Handbook of Social Theory

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Overview

This book is an indispensable resource for anyone interested in the roots, current debates and future development of social theory. It draws together a team of outstanding international scholars, and presents an authoritative and panoramic critical survey of the field.

The volume is divided into three parts. The first part examines the classical tradition. Included here are critical discussions of Comte, Spencer, Marx, Durkheim, Weber, Simmel, Mead, Freud, Mannheim and classical feminist thought. This part conveys the classical tradition as a living resource in social theory, it demonstrates not only the critical significance of classical writings, but their continuing relevance.

The second part moves on to examine the terrain of contemporary social theory. The contributions discuss the significance and strengths and weaknesses of structural functionalism, recent Marxian theory, critical theory, symbolic interactionism, phenomenology, ethnomethodology, exchange theory, rational choice, contemporary feminism, multiculturalism, postmodernism, the thought of Foucault and Habermas, and figurational sociology. The reader gains a comprehensive and informed picture of the key issues and central figures of the day.

The final part ranges over the key debates in current social theory. Questions relating to positivism, metatheorizing, cultural studies, consumption, sexualities, the body, globalism, nationalism, socialism, knowledge societies, ethics and morality, as well as postsocial relations are fully discussed. The dilemmas and promise of contemporary social theory are revealed with pinpoint accuracy.

This is a benchmark volume for understanding the development, achievement and prospects for social theory. It will be required reading for scholars and students in sociology, social philosophy and cultural studies.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780761941873
  • Publisher: SAGE Publications
  • Publication date: 3/28/2001
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 566
  • Product dimensions: 6.69 (w) x 9.61 (h) x 1.15 (d)

Meet the Author

George Ritzer is Distinguished University Professor at the University of Maryland, where he has also been a Distinguished Scholar-Teacher and won a Teaching Excellence Award. He was awarded the 2000 Distinguished Contributions to Teaching Award by the American Sociological Association and an honorary doctorate from La Trobe University in Australia. His best-known work, The Mc Donaldization of Society, has been read by hundreds of thousands of students over two decades and translated into over a dozen languages. Ritzer is also the author of a series best-selling social theory textbooks for Mc Graw-Hill; Mc Donaldization: The Reader; and other works of critical sociology related to the Mc Donaldization thesis, including A Critique of the Global Credit Card Society, Enchanting a Disenchanted World, The Globalization of Nothing, Globalization: A Basic Text, and The Outsourcing of Everything. He is the Editor of the Encyclopedia of Social Theory (2 vols.), the Encyclopedia of Sociology (11 vols.), and the Encyclopedia of Globalization (5 vols.), and is Founding Editor of the Journal of Consumer Culture. In 2014 he published the second edition of Introduction to Sociology with SAGE.

Barry Smart is Professor of sociology at the University of Portsmouth and a member of the Centre for European and International Studies Research (CEISR). His research interests include: critical social theory; the

globalization of consumer culture and the transformation of economic life; and the cultural economy of modern sport. His most recent books are Economy, Culture & Society (OUP, 2003), The Sport Star (SAGE, 2005) and Consumer Society (SAGE, 2010)

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Table of Contents

Introduction - George Ritzer and Barry Smart
Theorists, Theories and Theorizing
PART ONE: CLASSICAL SOCIAL THEORY
Modernity, Enlightenment, Revolution and Romanticism - John Rundell
Creating Social Theory
The Origins of Positivism - Jonathan H Turner
The Contributions of Auguste Comte and Herbert Spencer
Maintaining Marx - Gregor Mc Lennan
Max Weber - Sam Whimster
Work and Interpretation
The Continuing Relevance of Georg Simmel - Birgitta Nedelmann
Staking Out Anew the Field of Sociology
Durkheim's Project for a Sociological Science - Mike Gane
The Emergence of the New - Hans Joas
Mead's Theory and Its Contemporary Potential
Karl Mannheim and the Sociology of Knowledge - David Kettler and Volker Meja
Psychoanalysis and Sociology - John O'Neill
From Freudo-Marxism to Freudo-Feminism
Classical Feminist Social Theory - Patricia Madoo Lengermann and Jill Niebrugge-Brantley
PART TWO: CONTEMPORARY SOCIAL THEORY
Functional, Conflict and Neofunctional Theories - Mark Abrahamson
Talcott Parsons - Robert J Holton
Conservative Apologist or Irreplaceable Icon?
Nietzsche - Robert J Antonio
Social Theory in the Twilight of the Millennium
Critical Theory - Craig Calhoun and Joseph Karaganis
J[um]urgen Habermas' Theory of Communicative Action - Richard Harvey Brown and Douglas Goodman
An Incomplete Project
Symbolic Interactionism at the End of the Century - Kent L Sandstrom, Daniel D Martin and Gary Alan Fine
Phenomenology and Social Theory - Harvie Ferguson
Fundamentals of Ethnomethodology - Wes Sharrock
Theories of Social Exchange and Exchange Networks - Linda D Molm
Sociological Rational Choice - Douglas D Heckathorn
Contemporary Feminist Theory - Mary F Rogers
Multiculturalism - Charles Lemert
Social Theory and the Postmodern - Stephen Crook
Michel Foucault - Mitchell Dean
'A Man in Danger'
The Macro/Micro Problem and the Problem of Structure and Agency - Barry Barnes
Norbert Elias and Process Sociology - Robert van Krieken
PART THREE: ISSUES IN SOCIAL THEORY
Positivism in the Twentieth Century - Peter Halfpenny
Metatheorizing in Sociology - Shanyang Zhao
Cultural Studies and Social Theory - Douglas Kellner
A Critical Intervention
Theories of Consumption - George Ritzer, Douglas Goodman and Wendy Wiedenhoft
Sexualities - Anthony Elliott
Social Theory and the Crisis of Identity
The Embodied Foundations of Social Theory - Chris Shilling
Globalization Theory 2000+ - Roland Robertson
Major Problematics
Nationalism - Gerard Delanty
Between Nation and State
Socialism - Peter Beilharz
Modern Hopes, Postmodern Shadows
Modern Societies as Knowledge Societies - Nico Stehr
Sociology, Morality and Ethics - Barry Smart
On Being with Others
Postsocial Relations - Karin Knorr Cetina
Theorizing Sociality in a Post-social Environment

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