The Social Lens: An Invitation to Social and Sociological Theory / Edition 1
  • The Social Lens: An Invitation to Social and Sociological Theory / Edition 1
  • The Social Lens: An Invitation to Social and Sociological Theory / Edition 1

The Social Lens: An Invitation to Social and Sociological Theory / Edition 1

by Kenneth D. Allan

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.See more details below


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.

Product Details

SAGE Publications
Publication date:
Edition description:
Older Edition
Product dimensions:
7.10(w) x 9.94(h) x 1.10(d)

Table of Contents

Prelude: Imagine Society
Theory and Perspectives
Introducing This Book
Modern Thinking
Harriet Martineau—Theorist of Modernity
Gender in Modernity
Religion in Modernity
Education in Modernity
Building Your Theory Toolbox
1. Capitalism and Engines of Social Change—Karl Marx (1818—1883)
Seeing Further: The Effects of Capitalism
The Essential Marx
Marx’s Perspective: Human Consciousness and History
Material Dialectic
Concepts and Theory: The Basic Dynamics of Capitalism
Class and Class Structure
Industrialization, Commodification, and Overproduction
Value and Exploitation
Theory and Concepts: The Effects of Capitalism
Alienation, Private Property, and Commodity Fetish
Class Consciousness
Marx Summary
Looking Ahead
Building Your Theory Toolbox
2. Rationality and the Bureaucratic Society—Max Weber (1864–1920)
Seeing Further: The Effects of Bureaucratic Organization
The Essential Weber
Weber’s Perspective: Cultural Sociology
Culture and Social Science
Weber’s Method
Concepts and Theory: The Rise of Capitalism
The Religious Culture of Capitalism
Structural Influences on Capitalism
Concepts and Theory: Class, Authority, and Social Change
Status and Party
Authority and Social Change
Concepts and Theory: The Process of Rationalization
Preconditions for Bureaucratic Organization
Effects of Bureaucratic Organization
Weber Summary
Looking Ahead
Building Your Theory Toolbox
3: Cultural Diversity and Social Integration—Émile Durkheim (1858–1917)
Seeing Further: Social Integration and Cultural Diversity
The Essential Durkheim
Durkheim’s Perspective: The Reality of Society and Collective
Organismic Analogy
Social Facts
Concepts and Theory: The Religious Roots of Society
Religion and Science
Defining Religion
Creating the Sacred
Concepts and Theory: Social Diversity and Morality
Mechanical and Organic Solidarity
The Division of Labor
The Problem of Modernity
Organic Solidarity and Social Pathology
Concepts and Theory: Individualism in Modern Society
The Cult of the Individual
Durkheim Summary
Looking Ahead
Building Your Theory Toolbox
4. The Individual in Modern Society—George Herbert Mead (1863–1931) and Georg Simmel (1858–1918)
Seeing Further: The Individual in Society
George Herbert Mead
The Essential Mead
Mead’s Perspective: American Pragmatism and Action
Human Action
Concepts and Theory: Symbolic Meaning
Symbols and Social Objects
Interaction and Meaning
Concepts and Theory: Living Outside the Moment
Creating a Self
Society and the Self
The I and the Me
Mead Summary
Georg Simmel
The Essential Simmel
Simmel’s Perspective: The Individual and Social Forms
Concepts and Theory: Subjective and Objective Cultures
Concepts and Theory: The Self in Modernity
Social Networks
Simmel Summary
Looking Ahead
Mead and Simmel’s Theoretical Impact
The Self in Modernity: Bringing Mead and Simmel Together
Building Your Theory Toolbox
5. The Challenges of Gender and Race—Charlotte Perkins Gilman (1860–1935) and W. E. B. Du Bois (1868–1963)
Seeing Further: Social Exclusion
Charlotte Perkins Gilman
The Essential Gilman
Gilman’s Perspective: Evolution With a Twist
Critical-Functional Evolution
Concepts and Theory: Dynamics of Social Evolution
Self- and Race-Preservation
Gynaecocentric Theory
Sexuo-Economic Effects
Gilman Summary
W. E. B. Du Bois
The Essential Du Bois
Extended Biography
Du Bois’ Perspective: The Experience of Oppression and Critical Knowledge
The Centered Subject
Standpoint of the Oppressed
Concepts and Theory: Cultural Oppression
Exclusion From History
Stereotypes and Slippery Slopes
Double Consciousness
Concepts and Theory: The Dark Nations and World Capitalism
Exporting Exploitation
The Need for Color
Du Bois Summary
Looking Ahead
Building Your Theory Toolbox
Generalized Theory
Theory Cumulation
Parsons’ Project
Enter Critical Theory
Building Your Theory Toolbox
6. Structural Functionalism –Talcott Parsons (1902 – 1979) and Robert K. Merton (1910 – 2003)
Seeing Further: Inter-Structural Relations and Society as a Whole
Defining Functionalism
Talcott Parsons: Analytical Functionalism
The Essential Parsons
Concepts and Theory: Making the Social System
Voluntaristic Action
The Unit Act
Constraining and Patterning Social Action
Concepts and Theory: System Functions and Control
Systemic Relations
Cybernetic Hierarchy of Control
Concepts and Theory: Social Change
Cultural Strain
Parsons Summary
Robert K. Merton: Empirical Functionalism
The Essential Merton
Concepts and Theory: Critiquing Parsons’ Functionalism
Middle-Range Theories
Critiquing Functionalism’s Assumptions
Concepts and Theory: Dynamic Functionalism
Alternate Outcomes
Emergent Social Change
Merton Summary
Looking Ahead
Building Your Theory Toolbox
7. Conflict and Critical Theories
Part I: Conflict Theory: Lewis Coser (1913 – 2003) , Ralf Dahrendorf (1929 – ), and Randall Collins (1941 – )
Seeing Further—Normal Conflict
Defining Conflict Theory
Lewis Coser: The Functional Consequences of Conflict
The Essential Coser
Concepts and Theory: Variation in Conflict
Basic Sources of Conflict
Predicting the Level of Violence
Concepts and Theory: The Integrating Forces of Conflict
Internal Conflict
External Conflict
Coser Summary
Ralf Dahrendorf: Power and Dialectical Change
The Essential Dahrendorf
Concepts and Theory: Power and Group Interests
Latent and Manifest Interests
Concepts and Theory: Conflict Groups and Social Change
Conditions of Conflict Group Formation
Social Change
Dahrendorf Summary
Randall Collins: Emotion and the World in Conflict
The Essential Collins
Concepts and Theory: Four Main Points in Conflict Sociology
Scarce Resources and Mobilization
The Propagation and End of Conflict
Concepts and Theory: Geopolitics
The Role of the State
Geopolitical Dynamics
The Demise of Soviet Russia
Collins Summary
Part II: Jürgen Habermas—Critical Theory and Modernity
The Essential Habermas
Seeing Further: The Modern Hope of Equality
Defining Critical Theory
Concepts and Theory: Capitalism and Legitimation
Liberal Capitalism and the Hope of Modernity
Organized Capitalism and the Legitimation Crisis
Concepts and Theory: The Colonization of Democracy
Colonization of the Lifeworld
Colonization of the Public Sphere
Concepts and Theory: Communicative Action and Civil Society
Ideal Speech Communities
Civil Society
Habermas Summary
Looking Ahead
Building Your Theory Toolbox
8: Structures of Inequality—Race and Gender: William Julius Wilson (1935—) and Janet Chafetz (1942—)
William Julius Wilson—Race and Class
The Essential Wilson
Seeing Further—Structured Racial Inequality
Concepts and Theory: Three Theories of Race Relations
Orthodox Marxist Theory
Split Labor Market Theory
Wilson’s Class-State Theory
Concepts and Theory: Three Periods of American Race Relations
The Plantation Economy: Racial-Caste Oppression
Post Civil War to New Deal Politics: The Split Labor Market
WWII and Beyond: Class-Based Racial Inequality
Policy Implications
Wilson Summary
Looking Ahead—Race
Janet Chafetz—Gender Equity
The Essential Chafetz
Seeing Further— Structured Gender Inequality
Concepts and Theory: Coercive Gender Structures
Macro-Level Coercive Structures
Meso-Level Coercive Structures
Micro-Level Coercive Structures
Concepts and Theory: Voluntaristic Gender Inequality
Intrapsychic Structures
Social Learning
Performing Gender
Concepts and Theory: Stratification Stability
Concepts and Theory: Changing Gender Inequality
Intentional Change
Chafetz Summary
Looking Ahead—Gender
Building Your Theory Toolbox
9: Interactionist Theories—Herbert Blumer (1900 – 1987) , Erving Goffman (1922 – 1982), and Harold Garfinkel (1917–)
Seeing Further: The Social Encounter
Herbert Blumer and Symbolic Interaction
The Essential Blumer
Seeing Further—Meaning and Interaction
Defining Symbolic Interactionism
Concepts and Theory: The Premises of Symbolic Interactionism
Humans Act on the Basis of Meaning
Meaning Arises Out of Interaction
Individuals Interpret Meaning
Concepts and Theory: The Root Images of Symbolic Interactionism
The Nature of Society
The Nature of Social Interaction
The Nature of Objects
The Nature of Human Action
The Nature of Joint Actions
Concepts and Theory: Empirical Science and Symbolic Interactionism
The Premises of Empirical Science
Methods of Symbolic Interactionism
Implications of Symbolic Interactionist Methods
Blumer Summary
Erving Goffman and Dramaturgy
The Essential Goffman
Seeing Further—Managing Impressions
Defining Dramaturgy
Concepts and Theory: Impression Management
Different Kinds of Selves
Performing the Self
Relating to Roles
Sacred and Stigmatized Selves
Concepts and Theory: The Encounter
Interaction Ritual and Face-Work
Focused and Unfocused Encounters
Goffman Summary
Harold Garfinkel and Ethnomethodology
The Essential Garfinkel
Seeing Further—Achieving Social Order
Defining Ethnomethodology
Concepts and Theory: Everyday Methods
Everyday Social Order as an Accomplishment
Seen But Unnoticed
Concepts and Theory: Doing Society
Reflexivity and Indexicality
Documentary Method
Garfinkel Summary
Looking Ahead
Building Your Theory Toolbox
10: Exchange Theory—Peter M. Blau (1918 – 2002), Karen S. Cook (1946 – ), and Randall Collins (1941– )
Peter M. Blau—Social Exchange Theory
Seeing Further—Social Exchanges
Defining Exchange Theory
Concepts and Theory: Exchange and Power
Basic Exchange Principles
Exchange Norms and Social Power
Concepts and Theory: The Micro–Macro Link
Blau Summary
Karen S. Cook—Power in Exchange Networks
The Essential Cook
Concepts and Theory: Characteristics of Exchange Networks
Positive and Negative Relations
Power and Balance in Exchange Networks
Cook Summary
Randall Collins—Ritual Exchange
The Essential Collins
Seeing Further: Exchange and Emotion
Concepts and Theory: Interaction Ritual Chains (IRCs)
Ritual Effects
Concepts and Theory: The Micro–Macro Link
Collins Summary
Building Your Theory Toolbox
11: Constructing Society—Anthony Giddens (1938– ) and Pierre Bourdieu (1930 – 2002)
Anthony Giddens—Structuration and Modernity
The Essential Giddens
Seeing Further—Structuration Theory Part I: Recursive Structures
Duality of Structure
Modalities of Structuration
Seeing Further—Structuration Theory Part II: Reflexive Actors
Levels of Awareness
Unconscious Motivation
Defining Structuration Theory
Concepts and Theory: The Contours of Modernity
Radical Reflexivity
Emptying Time and Space
Institutions and Disembedding Mechanisms
Concepts and Theory: The Experience of Modernity
The Reflexive Project of the Self
Pure Relationships
Choice and Life Politics
Giddens Summary
Pierre Bourdieu—Constructivist Structuralism and Class
The Essential Bourdieu
Seeing Further—Constructivist Structuralism
Overcoming Dichotomies
Defining Constructivist Structuralism
Concepts and Theory: Structuring Class
Concepts and Theory: Replicating Class
Linguistic Markets
Symbolic Struggle
Bourdieu Summary
Building Your Theory Toolbox
12. World Systems—Immanuel Wallerstein (1930– ) and Niklas Luhmann (1927 - 1998)
Immanuel Wallerstein—Global Capitalism
The Essential Wallerstein
Seeing Further—World-System Theory
Globality and Historicity
Defining World-Systems Theory
Concepts and Theory: The Dialectics of Capitalism
The Division of Labor and Exploitation
Accumulation and Overproduction
Concepts and Theory: The End of the World as We Know It
World-Empires and World-Economies
Kondratieff Waves
The Modern Crisis
Structural and Cultural Signs of the End
Wallerstein Summary
Niklas Luhmann: Social Systems and Their Environments
The Essential Luhmann
Seeing Further—Society as a System
Defining System Theory
Concepts and Theory: Defining Social Systems
System Boundaries
Meaning and Social Systems
The Reflexive Nature of Social Systems
Concepts and Theory: Social Evolution
Three Societal Systems
Evolutionary Processes
Patterns of Differentiation
Concepts and Theory: Modernity
Social Integration
Problems of Integration
Luhmann Summary
Building Your Theory Toolbox
13. Identity Politics—Dorothy E. Smith (1926 – ), Cornel West (1953 – ), and Patricia Hill Collins (1948 – )
Dorothy E. Smith—Gendered Consciousness
The Essential Smith
Seeing Further—Standpoint Theory
Not Theory—Method!
Facts and Texts: The New Materialism
Defining Standpoint
Concepts and Theory: The Standpoint of Women
Sociology and the Relations of Ruling
The Fault Line
Standpoint and Text-Mediated Power
Smith Summary
Cornel West—Race Matters
The Essential West
Seeing Further—Prophetic Democracy
Critical Culture
Philosophy: Pragmatism and Existentialism
Concepts and Theory: Race Matters
Markets, Mobility, and Community
Black Nihilism
Black Leadership Crisis
Black Cultural Armor
West Summary
Patricia Hill Collins—Race and Matrices of Domination
The Essential Collins
Seeing Further—Intersectionality and Black Feminist Epistemology
Concepts and Theory: Black Feminist Epistemology
Eurocentric Positivism
Four Tenets of Black Feminist Epistemology
Implications of Black Feminist Thought
Black Intellectuals
Concepts and Theory: Intersectionality and Matrices of Domination
Black Feminist Thought, Intersectionality, and Activism
Collins Summary
Building Your Theory Toolbox
14. Post-Theories—Michel Foucault (1926 – 1984) and Jean Baudrillard (1929 – )
Michel Foucault—Defining the Possible and Impossible
The Essential Foucault
Seeing Further—Truth Games and Counter-Histories
Defining Poststructuralism
Concepts and Theory: The Practices of Power
Epistemes and Order
From Subject to Object
Concepts and Theory: Power Over the Body
Concepts and Theory: Power Over the Subject
Greek Sexuality
Modern Western Sexuality
Foucault Summary
Jean Baudrillard—The End of Everything
Seeing Further—Cultural Postmodernism
Defining Postmodernism
Postmodernity in Modernity
Concepts and Theory: Mediating the World
Pre-Capitalist Society and Symbolic Exchange
The Dawn of Capitalism and the Death of Meaning
Concepts and Theory: Losing the World
Entropy and Advertising
Simulacrum and Hyperreality
Sign Implosion
Concepts and Theory: The Postmodern Person
Fragmented Identities
Play, Spectacle, and Passivity
Baudrillard Summary
Building Your Theory Toolbox
Concluding Thoughts: Post-Thinking

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