Theoretical Sociology: A Concise Introduction to Twelve Sociological Theories
Publication Year: 2014
Subject: Social Theory (general)
What can sociological theory tell us about the basic forces that shape our world? </em>With clarity and authority, leading theorist Jonathan H. Turner seeks to answer this question through a brief, yet in-depth examination of twelve major sociological theories. Readers are given an opportunity to explore the foundational premise of each theory and key elements that make it distinctive. The book draws on biographical background, analysis of important works, historical influences, and other critical insights to help readers make the important connections between these monumental sociological theories and the social world in which we live. This concise resource is a perfect complement to any course that seeks to examine both classic and contemporary sociological theory.
- Front Matter
- Subject Index
- Chapter 1: Theoretical Sociology Today
- Chapter 2: Functional Theorizing
- Chapter 3: Conflict Theorizing
- Chapter 4: Ecological Theorizing
- Chapter 5: Exchange Theorizing
- Chapter 6: Symbolic Interactionist Theorizing
- Chapter 7: Dramaturgical Theorizing
- Chapter 8: Structural Theorizing
- Chapter 9: Cultural Theorizing
- Chapter 10: Critical Theorizing on Modernity and Postmodernity
- Chapter 11: Stage-Model Evolutionary Theorizing
- Chapter 12: Biologically Inspired Evolutionary Theorizing
SAGE Publications, Inc.
2455 Teller Road
Thousand Oaks, California 91320
SAGE Publications Ltd.
1 Oliver's Yard
55 City Road
London EC1Y 1SP
SAGE Publications India Pvt. Ltd.
B 1/I 1 Mohan Cooperative Industrial Area
Mathura Road, New Delhi 110 044
SAGE Publications Asia-Pacific Pte. Ltd.
3 Church Street
#10-04 Samsung Hub
Copyright © 2014 by SAGE Publications, Inc.
All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced or utilized in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publisher.
Printed in the United States of America
Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data
A catalog record of this book is available from the Library of Congress.
This book is printed on acid-free paper.
13 14 15 16 17 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1
Acquisitions Editor: Diane McDaniel
Editorial Assistant: Lauren Johnson
Production Editor: Eric Garner
Copy Editor: Lana Todorovic-Arndt
Typesetter: C&M Digitals (P) Ltd.
Proofreader: Jennifer Gritt
Indexer: Diggs Publication Services, Inc.
Cover Designer: Gail Buschman
Marketing Manager: Erica DeLuca
To the memory of my dear friend, Clara Dean, who in 1969 began typing all my manuscripts and who, at age 85, retired in 2010 from typing, only to die in 2012. I will forever be grateful to her friendship and incredible competence for over forty years in getting my manuscripts ready for publication.
About the Author
There is surprisingly little consensus among sociologist about what theory is and what it is supposed to do for sociological analysis. For some, theory represents the way that science explains the empirical world. For others, it is simply an orienting perspective that can be used to describe events. For still others, theory is to be normative, advocating social arrangements that reduce oppression and inequality. All of these views of theory have been present since sociology's beginnings, and the arguments and debates among those holding one or the other of these views can become, to say the least, quite contentious. So, in writing a short introduction to sociological theory, it is difficult to know where to begin and end, given the controversy. I have sidestepped the controversy by outlining diverse approaches within twelve broad theoretical traditions. In some, scientific explanation is the dominant view; in others, a more descriptive view prevails; in still others, a critical view of the role of theorizing dominates; and in a few, two or all three visions of what theory should be can be found. My biases are toward scientific theorizing, where abstract laws and models that explain how the social universe operates are preferred. Yet, I have given fair coverage to the alternative approaches because, like it or not, they are part of what is called sociological theory today.
I have written many long books on theory, but I have tried something new here. I have—at least for me—written a short book that is still comprehensive but that highlights the key elements of a particular theoretical perspective and some of the important theorists working within a perspective. The goal has been to create a handbook that packs a lot of information into a small space, especially compared to the other large books on theory that I have written in the past. I originally thought of titling the book Lectures on Theoretical Traditions because the chapters have drawn upon my lecture notes, but I have also pulled important elements from my larger and longer books. The result, I hope, is a book that is useful in many different ways, such as a concise introduction to the range of theorizing in sociology, a convenient review of theory for those brushing upon on sociological theorizing, a source of lectures for instructors, and a quick guide to those who do not know much about sociological theory and are just curious about what it is.
It was fun to write this book, and moreover, it was good for me—champion of theoretical tomes—to summarize in an abbreviated but a still robust manner.Murrieta, California USA[Page xii]