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Social Theory
Twenty Introductory Lectures

£36.99

  • Date Published: July 2009
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9780521690881

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About the Authors
  • 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.

    • 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
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    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, University of California, Berkeley, and co-author of Habits of the Heart

    '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, Hebrew University of Jerusalem and Van Leer Jerusalem Institute

    '… this fascinating book will provide a wealth of conceptual resources for a long time.' Sociologica

    'Hans Joas and Wolfgang Knöbl's Social Theory: Twenty Introductory Lectures is a remarkable book. There is nothing that I know that comes anywhere near to it in the contemporary landscape of social theory. [It] is, in addition to other things, an intellectually heavyweight textbook for graduate students and professors, providing a summation of, and critical commentary on, virtually all the major and minor currents in social theory since the middle of the twentieth century.' Rob Stones, Journal of Classical Sociology

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    Product details

    • Date Published: July 2009
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9780521690881
    • length: 618 pages
    • dimensions: 221 x 151 x 28 mm
    • weight: 0.96kg
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    Introduction
    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
    5. Neo-utilitarianism
    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)
    19. Neopragmatism
    20. How things stand
    Bibliography.

  • 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
  • Authors

    Hans Joas, Universitat Erfurt, Germany
    Hans Joas is the Max Weber Professor and Director of the Max Weber Center for Advanced Cultural and Social Studies at the University of Erfurt. He is also Professor of Sociology and a member of the Committee on Social Thought at the University of Chicago.

    Wolfgang Knöbl, Georg-August-Universität, Göttingen, Germany
    Wolfgang Knöbl is Professor of Sociology at the University of Göttingen.

    Translator

    Alex Skinner

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