Social theory is a crucial resource for the social sciences. It provides rich insights into how human beings think and act, and how contemporary social life is constructed. But often the key ideas of social theorists are expressed in highly technical and difficult language that can hide more than it reveals. Cutting through the often off-putting writing styles of social theorists, this book demonstrates exactly what social theory is about, clearly presenting the key themes of major social theory from the classical thinkers onwards. Areas covered include Marxism, structuralism, post-structuralism, phenomenology, symbolic interactionism, feminism and structuration theories. Wide-ranging in scope and coverage, the book is concise in presentation and free from jargon. Showing why social theory matters, and why it is of far-reaching social and political importance, the book is ideal for students across the social sciences seeking a clear, crisp mapping of a complex but very rewarding area.
David Inglis is professor of sociology at the University of Aberdeen Christopher Thorpe is lecturer in sociology at the Robert Gordon University
List of Figures and Tables vi Introduction: Extending an Invitation 1 1 Classical Paradigms 13 2 Functionalist and Systems Theory Paradigms 38 3 Marxist and Critical Theory Paradigms 62 4 Phenomenological Paradigms 86 5 The Symbolic Interactionist Paradigm 107 6 Rational Choice and Exchange Theory Paradigms 129 7 The Process Sociological Paradigm 150 8 Structuralist and Post-Structuralist Paradigms 165 9 Post-Modernist Paradigms 189 10 Structurationist Paradigms 208 11 Feminist Paradigms 235 12 Globalization Paradigms 258 Conclusion: The Development of Social Theory in 13 Points 282 References 286 Index 310
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