Harriet Martineau (1802–1876)

  • Vineeta Sinha


Harriet Martineau was a pioneering social thinker, theorist and methodologist in Victorian England. She was an important figure whose efforts were instrumental in producing a discourse about understanding society through science, in an era long before Sociology was systematized and formalized. She carefully demarcated the subject matter of Sociology, proposed a method of inquiry for scrutinizing society and offered a critique of domination and inequalities. Her efforts were empirical and analytical rather than speculative. Martineau thought systematically and methodically about society and proposed social reforms, moving away from theological and religious explanations of sociological phenomena. Sociology for Martineau was neither philosophical speculation nor abstract theorizing but had to have a practical, empirical impact. That is, to enhance knowledge and understanding, produce the necessary social reforms for the greater good.


Positivism Freedom and happiness Liberty Theory and practice of society Androcentrism 


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Vineeta Sinha
    • 1
  1. 1.SociologyNational University of SingaporeSingaporeSingapore

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