Since Durkheim’s influential work a century ago, sociological theory has been among the most integrative and useful tools for social scientists across many disciplines. Sociological theory has nevertheless, due to its usefulness, expanded so very broadly that some wonder whether the concept of "general theory," or even the attempt to link middle-range theories, is still of any use. This book, a collection of top theorists reflecting on the present and future of the craft, addresses this most important question.

Taking their lead from Jonathan Turner’s important recent work, and drawing on their own broad experience, Seth Abrutyn and Kevin McCaffree have organized the chapters in this book from the general, integrative and review-focused bookend chapters to more specific chapters on innovations in theory construction at the micro, meso and macro levels. Moreover, the book’s microsociological content on interpersonal violence, solidarity, identity and emotion coheres with chapters in mesosociological dynamics on class, education and networks, which in turn integrate with the chapters on inequality, justice, morality and cultural evolution found in the section on macrosociology. The distinguished contributors share a distinct commitment to the development, innovation and relevance of general sociological theory. This volume is an invaluable sourcebook for advanced students and social science faculty interested in understanding how sociological theory’s past and present are informing its future.

chapter |11 pages


The Centripetal Force of Theory, Theorists, Theorizing
BySeth Abrutyn, Kevin McCaffree

part I|137 pages

Theoretical Sociology

chapter Chapter 1|22 pages

Sociological Theory Must Continue to Become More Interdisciplinary

ByKevin McCaffree

chapter Chapter 2|3 pages

Kevin McCaffree on Interdisciplinary Theorizing

ByJonathan Turner

chapter Chapter 3|40 pages

Evolution as a Key to Process Sociology

Relational Sociology According to History
ByErika Summers-Effler

chapter Chapter 4|4 pages

Erika Summers-Effler’s Comments on Evolutionary Analysis

ByJonathan Turner

chapter Chapter 5|37 pages

Beware of Fads and Fashions

A Case for Macro-Evolutionary Sociology
BySeth Abrutyn

chapter Chapter 6|8 pages

Seth Abrutyn on Macro Theorizing

ByJonathan Turner

chapter Chapter 7|15 pages

Jonathan Turner’s Macro-Micro-Meso Theory

ByRandall Collins

chapter Chapter 8|6 pages

Randall Collins on Micro-Meso-Macro Theorizing

ByJonathan Turner

part II|165 pages

Foundational Areas of Inquiry

chapter Chapter 9|20 pages

Theorizing Nested Group Ties *

ByEdward J. Lawler, Shane R. Thye, Jeongkoo Yoon

chapter Chapter 10|6 pages

Lawler, Thye, and Yoon on Theorizing Nested Group Ties

ByJonathan Turner

chapter Chapter 11|27 pages

Social Exchange Theory

Current Status and Future Directions
ByKaren S. Cook, Michael Hahn

chapter Chapter 12|3 pages

Karen S. Cook and Michael Hahn on Exchange Theory

ByJonathan Turner

chapter Chapter 13|35 pages

Inequality and Justice

ByGuillermina Jasso

chapter Chapter 14|3 pages

Guillermina Jasso on Inequality and Justice

ByJonathan Turner

chapter Chapter 15|30 pages

The Microsociology of Self and Identity

ByPeter J. Burke, Jan E. Stets

chapter Chapter 16|5 pages

Peter J. Burke and Jan E. Stets on Self and Identity

ByJonathan Turner

chapter Chapter 17|32 pages

Humanizing Sociological Theory

A 21st-Century Solution to a 20th-Century Problem Yet to Be Solved
ByRichard Machalek

chapter Chapter 18|2 pages

Richard Machalek on Bringing Biology Back Into Sociology

ByJonathan Turner

part III|31 pages

The Social Processes of Knowledge Production

chapter Chapter 19|11 pages

Reflections on Turner and Theory Development

ByMichael J. Carter

chapter Chapter 20|10 pages

Theoretical Sociology of Jonathan Turner

ByRebecca S.K. Li

chapter Chapter 21|8 pages

General Impressions About Turner’s Teaching, Research, and Influence

ByMichael L. Walker

part IV|13 pages


chapter Chapter 22|5 pages

On Jonathan Turner

A Brief Personal Biography
ByAlexandra Maryanski

chapter Chapter 23|6 pages

On Becoming and Being a General Theorist in Sociology

A Most Improbable Journey
ByJonathan Turner