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Modern Sociological Theory

Modern Sociological Theory

Other Titles in:
Social Theory

December 1993 | 384 pages | SAGE Publications Ltd
This innovative textbook presents an up-to-date synthesis of the central debates in contemporary social thought. It offers a different framework for the study of social theory. By focusing on the core concepts and issues - rather than on schools of thought or individual theorists - Malcolm Waters relates past and present theory to the key concerns of sociology today.

Modern Sociological Theory gives a lucid overview of: the core concepts that sociological theory must address and attempt to reconcile - agency, rationality, structure and system; and the main phenomena that sociological theory sets to explain - culture, power, gender, differentiation and stratification.

It explains the major contributions to the analysis of each concept by classical and contemporary theorists, and links these ideas to current sociological issues such as change and globalization, feminism and sociological theory and the return to cultural analysis.

General Theory in Sociology
Meaning and Motives in Social Arrangements

The Maximization of Individual Interest

Secret Patterns which Determine Experience

An Overarching Order

Culture and Ideology
Power and the State
Gender and Feminism
Differentiation and Stratification
The Past and the Future of Sociological Theory


`Waters manages to be worthy, thorough and intelligible... Waters organizes his books around four formal concepts: agency, rationality, structure and system, and four substantive areas: culture and ideology, power and the state, gender and feminism, and differentiation and stratification.... His treatment of each is systematic and his coverage extremely thorough.... He writes in a straightforward way that would be within the range of all but the weakest student. Although he acknowledges that we cannot find a systematic body of theory in sociology, he comes close to presenting the complexity of contemporary theory as if it were systematic, and I suspect he really wishes it were.... I would recommend Water's book to beginners or to any student who was not particularly interested in social theory but had an exam to pass; I am not sure whether that is taking the easy way out or being a good teacher' - Ian Craib, British Journal of Sociology

`The publication of Malcolm Waters' Modern Sociological Theory marks a new stage in the teaching of contemporary social theory .In contrast to texts based on individual thinkers or ritualized accounts of schools, Waters provides an ingenious analytical framework for presenting virtually all of the major issues of contemporary social theory: from the varieties of interactionims to rational choice and exchange theory; structuralism and poststructuralism; functionalism and neofunctionalism; feminist theory to the latest variations in neo-Marxist, critical and postmodernist theory. Its what we have been waiting for and more. A focus on agency, rationality, structure and system effectively sets out the unifying terms of debate. Moreover, substantively oriented chapters on culture and idelology, power, gender and stratification link social theory and empirical research in an unparalleld manner. The major individual contributors are concisely presented, and helpful charts quickly convey the relations among abstract concepts. In short, there is no current text that can begin to compare with respect to scope, range, clarity, balance and sophistication. But this book is not only for moving students rapidly to the frontier of theory, it is also a must for anyone interested in catching up with the transformations of social theory over the past two decades. Those not using it for their courses will probably be relying on it for rewriting their lecture notes' - Professor Raymond A Morrow, University of Alberta, Edmonton

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ISBN: 9780803985322