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.



The word identity has several meanings, two of which seem to be conflicting. According to the Longman Dictionary, one meaning is the condition of being exactly the same; another is the distinguishing character or personality of an individual (in other words, difference). Accordingly, it may be argued that the question of identity involves an opposition between ideas of unity and ideas of diversity and pluralism (Robins, 2005: 172), or between conformity and free choice.

When social scientists consider identity they seek to analyse the connections between the individual and the world in which the individual lives – to ask how far individual selves are ‘self-governing’ and ‘autonomous’, and to look at how far they are ‘regulated and the ways in which they are prompted, trained, taught, ...

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