political theorists in order to gain new insight on the emergence and character of modern Western society. It examines the intersection point of social theory and historical sociology in a new theoretical approach called "reflexive historical sociology".
There is analysis of the works of Max Weber, Michel Foucault, Norbert Elias, Eric Voegelin and a number of others. The book is divided into three parts. Part 1 examines the works of Eric Voegelin, Norbert Elias, Lewis Mumford and Franz Borkenau. Part 2 is concerned with the major conceptual tools such as experience, liminality, process, symbolisation, figuration, order, dramatisation and reflexivity, and themes such as the history of forms of thought, subjectivity, knowledge and closed space and regulated time. Finally the most important insights of the thinkers discussed, concerning the historical processes that led to modernity, are examined.