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Social theory is the theoretical core of the social sciences, clearly distinguishable from political theory and cultural analysis. This book offers a unique overview of the development of social theory from the end of the Second World War in 1945 to the present day. Spanning the literature in English, French and German, it provides an excellent background to the most important social theorists and theories in contemporary sociological thought, with crisp summaries of the main books, arguments and controversies. It also deals with newly emerging schools from rational choice to symbolic interactionism, with new ambitious approaches (Habermas, Luhmann, Giddens, Bourdieu), structuralism and antistructuralism, critical revisions of modernization theory, feminism and neopragmatism. Written by two of the world's leading sociologists and based on their extensive academic teaching, this unrivalled work is ideal both for students in the social sciences and humanities and for anyone interested in contemporary theoretical debates.Read more
- Unique overview of the history of social theory from 1945 to the present, by two of the world's leading sociologists
- Focuses not only on developments in the English language, but also the extensive French and German literature
- Derived from successful course teaching, so suitable for student use as well as a survey for scholars
Reviews & endorsements
"Social Theory does a remarkable job of making a complex and sometimes difficult subject matter into a clear and continuously interesting book. Without claiming a false neutrality Joas and Knöbl combine exposition and criticism in a way that is consistently fair even to positions that are farthest from their own. This should be an indispensable book for at least a generation." - Robert N. Bellah, Professor of Sociology Emeritus, University of California, Berkeley, and coauthor of Habits of the HeartSee more reviews
"Possibly the most comprehensive and critical analysis of the development of Social Theory in the second half of the twentieth century - bringing together European and American developments showing their common roots in the classical problematique and the continual development thereof." - S. N. Eisenstadt, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem and the Van Leer Jerusalem Institute
"...a remarkable book." -Journal of Classical Sociology
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- Date Published: August 2009
- format: Paperback
- isbn: 9780521690881
- length: 618 pages
- dimensions: 221 x 151 x 28 mm
- weight: 0.96kg
- availability: Available
Table of Contents
1. What is theory?
2. The classical attempt at synthesis: Talcott Parsons
3. Parsons on the road to normativist functionalism
4. Parsons and the elaboration of normativist functionalism
6. Interpretive approaches (1): symbolic interactionism
7. Interpretive approaches (2): ethnomethodology
8. Conflict sociology and conflict theory
9. Habermas and critical theory
10. Habermas' 'theory of communicative action'
11. Niklas Luhmann's radicalization of functionalism
12. Anthony Giddens' theory of structuration and the new British sociology of power
13. The renewal of Parsonianism and modernization theory
14. Structuralism and poststructuralism
15. Between structuralism and theory of practice: the cultural sociology of Pierre Bourdieu
16. French anti-structuralists (Cornelius Castoriadis, Alain Touraine and Paul Ricoeur)
17. Feminist social theories
18. A crisis of modernity? New diagnoses (Ulrich Beck, Zygmunt Bauman, Robert Bellah, and the debate between liberals and communitarians)
20. How things stand
Instructors have used or reviewed this title for the following courses
- Advanced Theory
- Classical Social Theory
- Contemporary Theory
- Foundations of clinical social work theory
- French Social Theory
- Fundamentals of Social Theory
- Intro to Social Science Theory
- Law & Sociology
- Mass Com and Societal Institutions
- Modern Social Theory
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