“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.

Rational Choice and Exchange: Coleman

Rational choice and exchange: Coleman

What is “rationality”? Often the term is used in a purely evaluative sense: decisions I make are “rational;” those of which I disapprove are not. Occasionally, we adopt a broader perspective, and judge rationality not just in terms of approval but in terms of the “best interests” of the person making the decision—“best interests” as defined by us. Thus, for example, some of Adolf Hitler's decisions may be viewed as rational and others are irrational, despite the fact that we may disapprove of all of them. (Dawes, 1988:7–8)

In the 1600s, René Descartes said “Cogito ergo sum,” translated as “I think, therefore I am.” In this chapter, two claims are made: “I think, therefore I choose,” and ...

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