Understanding Contemporary Society: Theories of the Present is a comprehensive textbook to guide students through the complexities of social theory today. Over 30 chapters, written by an international team of contributors, demonstrate clearly the practical applications of social theory in making sense of the modern world. Students are both introduced to the most significant theories and guided through the major social developments which shape our lives. Key features of the book are: clearly structured and readable prose; bullet pointed summaries and annotated further reading for each topic; makes complex issues accessible to undergraduates; focuses on relevance and practicality; chapter lay-out which is ideal for t

Complexity Theory

Complexity theory

Complex Systems

Human knowledge has traditionally been divided between the natural sciences and the social sciences. This division is based on the different types of theory and method that have developed to explain what have been treated as different processes of change in society and nature. Social processes are usually regarded as complex outcomes of interaction between social structure and human agency. Natural processes, on the other hand, are conventionally regarded as determined by laws of nature.

The social Darwinists attempted to explain society in the same terms as Darwin explained the natural world as an outcome of the ‘law’ of natural selection. These attempts are now seen as at best misinformed and at worst driven by racist ideologies in which some preferred racial ...

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