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Social Theory
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Table of Contents

Introduction; 1. What is theory?; 2. The classical attempt at synthesis: Talcott Parsons; 3. Parsons on the road to normativist functionalism; 4. Parsons and the elaboration of normativist functionalism; 5. Neo-utilitarianism; 6. Interpretive approaches (1): symbolic interactionism; 7. Interpretive approaches (2): ethnomethodology; 8. Conflict sociology and conflict theory; 9. Habermas and critical theory; 10. Habermas' 'theory of communicative action'; 11. Niklas Luhmann's radicalization of functionalism; 12. Anthony Giddens' theory of structuration and the new British sociology of power; 13. The renewal of Parsonianism and modernization theory; 14. Structuralism and poststructuralism; 15. Between structuralism and theory of practice: the cultural sociology of Pierre Bourdieu; 16. French anti-structuralists (Cornelius Castoriadis, Alain Touraine and Paul Ricoeur); 17. Feminist social theories; 18. A crisis of modernity? New diagnoses (Ulrich Beck, Zygmunt Bauman, Robert Bellah, and the debate between liberals and communitarians); 19. Neopragmatism; 20. How things stand; Bibliography.

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An unrivalled overview of social theory and its development from 1945 to the present day.

About the Author

Hans Joas is the Max Weber Professor and Director of the Max Weber Center for Advanced Cultural and Social Studies at the University of Erfurt. He is also Professor of Sociology and a member of the Committee on Social Thought at the University of Chicago. Wolfgang Knoebl is Professor of Sociology at the University of Goettingen.

Reviews

'Social Theory does a remarkable job of making a complex and sometimes difficult subject matter into a clear and continuously interesting book. Without claiming a false neutrality Joas and Knoebl combine exposition and criticism in a way that is consistently fair even to positions that are farthest from their own. This should be an indispensable book for at least a generation.' Robert N. Bellah, University of California, Berkeley, and co-author of Habits of the Heart
'Possibly the most comprehensive and critical analysis of the development of Social Theory in the second half of the twentieth century - bringing together European and American developments showing their common roots in the classical problematique and the continual development thereof.' S. N. Eisenstadt, Hebrew University of Jerusalem and Van Leer Jerusalem Institute
'... this fascinating book will provide a wealth of conceptual resources for a long time.' Sociologica
'Hans Joas and Wolfgang Knoebl's Social Theory: Twenty Introductory Lectures is a remarkable book. There is nothing that I know that comes anywhere near to it in the contemporary landscape of social theory. [It] is, in addition to other things, an intellectually heavyweight textbook for graduate students and professors, providing a summation of, and critical commentary on, virtually all the major and minor currents in social theory since the middle of the twentieth century.' Rob Stones, Journal of Classical Sociology
"Social Theory does a remarkable job of making a complex and sometimes difficult subject matter into a clear and continuously interesting book. Without claiming a false neutrality Joas and Knoebl combine exposition and criticism in a way that is consistently fair even to positions that are farthest from their own. This should be an indispensable book for at least a generation." - Robert N. Bellah, Professor of Sociology Emeritus, University of California, Berkeley, and coauthor of Habits of the Heart
"Possibly the most comprehensive and critical analysis of the development of Social Theory in the second half of the twentieth century - bringing together European and American developments showing their common roots in the classical problematique and the continual development thereof." - S. N. Eisenstadt, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem and the Van Leer Jerusalem Institute
"...a remarkable book." -Journal of Classical Sociology

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