From the team that brought you the bestselling Understanding Classical Sociology (SAGE Publications, 1995), we now have a companion volume dealing with the modern period of social theory. An introductory chapter situates the reader in the main changes in society and sociology following the classic period. This is then followed by separate chapters giving a detailed account of four perspectives that are regarded to be of seminal importance - Functionalism, Critical Theory, Structuralism and Symbolic Interactionism. All of the popular features of Understanding Classical Sociology are reproduced in this book: · Clarity of exposition and criticism· A passion for the importance and relevance of sociological reasoning and explanation· A commitment to treat social theory as a living tradition of thought In addition, the volume comes with a variety of pedagogic aids including summary points and key definitions to facilitate learning and study.This is a book that enhances the sociological imagination. It draws on the authors deep understanding and experience of teaching the subject over many decades. It will be welcomed by lecturers as a vital new teaching and research aid, and students will be stimulated and enriched by the unfussy and reliable advice on doing sociology that it imparts.
Having reviewed the developments of the ‘middle period’ of sociology up to the eve of another transformation growing out of Structuralism and Critical Theory particularly, we find the discipline to be highly pluralised – some would say fragmented. For those who strove so hard to provide a unifying framework for the discipline, this state of affairs has been a major disappointment. For others it is one to be celebrated as the final collapse of the constraints bequeathed by the Enlightenment that have proved so difficult to eradicate from our thinking. For yet others, though perhaps a very small number even including the authors of this book, it is a state of affairs that is only to be expected given the overweening ambitions ...