Social Lens: An Invitation to Social and Sociological Theory

Overview

The Social Lens: An Invitation to Social and Sociological Theory covers the key thinkers in Western thought for the past 200 years. Written in a conversational style that is both appealing and provocative, this text uses real life examples to draw readers in and invite them to consider the ideas that have shaped our understanding of society.

Key Features:

  • Provides in-depth coverage of 30 individual theorists: The book is divided into three ...
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Overview

The Social Lens: An Invitation to Social and Sociological Theory covers the key thinkers in Western thought for the past 200 years. Written in a conversational style that is both appealing and provocative, this text uses real life examples to draw readers in and invite them to consider the ideas that have shaped our understanding of society.

Key Features:

  • Provides in-depth coverage of 30 individual theorists: The book is divided into three sections covering the classics, the organized perspectives, and contemporary critiques and visions. Importantly, the book gives full treatment to and explicitly allows each of the 30 authors their individual perspectives and voices, allowing critical theorists to be critical and positivist theorists to be scientific.
  • Emphasizes the problem of modernity/postmodernity as a thinking framework: Roughly organized around the theme of modernity, the book traces theories of race and gender through the three periods, beginning with the positive philosophy of Harriet Martineau and ending with the disenchantment of Jean Baudrillard.
  • Explicitly written as an invitation to students: This book contains unparalleled pedagogical features, including study guides, "Seeing Further," "Defining the Perspective," "Essential Theorist" boxes, "Glossary of Terms," and "Building Your Theory Toolbox." These pedagogical features help the student organize and review the material, see their world in theoretical terms, and move beyond the book to begin their own research in theory.
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Editorial Reviews

Teaching Sociology
"This textbook’s tone invites the student reader in to explore with the author each new chapter of uncovered ground. . . . Allan also encourages students to think beyond the theory on the page to its implications for global society by providing what he calls ‘theory you can use’ . . . a fresh, new and bold approach to the theory textbook. "— Barbara J. Denison
TEACHING SOCIOLOGY - Barbara J. Denison
"This textbook’s tone invites the student reader in to explore with the author each new chapter of uncovered ground. . . . Allan also encourages students to think beyond the theory on the page to its implications for global society by providing what he calls ‘theory you can use’ . . . a fresh, new and bold approach to the theory textbook."
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781412914093
  • Publisher: Sage Publications (CA)
  • Publication date: 12/12/2006
  • Pages: 632
  • Product dimensions: 7.28 (w) x 10.32 (h) x 1.32 (d)

Meet the Author

Kenneth Allan received his Ph D in sociology from the University of California, Riverside (1995), and is currently professor of Sociology at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG). Before moving to UNCG, he directed the Teaching Assistant Development Program at the University of California, Riverside, and coedited Training Teaching Assistants, 2nd Edition (1997), published by the American Sociological Association. In addition to teaching classical and contemporary theory at UNCG, Allan also supervised UNCG’s sociology i School program, which offered online introduction to sociology classes to high school students across North Carolina, has designed several online courses for both the college and department, and has regularly taught graduate pedagogy courses. Allan’s research areas include theory, culture, and the self. He has authored several works in the area of theory, including multiple textbooks covering classical and contemporary theory, as well as The Meaning of Culture: Moving the Postmodern Critique Forward, and A Primer in Social and Sociological Theory: Toward a Sociology of Citizenship. His current projects include a social history of American individualism, a sociological analysis of consciousness and self, as well as a novel based in early 20th century American life.

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Table of Contents

Part I: Modernity and the Sociological Response
Chapter 1. On Theory
A Lesson From History
Critical Thinking and Theory
Theory in Brief
Building Your Theory Toolbox
Chapter 2. The Evolution of Society: Herbert Spencer (1820-1903)
Theorist's Digest
The Life and Times of Herbert Spencer
Concepts and Theory: Social Evolution
Concepts and Theory: Social Institutions
Summary
Building Your Theory Toolbox
Chapter 3. Contradictions in Capitalism: Karl Marx (1818-1883)
Theorist's Digest
The Life and Times of Karl Marx
Concepts and Theory: Human Nature and History
Concepts and Theory: Contradictions in Capitalism
Concepts and Theory: The Problem of Consciousness
Summary
Building Your Theory Toolbox
Chapter 4. The Irrationality of Rationality: Max Weber (1864-1920)
Theorist's Digest
The Life and Times of Max Weber
Concepts and Theory: The Rationalization of Society—Religion
Concepts and Theory: The Rationalization of Society—Capitalism
Concepts and Theory: The Rationalization of Society—Bureaucracy
Concepts and Theory: Class, Authority, and Social Change
Summary
Building Your Theory Toolbox
Chapter 5. The Problem With Diversity: Emile Durkheim (1858-1917)
Theorist's Digest
The Life and Times of Emile Durkheim
Concepts and Theory: Religious Roots of Society
Concepts and Theory: Social Diversity and Morality
Concepts and Theory: Individualism in Modern Society
Summary
Building Your Theory Toolbox
Chapter 6. The Modern Person: George Herbert Mead and Georg Simmel
George Herbert Mead (1863-1931)
Theorist's Digest
Concepts and Theory: Truth, Meaning, and Action
Concepts and Theory: Meaning and Interaction
Concepts and Theory: Making Yourself
Summary
Georg Simmel (1858-1918)
Theorist's Digest
Concepts and Theory: The Individual in Society
Concepts and Theory: The Self in the City
Summary
Building Your Theory Toolbox
Chapter 7. The Challenges of Gender and Race: Charlotte Perkins Gilman and W. E. B. Du Bois
Charlotte Perkins Gilman (1860-1935)
Theorist's Digest
Concepts and Theory: The Social Evolution of Gender
Summary
W. E. B. Du Bois (1868-1963)
Theorist's Digest
Concepts and Theory: Cultural Oppression
Concepts and Theory: The Dark Nations and World Capitalism
Summary
Building Your Theory Toolbox
Part II: Contemporary Sociological Theory
Chapter 8. Structural Functionalism: Talcott Parsons, Robert K. Merton, and Jeffrey C. Alexander
Social Systems: Talcott Parsons
Theorist's Digest
Concepts and Theory: Making the Social System
Concepts and Theory: System Functions and Control
Summary
Unanticipated Consequences and Ambivalence: Robert K. Merton
Theorist's Digest
Concepts and Theory: Critiquing Parsons' Functionalism
Concepts and Theory: Dynamic Functionalism
Summary
Democracy and Civil Society: Jeffrey C. Alexander
Theorist's Digest
Concepts and Theory: The New Civil Sphere
Concepts and Theory: Civil Institutions
Concepts and Theory: Civil Society Outcomes
Summary
Building Your Theory Toolbox
Chapter 9. Conflict Theory: Lewis Coser, Ralf Dahrendorf, and Randall Collins
The Functional Consequences of Conflict: Lewis Coser
Theorist's Digest
Concepts and Theory: Variation in Conflict
Concepts and Theory: The Integrating Forces of Conflict
Summary
Power and Dialectical Change: Ralf Dahrendorf
Theorist's Digest
Concepts and Theory: Power and Group Interests
Concepts and Theory: Conditions of Conflict and Social Change
Summary
Emotion and the World in Conflict: Randall Collins
Theorist's Digest
Concepts and Theory: Four Main Points in Conflict Sociology
Concepts and Theory: Geopolitics
Summary
Building Your Theory Toolbox
Chapter 10: What Happened to Class? Erik Olin Wright, Daniel Bell, and Pierre Bourdieu
Making Class Count: Erik Olin Wright
Theorist's Digest
Concepts and Theory: Analytical Marxism
Concepts and Theory: Specifying Class
Summary
Postindustrial Society: Daniel Bell
Theorist's Digest
Concepts and Theory: Rethinking Society
Concepts and Theory: The Decline of Class
Concepts and Theory: Polity and Culture
Summary
Embodying Class: Pierre Bourdieu
Theorist's Digest
Concepts and Theory: Structuring Class
Concepts and Theory: Replicating Class
Summary
Building Your Theory Toolbox
Chapter 11. Structures of Racial and Gender Inequality: William Julius Wilson and Janet Saltzman Chafetz
The Declining Significance of Race: William Julius Wilson
Theorist's Digest
Concepts and Theory: American Racial History
Concepts and Theory: Policy Implications
Summary
Structures of Gender Inequality: Janet Saltzman Chafetz
Theorist's Digest
Concepts and Theory: Coercive Structures of Gender Inequality
Concepts and Theory: Changing Gender Inequality
Summary
Building Your Theory Toolbox
Chapter 12. Exchange Theory: George Homans, Peter Blau, and Randall Collins
Elementary Forms of Social Behavior: George Homans
Theorist's Digest
Concepts and Theory: Basic Principles of Behavioral Psychology
Summary
Social Exchanges and Power: Peter Blau
Theorist's Digest
Concepts and Theory: Social Exchanges
Concepts and Theory: Creating Power and Social Structures
Summary
Ritualized Exchanges: Randall Collins
Theorist's Digest
Concepts and Theory: Emotion—The Generalized Media of Exchange
Concepts and Theory: Interaction Ritual Chains (IRCs)
Concepts and Theory: The Ritualized Production of Stratification
Summary
Building Your Theory Toolbox
Chapter 13. Self and Situation: Erving Goffman, R. S. Perinbanayagam, and Harold Garfinkel
Managing Your Self-Image: Erving Goffman
Theorist's Digest
Concepts and Theory: Impression Management
Concepts and Theory: Frames and Keys
Summary
The Language of the Self: R. S. Perinbanayagam
Theorist's Digest
Concepts and Theory: Dialogic Acts and Agency
Concepts and Theory: Language of Identity
Summary
Organizing Ordinary Life: Harold Garfinkel
Theorist's Digest
Concepts and Theory: Everyday Social Order as an Accomplishment
Concepts and Theory: Doing Society—Reflexively
Summary
Building Your Theory Toolbox
Part III: Contemporary New Visions and Critiques
Chapter 14. Problems in Modernity: Jurgen Habermas and Anthony Giddens
Democracy in Danger: Jurgen Habermas
Theorist's Digest
Concepts and Theory: Capitalism and Legitimation
Concepts and Theory: The Colonization of Democracy
Concepts and Theory: Communicative Action and Civil Society
Summary
Runaway Modernity: Anthony Giddens
Theorist's Digest
Concepts and Theory: The Dynamics of Modernity
Concepts and Theory: The Experience of Modernity
Summary
Building Your Theory Toolbox
Chapter 15. Globalizing Systems: Immanuel Wallerstein and Manuel Castells
Global Capitalism: Immanuel Wallerstein
Theorist's Digest
Concepts and Theory: The Dialectics of Capitalism
Concepts and Theory: The End of the World as We Know It
Summary
The Network Society: Manuel Castells
Theorist's Digest
Concepts and Theory: Information Technology
Concepts and Theory: Networks, Identities, and Democracy
Summary
Building Your Theory Toolbox
Chapter 16. Upsetting Reality: Michel Foucault and Jean Baudrillard
Defining the Possible and Impossible: Michel Foucault
Theorist's Digest
Concepts and Theory: The Truth About Truth
Concepts and Theory: The Practices of Power
Concepts and Theory: Disciplining the Body
Summary
The End of Everything: Jean Baudrillard
Theorist's Digest
Concepts and Theory: Mediating the World
Concepts and Theory: Losing the World
Concepts and Theory: The Postmodern Person
Summary
Building Your Theory Toolbox
Chapter 17. Politics of Identity: Dorothy E. Smith, Patricia Hill Collins, and Cornel West
Gendered Consciousness: Dorothy E. Smith
Theorist's Digest
Concepts and Theory: The Problem With Facts
Concepts and Theory: The Standpoint of Women
Summary
Race and Matrices of Domination: Patricia Hill Collins
Theorist's Digest
Concepts and Theory: The Standpoint of Black Women
Concepts and Theory: Intersectionality and Matrices of Domination
Summary
Race and Democracy: Cornel West
Theorist's Digest
Concepts and Theory: Black Existence in America
Concepts and Theory: The Post-Democratic Age
Summary
Building Your Theory Toolbox
References
Index
About the Author

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