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 international scholars, and presents an authoritative and panoramic critical survey of the field.
The first section, examines the classical tradition. Included here are critical discussions of Comte, Spencer, Marx, Durkheim, Weber, Simmel, Mead, Freud, Mannheim and classical feminist thought, demonstrating not only the critical significance of classical writings, but also their continuing relevance.
The second section moves on to examine the terrain of contemporary social theory. The contributors discuss the significance and strengths and weaknesses of structural functionalism, recent Marxian theory, critical theory, symbolic interactionism, phenomenology, exchange theory, contemporary feminism, ethnomethodology, rational choice theory, figurational sociology, the thought of Foucault, multicuturalism and postmodernism.
The final section looks at the key debates in current social theory. Questions relating to the body, sexuality, globalism, nationalism, socialism, knowledge, norms, ethics, positivism, post-structuralism, consumption, metatheorizing and cultural studies are fully discussed. The dilemmas and promise of contemporary social theory are revealed with pinpoint accuracy.