Social Theory for Today: Making Sense of Social Worlds
Making Sense of Social Worlds
Social Theory for Today guides students through the key thinkers and key ideas of the contemporary social world. The book asks what continuing use do theories of the Enlightenment, classical German sociology, Marxism and phenomenology have for making sense of our social world. Drawing on both on classical and contemporary sources, this book is both accessible and meaningful for students working to grasp a firm understanding of competing perspectives in social theory.
The book is organized around two contrasting conceptions of common sense social worlds. On one side, common sense is understood as a precondition of solidarity and social action. Here social theory is viewed as continuous with and an extension of the social world, an 'umbilical cord' that can never be cut but simply needs to be more systematically ordered and controlled (realism, positivism, Weber, empiricism, phenomenology, social constructionism, feminism). On the other side, common sense is reproached as a constraint on reason and autonomy. Here, sociology strives for a discontinuous 'break' with the spontaneously self-evident truths and pre-judgments of ordinary social worlds (skepticism, Durkheim, Simmel, structuralism, Marxism, Critical Theory, Bourdieu).
Social Theory for Today is a must read for upper level undergraduate and graduate sociology students looking for a vibrant and extended understanding of social theory in today's society.
Alex Law is Professor of Sociology at Abertay University, Dundee.