“The strengths of this text are the breadth of theories covered; the integration of gender-related topics— family, work, religion; the use of substantial quotes from primary texts; the consistent inclusion of methodological issues…. I have no doubt that it will find a solid position in the field of theory texts.”

--Kathleen Slobin, North Dakota State University

A concise, yet surprisingly comprehensive theory text, given the range of ideas, historical context, and theorists discussed. Unlike other books of the type, Contemporary Sociological Theory focuses on how the pivotal theories contributed not only to the development of the field, but also to the evolution of ideas concerning social life.

Transitions and Challenges

Transitions and Challenges
Transitions and challenges

A number of late-twentieth-century views have challenged the Durkheim-Marx-Weber core of sociology. Two of these—feminism and Freudianism—were already active in theoretical circles by the turn of the twentieth century. In the next five chapters, we will introduce our own set of transitions and challenges, beginning with a review of mid-twentieth-century sociology in Chapter 7.

Chapter 7 notes the hegemony of structural-functional thinking at mid-century (see Chapter 2) and the strong belief within sociology that value-free knowledge is possible. This position was questioned by Alvin Gouldner and C. Wright Mills from a Marxist perspective, and by the 1960s it was also challenged by student and “New Left” protests. In addition, outstanding Third World, feminist, and African American thinkers were challenging the marginalization ...

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