• 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

Theories of Social Exchange and Exchange Networks
Theories of social exchange and exchange networks

As anthropologists first recognized (Lévi-Strauss, 1969), many forms of social interaction outside the economic sphere can be conceptualized as an exchange of benefits. Both social and economic exchange are based on a fundamental feature of social life: much of what we need and value (for example, goods, services, companionship) can only be obtained from others. People depend on one another for these valued resources, and they provide them to each other through the process of exchange.

Social exchange theorists take as their focus this aspect of social life—the benefits that people obtain from, and contribute to, social interaction, and the opportunity structures and relations of dependence that govern those exchanges. Unlike classical microeconomic ...

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