Sociology consists of a myriad of frequently confusing concepts. Key Concepts in Sociology provides a comprehensive, lively and clearly-written guide to the most important concepts in the subject. It includes both what might be regarded as ‘classic’ sociological concepts, such as ‘class’, ‘bureaucracy’ and ‘community’, as well as subjects that have become increasingly prominent in recent times, such as ‘celebrity’, ‘risk’ and ‘the body’.

Each of the thirty-eight substantive entries: Defines the concept; provides a clear and compelling narrative; clarifies the main debates, perspectives and disagreements; gives advice on further reading

Key Concepts in Sociology should be the first choice for sociology students at all levels of learning.



Auguste Compte, the inventor of the term ‘sociology’, was much concerned with the preservation of social harmony and cohesion, a concern shared by later sociologists, such as Durkheim and Simmel. From the perspective of Durkheim and others, the dramatic pace of change in modern society – notably, an increasing division of labour, accelerating urbanisation, the spread of rationalisation and bureaucracy, and growing individualism – diminished and threatened to destroy traditional values and ways of living, thus undermining social solidarity, social cohesion and social control. In other words, the major trends that had produced so many of the achievements of modern society might be seen at the same time to contribute to many of its problems, by leaving society without any agreement on the rules of ...

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