Contested Knowledge / Edition 4

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Contested Knowledge is a well-established text offering up-to-date perspectives on social theory by one of the most important thinkers of our time. This fourth edition includes an exploration of globalization and a new section on the theories of global and world order. It provides a thoughtful and rigorous, yet highly accessible and reader-friendly account of social theory.
  • Responds to current issues, debates, and new social movements
  • Reviews sociological theory from a truly contemporary perspective
  • Examines both classical and contemporary theories
  • Combines social analysis and moral advocacy to demonstrate how social theory contributes to the making of a better world
  • Challenges social scientists to renew their commitment to the important moral and political role social knowledge plays in public life
  • A thoughtful and rigorous, yet highly accessible and reader-friendly account of social theory
  • An accompanying website containing additional support for lecturers and students is available at
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
Praise for the third edition:

"There is no better social theory text for demonstrating to students the political relevance of both past and current social thinkers. Seidman compellingly argues for a more lively, publicly-engaged sociology. Contested Knowledge is required reading for any discussion of how social theory can help us make sense of our own times."
Nancy L. Fischer, Macalester College

"Seidman is one of the most original and profound voices in social theory today. A master of historical scholarship, he has produced here a revisionist theoretical story that will continue to be widely read and debated."
Jeffrey Alexander, Yale University

"The Third edition of Contested Knowledge is a strong, clear and progressive argument for the active and moral role of sociological theory in a globalized and multicultural age. It is an optimistic, rigorous and reflective text, and a highly accessible one."
Joe Bailey, Kingston University

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781405170017
  • Publisher: Wiley, John & Sons, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 4/28/2008
  • Edition description: REV
  • Edition number: 4
  • Pages: 328
  • Product dimensions: 6.80 (w) x 9.70 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Steven Seidman is Professor of Sociology at State University of New York at Albany. He is a world renowned social theorist working in the areas of social theory, culture, sexuality, comparative sociology, theory of democracy, nationalism and globalization. He is the author and editor of several books including Embattled Eros: Sexual Politics and Ethics in Contemporary America (1992), The Postmodern Turn: New Perspectives on Social Theory (editor, 1995), Queer Theory/Sociology (Blackwell, 1996), The New Social Theory Reader: Contemporary Debates (edited with Jeffrey C. Alexander, 2001), and Beyond the Closet: The Transformation of Gay and Lesbian Life (2002).
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Table of Contents




Part I: The Rise of the Classical Tradition:.


1. The Idea of a Science of Society: The Enlightenment and Auguste Comte.

2. The Revolutionary Theory of Karl Marx.

3. The Promise of Sociology: Emile Durkheim.

4. The Ironic Social Theory of Max Weber.


Part II: Rethinking the Classical Tradition: American Sociology:.


5. The Grand Theory of Talcott Parsons and of Peter Berger and Thomas Luckmann.

6. The Scientific Theory of Randall Collins and Peter Blau.

7. The Moral Sociology of C. Wright Mills and Robert Bellah.


Part III: Rethinking the Classical Tradition: European Theory:.


8. The Critical Theory of Jürgen Habermas.

9. Stuart Hall and British Cultural Studies.

10. The Critical Sociology of Anthony Giddens and Pierre Bourdieu.


Part IV: Revisions and Revolts: The Postmodern Turn:.


11. Post-Structural Theory: Jacques Derrida, Jean-François Lyotard, and Jean Baudrillard.

12. Michel Foucault’s Disciplinary Society.

13. Zygmunt Bauman’s Sociology of Postmodernity.


Part V: Revisions and Revolts: Identity Politics and Theory:.


14. Feminist and Gender Theory.

15. Critical Race Theory.

16. Lesbian, Gay, and Queer Theory.

17. Colonial Discourse Studies.


Part VI: Revisions and Revolts: Theories of World Order:.


18. From Nation to Global Order: David Held and Mary Kaldor.

19. Global Capitalism: Immanuel Wallerstein and Manuel Castells.

20. The Return of Empire? Hardt and Negri, Harvey, Mann.

Epilogue: Social Theory Today.


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