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



No philosophy, no analysis, no aphorism, be it ever so profound, can compare in intensity and richness of meaning with a properly narrated story (Arendt, 1973: 29).


When we turn our attention to story-telling or narrative two important aspects of human existence come into focus. The first is that we are beings who are conscious of our existence through time. Our understanding of the present cannot therefore be separated from our recollections of the past and our aspirations for the future. The second is that we are involved in an ongoing process of making sense of our experience. To understand the meaning of human actions is to place them in the context of the ongoing lives of particular human beings. Both individually and collectively, we ...

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