Society, State, and Urbanism

Ibn Khaldun's Sociological Thought

By Fuad Baali

Subjects: Urban Sociology
Paperback : 9780887066108, 188 pages, July 1988
Hardcover : 9780887066092, 188 pages, July 1988

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Table of contents


1. The Man and His Background


I. Ibn Khaldun's Life and Character
II. Ibn Khaldun's Work


2. The New Science: Ilm al-Umran


I. Ibn Khaldun's New Science
II. Ibn Khaldun and Comte: Convergencies and Divergencies


3. Society, Culture, and Socialization


I. Society: Sui generis
II. Culture
III. Socialization Process
IV. Social Control


4. Asabiyah (Social Solidarity)

5. The Rise and Decline of the State


Qualities of Rulership
Factors for the Decline of the State
Ibn Khaldun and Other Social Thinkers


6. The Cyclical Pattern: History as a Cycle


Ibn Khaldun and Other Social Thinkers


7. Urbanization and Urbanism as a Mode of Life


I. Urbanization
Requirements for Town Planning
Size and Density
II. Urbanism as a Way of Life
Ibn Khaldun and Other Writers


8. The Khaldunian Typology


I. Ibn Khaldun's Badawa and Hadara
II. Relation to Other Typologies


9. Summary and Conclusion





This book probes the nature, scope, and methods of 'ilm al- 'umran, the new science of human social organization, as it is developed in Ibn Khaldun's 14th-century masterpiece, the Mugaddimah. It explores his ideas and observations on society, culture, socialization, social control, the state, asabiyah (social solidarity), history as a cyclical movement, urbanization, and the typology of badawa (primitive life) and hadara (civilized life or urbanism).

Through a comparative perspective, this study illustrates that Khaldun's ideas about society have conceptually preceded those of Machiavelli, Vico, and Turgot, as well as those of Montesqueau, Comte, Durkheim, Gumplowicz, Spengler, Tonnies, and even Marx. Society, State, and Urbanism demonstrates that Ibn Khaldun's thought is relevant to contemporary sociological theory, and that his very language differs little from that of classical and modern sociologists.

Dr. Fuad Baali is Professor of Sociology at Western Kentucky University in Bowling Green.


Ilm al- 'umran is " independent science. This science has its own peculiar object—that is, human civilization and social organization. The discussion of this topic is something new, extraordinary, and highly useful. Penetrating research has shown the way to it." — Ibn Khaldun