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



Introduction: Communitarianism in Social Theory and in Practical Politics

The theme of community has always had a central and prominent place in social theory. A number of connected problems are at the heart of social theory. How do individuals make a collective whole? Should collective or individual interests have priority? Can the ideal of community be realized in modern social and political conditions? To what extent are individuals ‘made’ by the social contexts they inhabit? How and by what social bonds should persons be connected with one another? These and related questions are often thought of as variations of the key problem of the relationship between ‘the community’ and ‘the individual’. It might seem anachronistic, then, to focus on the ‘emergence’ of communitarianism as one ...

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