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Sociological Theory

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Sociological Theory

Contemporary Debates, Second Edition

2nd edition

9781781003350 Edward Elgar Publishing
John Scott CBE, formerly Professor of Sociology and Pro Vice-Chancellor for Research, Plymouth University, UK
Publication Date: 2012 ISBN: 978 1 78100 335 0 Extent: 304 pp
Authoritative, comprehensive and written in a thoroughly accessible style, this text will have major appeal to students, researchers, teachers and specialists in sociological theory.

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Contents
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Sociological Theory, Second Edition is a lively and accessible introduction to contemporary sociological debates. With additional material on theoretical developments since 1995, this substantially updated work is a systematic and comprehensive text presenting clear arguments on the relative merits of the different positions taken within sociological theory. In this second edition John Scott has re-ordered the chapters and chapter sections to draw out a strong narrative on contention and convergence in sociological theory.

A consideration of the work of Talcott Parsons sets the scene for subsequent debates on neofunctionalist, symbolic interactionist, rational choice, and conflict theories, together with recent developments in structuralism and post-structuralism. This second edition has been re-cast and updated to give a fuller discussion of the syntheses produced by Anthony Giddens and Jürgen Habermas, tracing their lineage back to Parsons’s framework. It considers the various views of modern society depicted in these syntheses and it reviews the wider debates on modernity and post-modernity. The central argument of the book is that advances in sociological understanding arise from the synthesis of rival ideas, and it concludes with an exploration of those areas in which sociological theory is in need of further development.

New features of the second edition include:

• greater prominence for neofunctionalism in relation to earlier structural-functional theories
• discussion of the theoretical ideas of Pierre Bourdieu
• expanded coverage of post-structuralist theoretical ideas in relation to structuralist theories
• positioning of ethnomethodology and conversation analysis in relation to earlier work on symbolic interactionism
• a stronger positioning of debates over modernity and post-modernity as extensions of general theoretical debates.

Authoritative, comprehensive and written in a thoroughly accessible style, this text will have major appeal to students, researchers, teachers and specialists in sociological theory.

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Critical Acclaim
‘. . . a systemic and comprehensive text presenting clear arguments on the relative merits of the different positions taken within sociological theory. John Scott has re-ordered the chapters and chapter sections to draw out a strong narrative on contention and convergence in sociological theory. This updated edition features a greater prominence for neofunctionalism in relation to earlier structural-functional theories; a discussion of the theoretical ideas of Pierre Bourdieu; expanded coverage of post-structuralist theoretical ideas in relation to structural theories, and much more. Documented, insightful, informed and informative, Sociological Theory continues to be a highly recommended and core addition to academic library contemporary sociology reference collections and supplemental reading lists.’
– The Midwest Book Review

‘With exemplary clarity, John Scott expertly guides us through key modern theorizations of social system and social action. Not only is Scott’s assessment of recent attempts to synthesise these two dimensions of sociology’s core dualism very useful for students and teachers of sociology, it represents a valuable theoretical contribution in its own right.’
– Gregor McLennan, University of Bristol, UK

Acclaim for the first edition:

‘Scott’s thorough mastery of sociological theory is clearly evident in this work. Moreover, he is a gifted explicator of complex and frequently obfuscated theoretical positions. . . His scholarship here is first-rate, and his considered reflections deserve the attention of students and professional colleagues alike.’
– W.P. Nye, Choice, Outstanding Academic Book of the Year 1995
Contents
Contents: Preface 1. Foundations for Sociology 2. Talcott Parsons: Where it all Began 3. Structure, Function and System 4. Rational Choice and Social Exchange 5. Symbolic Interaction and Social Constructs 6. Conflict and Collective Agency 7. Jürgen Habermas: A New Synthesis? 8. Deep Structures and Causal Mechanisms 9. Collective Representations and Cultural Codes 10. Anthony Giddens: Linking Structure and Agency 11. Modernity and Post-modernity 12. Coda Bibliography Index
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eISBN: 978 1 78100 334 3
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