"This book is distinctive for extending the usual sociological reach, reopening territory that has lain fallow, set aside from the well-ploughed fields of orthodox social theory. In doing so, Law not only produces fresh insight into familiar theorists but guards against collective forgetting of the sociological canon."
- Professor Bridget Fowler, University of Glasgow
"An excellent book, it will be welcomed and read widely by advanced undergraduates, postgraduates and scholars in sociology, cultural studies, social theory and beyond."
- Professor Chris Shilling, University of Kent
Social Theory for Today guides students through the `turns' of past and present social theory as it attempts to wrestle with a recurring sense of crisis in social relations and social theory. Drawing on both classical and contemporary sources, Alex Law provides readers with a firm grasp of competing perspectives.
Too often social theories attempt to dominate the field by casting rival theorists, past and present, as deluded fools, while the more familiar `big names' in social theory are subject to ever-increasing commentary that runs in ever-decreasing circles. This survey of social theory and crisis lessens the temptation to engage in internal theoretical polemics and esoteric wordplay. Social theory must become practical and specific if it is to become a means of orientation for uncertain times.
This is a must-read for upper level undergraduate and postgraduate students looking for a vibrant and extended understanding of social theory.
Alex Law is Professor of Sociology at Abertay University, Dundee.
Introduction: The Narcissism of Minor Differences Social Theory and Crisis Positivist Turn: Auguste Comte Marx's Turn Nietzsche's Turn: Max Weber and Georg Simmel Ideological Turn: Antonio Gramsci and Georg Lukacs Reflexive Turn: Otto Neurath and Empirical Sociology Modernist Turn: Walter Benjamin and Siegfried Kracauer Critical Turn: The Frankfurt School Negative Turn: Horkheimer, Adorno and Habermas Quotidian Turn: Henri Lefebvre Corporeal Turn: Maurice Merleau-Ponty Pragmatic Turn: Social theory in the US Cultural Turn: Social Theory in France and Britain Relational Turn: Norbert Elias and Pierre Bourdieu Conclusion