• Summary
  • Contents
  • Subject index

`This is a wide-ranging and authoritative analysis of sociology's 'state-of-the-art'. It will set the terms of debate for the next decade' - John Urry, Lancaster University, U.K.`The profession of sociology was blessed by abundance of excellent handbooks. The one edited by Craig Calhoun, Christ Rojek and Bryan Turner was preceded by outstanding sociology handbooks, the most eminent ones by Robert Farris and E Lee published in 1964 and a more recent one by Neil Smelser in1988. The volume by Farris and Lee not only served as an introductory text to the discipline, but contained many innovative papers, which re-oriented social research for years to come. Smelser brought together the best possible and most polished overview of the contributions professional sociology at his time. The Calhoun-Rojek-Turner ...

Introduction
Introduction

Sociology, like human society, is varied, contested and constantly changing. It is hard to capture from a single perspective, and hard to describe with finality. This does not mean there are no regular patterns, no enduring features, or no basis for science. But it does mean that as a science sociology faces a distinctive challenge. Its object of study – society or social relations – is more subject to historical change and human choice than the objects of the physical and biological sciences. It is also broader and more complex than the specific dimensions of social life singled out by the narrower, more specialized social sciences like politics, economics, and geography. And precisely because human society is open to choice and historical change, and ...

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