• Summary
  • Contents
  • Subject index

Social theory is a core area in Sociology degrees. This book attempts to lead students through the key thinkers and key ideas. The organizational principle is to focus on theoretical writing which is relevant for understanding the contemporary world. So the book asks what continuing use do theories of the Enligthenment, classical German sociology, Marxism and phenomenology have for making sense of our social world.

Corporeal Turn: Maurice Merleau-Ponty
Corporeal turn: Maurice merleau-ponty

Phenomenology attempts to form a meeting point for extremes – the theoretical extremes of subjectivism and objectivism. In this way, phenomenology hopes to relativise the theoretical conceit of absolute certainty: the cursed conceit of being absolutely right that afflicts many theorists. It takes as its point of departure the ordinary sense of ‘phenomenal’ as referring to something amazing, wondrous and astonishing (Ferguson, 2006). Phenomenology attempts to make the ordinary extraordinary, the routine unusual, the familiar strange, the natural artificial. In doing so, it gives definite shape to barely expressible, dimly perceived aspects of everyday life. As protection against one-sided certainty, phenomenology relativises the social world by grounding it variously in fundamental or essential phenomena: consciousness, experience, the ...

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