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Contemporary Sociological Theory and Its Classical Roots

Contemporary Sociological Theory and Its Classical Roots
The Basics

Fifth Edition
Additional resources:

December 2017 | 440 pages | SAGE Publications, Inc

Now with SAGE Publishing, Contemporary Sociological Theory and Its Classical Roots: The Basics, is a brief survey of sociology's major theorists and theoretical approaches, from the Classical founders to the present. With updated scholarship in the new Fifth Edition, authors George Ritzer and Jeffrey Stepnisky connect many theorists and schools of thought together under broad headings that offer students a synthesized view of sociological theory. This text is perfect for those who want an accessible overview of the entire tradition of sociological thinking, with an emphasis on the contemporary relevance of theory.

About the Authors
Chapter 1: Introduction to Sociological Theory
Creating Sociological Theory  
Defining Sociological Theory  
Creating Sociological Theory: A More Realistic View  
Overview of the Book  
Chapter 2: Classical Theories I
Emile Durkheim: From Mechanical to Organic Solidarity  
Karl Marx: From Capitalism to Communism  
Max Weber: The Rationalization of Society  
Chapter 3: Classical Theories II
Georg Simmel: The Growing Tragedy of Culture  
Thorstein Veblen: Increasing Control of Business over Industry  
George Herbert Mead: Social Behaviorism  
Significant Symbols and Languages  
W.E.B. Du Bois: Race and Racism in Modern Society  
Chapter 4: Contemporary Grand Theories I
Structural Functionalism  
Conflict Theory  
General Systems Theory  
Chapter 5: Contemporary Grand Theories II
Neo-Marxian Theory  
The Civilizing Process  
The Colonization of the Lifeworld  
The Juggernaut of Modernity  
Chapter 6: Contemporary Theories of Everyday Life
Symbolic Interactionism  
Ethnomethodology and Conversation Analysis  
Exchange Theory  
Rational Choice Theory  
Chapter 7: Contemporary Integrative Theories
A More Integrated Exchange Theory  
Structuration Theory  
Culture and Agency  
Habitus and Field  
Chapter 8: Contemporary Feminist Theories by Patricia Madoo Lengermann and Gillian Niebrugge
The Basic Theoretical Questions  
The Classical Roots  
Contemporary Feminist Theories  
Toward a Feminist Sociological Theory  
Chapter 9: Theories of Race and Colonialism
Fanon and the Colonial Subject  
Postcolonial Theory  
Critical Theories of Race and Racism  
A Systematic Theory of Race  
Southern Theory and Indigenous Resurgence  
Chapter 10: Postmodern Grand Theories
The Transition from Industrial to Postindustrial Society  
Increasing Governmentality (and Other Grand Theories)  
Postmodernity as Modernity's Coming of Age  
The Rise of Consumer Society, Loss of Symbolic Exchange, and Increase in Simulations  
The Consumer Society and the New Means of Consumption  
Queer Theory: Sex and Sexuality  
Chapter 11: Globalization Theory
Major Contemporary Theorists on Globalization  
Cultural Theory  
Economic Theory  
Political Theory  
Source Acknowledgments


Instructor Site

  •   Microsoft® Word test bank, is available containing multiple choice, true/false, and essay questions for each chapter. The test bank provides you with a diverse range of pre-written options as well as the opportunity for editing any question and/or inserting your own personalized questions to effectively assess students’ progress and understanding.
  • Lecture notes summarize key concepts on a chapter-by-chapter basis to help you with preparation for lectures and class discussions
Key features


  • A new chapter on Theories of Race and Colonialism addresses a subject of longstanding interest and importance.
  • Arlie Hochschild’s theory of emotion management has been added to the chapter on Contemporary Theories of Everyday Life.
  • Chapter 11 on Globalization Theory includes discussion of the significance of Brexit, the 2017 American election, and other recent events for globalization theory.
  • New “Key Concept” boxes discuss romanticism, commercialization of feeling, colonialism, and color-blind-racism.
  • Frantz Fanon and Kimberlé Crenshaw are the subjects of new Biographical Vignettes.
  • Co-author George Ritzer is a distinguished theorist in his own right and an accomplished scholar of sociological theory, known for his clear, authoritative writing on this subject.
  • The chronological organization allows for easy use of supplementary readers to enhance classroom discussion or to broaden students' understanding of theories and concepts.
  • The chapter on Contemporary Feminist Theories has been revised on foundation originally contributed by two feminist scholars, Patricia Lengermann and Gillian Niebrugge.
  • “Key Concept” boxes summarize over 30 ideas that are widely used and debated in the field, from “Social Facts” to “Civil Society.”
  • “Contemporary Application” boxes examine the relevance of many classical theories to social life in today’s global society.
  • Short biographies of key theorists help readers to see their ideas in the context of personal and historical circumstances.

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