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Modern and Postmodern Social Theorizing
Bridging the Divide


  • Date Published: November 2008
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9780521731539

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About the Authors
  • There is a growing conflict between modern and postmodern social theorists. The latter reject modern approaches as economistic, essentialist and often leading to authoritarian policies. Modernists criticize postmodern approaches for their rejection of holistic conceptual frameworks which facilitate an overall picture of how social wholes (organizations, communities, nation-states, etc.) are constituted, reproduced and transformed. They believe the rejection of holistic methodologies leads to social myopia - a refusal to explore critically the type of broad problems that classical sociology deals with. This book attempts to bridge the divide between these two conflicting perspectives and proposes a novel holistic framework which is neither reductionist/economistic nor essentialist. Modern and Postmodern Social Theorizing will appeal to scholars and students of social theory and of social sciences in general.

    • Demonstrates how the central issues in sociology developed during the postwar period
    • Explores and proposes solutions to the big divisions in sociology between modernists and postmodernists
    • Provides a history of contemporary sociology as well as an original approach to its central issues
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    Reviews & endorsements

    'Modern and Postmodern Social Theorizing: Bridging the Divide is a truly outstanding contribution to knowledge in the field. Professor Mouzelis succeeds in unequivocally shedding light in areas where darkness and confusion have been allowed to reign in recent years. He has consolidated his position at the forefront among contemporary sociological theorists.' Eric Dunning, University of Leicester

    'This is brilliant, the best formal sociological theory known to me, and a terrific analysis of the state of play of the field.' John Hall, McGill University

    'In this masterly survey of developments in social theory over the last half century, Mouzelis identifies the strengths and weaknesses of competing schools of thought and sets out the means of their reconciliation. It shows concisely and convincingly where sociological theory should be going if it is to regain its original path. His resolution of the conceptual shortcomings arising from the unbalanced treatment of the relationships between agency and structure at both macro and micro levels of analysis is brilliantly set out in the concluding Part Five. With its comprehensive grasp of a complex body of work, this much needed reformulation of basic principles is in a class of its own. A tour de force.' David Lockwood, University of Essex

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    Product details

    • Date Published: November 2008
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9780521731539
    • length: 326 pages
    • dimensions: 228 x 152 x 19 mm
    • weight: 0.52kg
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    Part I. The Theoretical Background: The Development of the Agency-Structure Problematic:
    1. From Parsons' to Giddens' synthesis
    Part II. Parsonian and Post-Parsonian Developments:
    2. Parsons and the development of individual rights
    3. Evolution and democracy: Parsons and the collapse of communism
    4. Post-Parsonian theory I: neo-functionalism and beyond
    Postscript: Alexander's cultural sociology
    5. Post-Parsonian theory II: beyond the normative and the utilitarian
    Part III. Agency and Structure: Reworking some Basic Conceptual Tools:
    6. Social and system integration: Lockwood, Habermas and Giddens
    7. The subjectivist-objectivist divide: against transcendence
    8. Habitus and reflexivity: restructuring Bourdieu's theory of practice
    Part IV. Bridges Between Modern and Late/Postmodern Theorizing:
    9. Modernity: a non-Eurocentric conceptualization
    10. Ethical relativism: between scientism and cultural relativism
    11. Cognitive relativism: between positivistic and relativistic thinking in the social sciences
    12. Social causation: between social constructionism and critical realism
    Part V. Towards a Non-Essentialist Holism:
    13. Grand narratives: contextless and context-sensitive theories
    14. The actor-structure dimension: anti-conflationist holism
    15. The micro-macro dimension: anti-essentialist holism
    16. The inter-institutional dimension: beyond economism and culturalism
    Instead of Conclusion: twelve rules for the construction of an open-ended holistic paradigm
    Appendix: In defence of 'grand' historical sociology.

  • Instructors have used or reviewed this title for the following courses

    • Criminological Theory
    • Sociological Theory I
  • Author

    Nicos P. Mouzelis, London School of Economics and Political Science
    Nicos P. Mouzelis is Emeritus Professor of Sociology at the London School of Economics and Political Science.

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