Social Theory in the Twentieth Century

Social Theory in the Twentieth Century

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Social Theory in the Twentieth Century offers an easy-to-read but provocative account of the development of social theory. The author covers a range of key figures and schools of thought, including Elster, Giddens, Foucault and Habermas. Written in a lively style and avoiding jargon, it is aimed at students who wish to gain an understanding of the main debates and dilemmas driving social theory. The author bridges the gap between philosophy and social theory, locating the theoretical views discussed within wider historical traditions. Rather than providing a neutral summary of the different authors and theories, the book provides new and original interpretations of key figures in social theory. The chapter on Foucault, for instance, looks at him from a new angle, quite different from the usual interpretations of the thrust of his work. The author also seeks to relate the various authors in traditions to one another in a systematic way. This book will become the standard introduction to social theory for students in sociology, politics and anthropology.show more

Product details

  • Paperback | 248 pages
  • 148 x 224 x 18mm | 439.99g
  • Polity Press
  • Oxford, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 0
  • 0745613861
  • 9780745613864
  • 1,545,979

Table of contents

Introduction. 1. A Timeless Order and its Achievement: Structuralism and Genetic Structuralism. 2. The Biological Metaphor: Functionalism and Neo-Functionalism. 3. The Enigma of Everyday Life: Symbolic Interactionism, the Dramaturgical Approach and Ethnomethodology. 4. The Skilful Accomplishment of Social Order: Giddens's Structuration Theory. 5. The History of the Present: Foucault's Archaeology and Genealogy. 6. The Spread of Reason: Habermas's Critical Theory. 7. The Invasion of Economic Man: Rational Choice Theory. 8. Eroding Foundations: Positivism, Falsificationism and Realism. Conclusion. Notes. Index.show more

Review quote

'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 Sussexshow more

About Patrick Baert

Patrick Baert is a Fellow at New Hall, Cambridge, and Director of Studies in Social and Political Sciences at King's College, Cambridge.show more

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