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Social Theory in the Twentieth Century / Edition 1

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Overview

"I think this is an outstanding book. The coverage is comprehensive, the lines of thought and exposition are clear, and the level of discussion is very high yet remarkably lively and accessible. It has an underlying intellectual seriousness and engagement which shines out through the individual chapters, and the author's unwillingness to make do with secondary analyses and received ideas gives it a strength and freshness of approach which is extremely welcome."
--Professor William Outhwaite, University of Sussex

Social Theory in the Twentieth Century offers an easy-to-read but provocative account of the development of social theory. Patrick Baert covers a wide range of key figures and schools of thought, including Giddens, Foucault and Habermas. Written in a lively style and avoiding jargon, this book is aimed at students who wish to understand the main debates and dilemmas driving social theory.

Rather than providing a neutral summary of the different thinkers and theories, Baert challenges the conventional readings of social theory with new and original interpretations. In effect, he bridges the gap between philosophy and social theory by placing the theoretical views within wider historical traditions.

Social Theory in the Twentieth Century will undoubtedly become the standard introduction to social theory for students in sociology, politics, and anthropology.

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Editorial Reviews

Booknews
Intended for students of sociology, politics, anthropology and philosophy, this book serves as a general introduction to the development of social theory, outlining key figures and schools of thought including Elster, Giddens, Foucault and Habermas. Baert (social and political sciences, Cambridge) does not just objectively present these theories, but offers a critical response. Annotation c. by Book News, Inc., Portland, Or.
From the Publisher

'I think this is an outstanding book. The coverage is comprehensive, the lines of thought and exposition are clear, and the level of discussion is very high yet remarkably lively and accessible. It has an underlying intellectual seriousness and engagement which shines out through the individual chapters, and the author's unwillingness to make do with secondary analyses and received ideas gives it a strength and freshness of approach which is extremely welcome.' Professor William Outhwaite, University of Sussex

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780814713396
  • Publisher: New York University Press
  • Publication date: 8/28/1998
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 252
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.57 (d)

Meet the Author

Patrick Baert is Director of Studies in Social and Political Sciences at King's College, Cambridge.

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgements
Introduction 1
1 A Timeless Order and its Achievement: Structuralism and Genetic Structuralism 9
Durkheim's contribution 11
Saussure's approach to linguistics 15
Levi-Strauss's anthropology 20
Bourdieu's genetic structuralism 29
2 The Biological Metaphor: Functionalism and Neo-Functionalism 37
Early functionalism 38
Talcott Parsons 48
Robert Merton 54
Neo-functionalism and Niklas Luhmann 60
3 The Enigma of Everyday Life: Symbolic Interactionism, the Dramaturgical Approach and Ethnomethodology 66
Symbolic interactionism 67
Erving Goffman's dramaturgical approach 75
Ethnomethodology 82
4 The Skilful Accomplishment of Social Order: Giddens's Structuration Theory 92
Influences 94
Structuration theory 100
Evaluation 108
5 The History of the Present: Foucault's Archaeology and Genealogy 114
A new conception of knowledge acquisition 116
Archaeology 118
Genealogy 122
Evaluation 128
6 The Spread of Reason: Habermas's Critical Theory 134
Influences and early writings 137
The theory of communicative action 142
Evaluation 146
7 The Invasion of Economic Man: Rational Choice Theory 153
Rational choice explanations 155
Game theory 157
Examples of rational choice applications 163
Problems with rational choice theory 165
8 Eroding Foundations: Positivism, Falsificationism and Realism 173
Positivism 174
Falsificationism 182
Realism 189
Conclusion 201
Notes 208
Index 220
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