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Classical and Contemporary Sociological Theory

Classical and Contemporary Sociological Theory
Text and Readings

Fourth Edition
Additional resources:

September 2020 | 920 pages | SAGE Publications, Inc
The authors are proud sponsors of the 2020 SAGE Keith Roberts Teaching Innovations Award—enabling graduate students and early career faculty to attend the annual ASA pre-conference teaching and learning workshop.

Now available for the first time in print and e-book formats

Classical and Contemporary Sociological Theory: Text and Readings offers students with the best of both worlds—carefully-edited excerpts from the original works of sociology's key thinkers accompanied by an analytical framework that discusses the lives, ideas, and historical circumstances of each theorist. This unique format enables students to examine, compare, and contrast each theorist’s major themes and concepts. In the Fourth Edition of this bestseller, examples from contemporary life and a rich variety of updated pedagogical tools (tables, figures, discussion questions, and photographs) come together to illuminate complex ideas for today’s readers.

Attention Instructors!
Free digital resources are included with this text. Learn more.

Chapter 1: Introduction
Part I: Foundations of Classical Sociological Theory
Chapter 2: Karl Marx (1818–1883)
Chapter 3: Émile Durkheim (1858–1917)
Chapter 4: Max Weber (1864–1920)
Part II: Classical Sociological Theory: Expanding the Foundation
Chapter 5: Charlotte Perkins Gilman (1860–1935)
Chapter 6: Georg Simmel (1858–1918)
Chapter 7: W. E. B. Du Bois (1868–1963)
Chapter 8: George Herbert Mead (1863–1931)
Part III: Twentieth-Century Sociological Traditions
Chapter 9: Structural Functionalism
Chapter 10: Critical Theory
Chapter 11: Exchange and Rational Choice Theories
Chapter 12: Symbolic Interactionism and Dramaturgy
Chapter 13: Phenomenology
Chapter 14: Poststructuralism
Chapter 15: Postmodernism
Chapter 16: The Global Society


Instructor Resource Site

SAGE edge for instructors supports your teaching by making it easy to integrate quality content and create a rich learning environment for students with:
  • a password-protected site for complete and protected access to all text-specific instructor resources;  
  • test banks that provide a diverse range of ready-to-use options that save you time. You can also easily edit any question and/or insert your own personalized questions;
  • editable, chapter-specific PowerPoint® slides that offer complete flexibility for creating a multimedia presentation for your course; and
  • discussion questions to help you engage students in meaningful class discussions.
Key features
  • The overarching theoretical framework has been expanded to further help students understand, compare, and contrast the readings.
  • Additional discussion of the Enlightenment thinkers, such as Locke, Rousseau, Hume, Kant, Hobbes, Wollstonecraft, demonstrates how these thinkers shaped the core theoretical questions that guide sociological inquiry to this day.
  • A new primary source reading from theorist Ulrich Beck enables students to analyze climate change from a sociological perspective.
  • A new reading from Talcott Parsons gives students a better understanding of social action theory and structural functionalism.
  • Updated examples, statistics and visuals tie theory to current events, thus connecting the material to students' lives.
  • Streamlined primary readings such as Weber's "Bureaucracy" keep students focused on central ideas.
  • An expanded glossary isolates key concepts.
  • Now available for the first time in print and e-book formats.


  • The book’s acclaimed text/reader format provides students with the best of both worlds, original readings accompanied by interpretive and analytical guidance necessary to interpret them.
  • A theoretical framework presented in chapter one gives students a visual means to understand the theorists and perspectives that follow.
  • Theoretical Orientation Diagrams and Core Concepts Diagrams show students how to fit the theorist under study into the broader universe of social theory.
  • “Significant Others” boxes highlight writers and thinkers who influenced, and were influenced by, the major theorists featured in each chapter.
  • Each chapter includes photos of theorists and of their historical milieu, along with applications to the contemporary scene.

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ISBN: 9781506387994