• Summary
  • Contents
  • Subject index

This book is an indispensable resource for anyone interested in the roots, current debates and future development of social theory. It draws together a team of outstanding international scholars, and presents an authoritative and panoramic critical survey of the field. The volume is divided into three parts. The first part examines the classical tradition. Included here are critical discussions of Comte, Spencer, Marx, Durkheim, Weber, Simmel, Mead, Freud, Mannheim and classical feminist thought. This part conveys the classical tradition as a living resource in social theory, it demonstrates not only the critical significance of classical writings, but their continuing relevance. The second part moves on t

Talcott Parsons: Conservative Apologist or Irreplaceable Icon?
Talcott parsons: Conservative apologist or irreplaceable icon?

Talcott Parsons is one of the most important, yet also most controversial social theorists of the twentieth century. His career spanned the five decades from the late 1920s to the late 1970s. He is possibly best known for his postwar theories of normative order, for the construction of a grand theoretical edifice labelled structural functionalism, and for a tendency to write impenetrable prose. Many of the critical commentaries on these aspects of Parsons' work, however, lack a broader appreciation of the insights and subtleties of his work. These emerge, to take only three examples, from his early work on social action and economic life in the 1930s, his synthesis of social theory ...

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