This is the first anthology to thematize the dramatic upward and downward shifts that have created the new social theory, and to present this new and exciting body of work in a thoroughly trans-disciplinary manner.

In this revised second edition readers are provided with a much greater range of thinkers and perspectives, including new sections on such issues as imperialism, power, civilization clash, health and performance. The first section sets out the main schools of contemporary thought, from Habermas and Honneth on new critical theory, to Jameson and Hall on cultural studies, and Foucault and Bourdieu on poststructuralism. The sections that follow trace theory debates as they become more issues-based and engaged. They are:

  • the post-foundational debates over morality, justice and epistemological truth

  • the social meaning of nationalism, multiculturalism and globalization

  • identity debates around gender, sexuality, race, the self and post-coloniality.

This new edition provides more ample biographical and intellectual introductions to each thinker, and substantial introductions to each of the major sections. The editors introduce the volume with a newly revised, interpretive overview of social theory today.

The New Social Theory Reader is an essential, reliable guide to current theoretical debates.

chapter |30 pages


BySteven Seidman, Jeffrey C. Alexander

part Part One|77 pages

General theory without foundations

part |17 pages

New Critical Theory

chapter Chapter 1|9 pages

Contributions to a Discourse Theory of Law and Democracy

ByJürgen Habermas

chapter Chapter 2|7 pages

Personal Identity and Disrespect

ByAxel Honneth

part |22 pages

Semiotic Structuralism

chapter Chapter 3|9 pages

Historical Metaphors and Mythical Realities

ByMarshall Sahlins

chapter Chapter 4|12 pages

On Ethnographic Allegory

ByJames Clifford

part |15 pages


chapter Chapter 5|7 pages


ByMichel Foucault

chapter Chapter 6|7 pages

Outline of a Theory of Practice

ByPierre Bourdieu

part |21 pages

Cultural Studies

chapter Chapter 7|13 pages

Cultural Studies

ByStuart Hall

chapter Chapter 8|7 pages

The Political Unconscious

Narrative as a socially symbolic act
ByFredric Jameson

part Part Two|54 pages

The normative turn

part |18 pages


chapter Chapter 9|11 pages

A Defense of Pluralism and Equality

ByMichael Walzer

chapter Chapter 10|6 pages

Political Liberalism

ByJohn Rawls

part |17 pages


chapter Chapter 11|8 pages

Whose Justice? Which Rationality?

ByAlasdair MacIntyre

chapter Chapter 12|8 pages

Postmodern Ethics

ByZygmunt Bauman

part |17 pages


chapter Chapter 13|9 pages

Pragmatism, Relativism, and Irrationalism

ByRichard Rorty

chapter Chapter 14|7 pages

Feminism and the Question of Postmodernism

BySeyla Benhabib

part Part Three|64 pages

Rethinking power

part |22 pages


chapter Chapter 15|13 pages

Imitation and Gender Insubordination

ByJudith Butler

chapter Chapter 16|8 pages

Performance and Power 1

ByJeffrey C. Alexander

part |19 pages


chapter Chapter 17|9 pages

From Redistribution to Recognition?

Dilemmas of justice in a 'postsocialist' age
ByNancy Fraser

chapter Chapter 18|9 pages

Queer Politics

ByDavid Halperin

part |21 pages


chapter Chapter 19|12 pages

The Body and the Reproduction of Femininity

A feminist appropriation of Foucault
BySusan R. Bordo

chapter Chapter 20|8 pages

The Politics of Life Itself

ByNikolas Rose

part Part Four|123 pages

Societies and world order

part |14 pages


chapter Chapter 21|5 pages

Simulacra and Simulations

ByJean Baudrillard

chapter Chapter 22|8 pages

The Condition of Postmodernity

ByDavid Harvey

part |17 pages

Civil Society

chapter Chapter 23|8 pages

The Utopia of Civil Society

ByJean L. Cohen, Andrew Arato

chapter Chapter 24|8 pages

Global Civil Society

An answer to war
ByMary Kaldor

part |21 pages


chapter Chapter 25|9 pages

Justice and the Politics of Difference

ByIris Marion Young

chapter Chapter 26|11 pages

Multicultural Citizenship

ByWill Kymlicka

part |16 pages


chapter Chapter 27|7 pages

Imagined Communities

Reflections on the origin and spread of nationalism
ByBenedict Anderson

chapter Chapter 28|8 pages

Whose Imagined Community?

ByPartha Chatterjee

part |17 pages

World Politics

chapter Chapter 29|7 pages

The End of History?

ByFrancis Fukuyama

chapter Chapter 30|9 pages

The Clash of Civilizations?

BySamuel P. Huntington

part |21 pages


chapter Chapter 31|10 pages

A New Society

ByManuel Castells

chapter Chapter 32|10 pages

The Cosmopolitan Perspective

ByUlrich Beck

part |15 pages


chapter Chapter 33|6 pages

From Direct to Indirect Rule

ByMahmood Mamdani

chapter Chapter 34|8 pages

Return to Empire

The new U.S. imperialism in comparative historical perspective
ByGeorge Steinmetz

part Part Five|84 pages


part |15 pages


chapter Chapter 35|8 pages

Modernity and Self-Identity: Self and Society in the Late Modern Age

ByAnthony Giddens

chapter Chapter 36|6 pages

The Making of Modern Identity

ByCharles Taylor

part |21 pages


chapter Chapter 37|7 pages

Gender as a Social Practice

ByR.W. Connell

chapter Chapter 38|13 pages

“Westernization”, Respect for Cultures and Third-World Feminists

ByUma Narayan

part |15 pages


chapter Chapter 39|6 pages

Theorizing Heteroand Homosexuality

ByDiana Fuss

chapter Chapter 40|8 pages

From Identity to Queer Politics: Shifts in Normative Heterosexuality

BySteven Seidman

part |18 pages


chapter Chapter 41|11 pages

Racial Formation

ByMichael Omi, Howard Winant

chapter Chapter 42|6 pages

The Mirage of an Unmarked Whiteness

ByRuth Frankenberg

part |13 pages


chapter Chapter 43|4 pages


ByEdward Said

chapter Chapter 44|8 pages

Postcolonial Melancholia

ByPaul Gilroy