A Beginner's Guide to Social Theory (Theory, Culture & by Shaun Best

By Shaun Best

`This ebook is offered, as a beginner's consultant may be, yet with no an over-simplification of the arguments. it may end up an immensely sturdy textual content for generations of scholars to return' - John Hughes, Lancaster collage ultimately, a publication that makes social idea for undergraduates a excitement to coach and examine. The e-book bargains a entire assessment of social concept from classical sociology to the current day. scholars are guided in the course of the paintings of Durkheim, Marx and Weber, functionalism, motion views, feminism, postmodernism and modern thinkers like Anthony Giddens, Michel Foucault, J[um]urgen Habermas, Frederic Jameson, Judith Butler, Gilles Deluze, Manuel Castells, Luce Irigary, Naomi Woolf and Camille Paglia. The booklet offers transparent money owed of those contributions and employs an intensive diversity of actions that inspire the reader to judge the paintings of given theorists and approaches.The booklet is:- entire- Student-friendly- actual- Unpatronising It deals teachers and scholars an incredible examine source for undergraduate modules in social conception.

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Extra resources for A Beginner's Guide to Social Theory (Theory, Culture & Society)

Example text

Social change is not an objective historical process that takes place beyond the perception and control of people within societies; social change must be viewed in relation to the social signi®cance that people place on issues and events within a social context. For Smelser, any account of social change will involve looking at a developmental sequence in which different combinations of factors are identi®ed and no one explanatory factor or set of factors can be singled out as the most important factor in determining the process.

Relations of interpenetration and binding also exist between human beings, and Luhmann refers to inter-human interpenetration as intimacy. The relationships between humans are not random; ethical theories emerge which establish principles of correct action. Morality represents a convergence of social and interpersonal interpenetration. What is structure in Luhmann's analysis? The relationship between expectation and action is also the relationship between structure and action; this relationship is reciprocally enabling.

Parsons's de®nition of a social system is as follows: a social system consists in a plurality of individual actors interacting with each other in a situation which has at least a physical or environmental aspect, actors who are motivated in terms of a tendency to the `optimization of grati®cation' and whose relation to their situations, including each other is de®ned and mediated in terms of a system of culturally structured and shared symbols. (Parsons, 1951: 6) Moreover, it is because we are not in a position, claims Parsons, to develop a complete dynamic theory of action that he opted for a developing a theory of the social system in `structural-functional' terms.

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