In this comprehensive and clear introduction to contemporary social theory, Anthony Elliott and Charles Lemert explore the major theoretical traditions from the Frankfurt School to the digital revolution and beyond. Fully revised and updated, this second edition has been expanded to consider the most recent developments in social theory, including a new chapter on the digital revolution and the increasingly significant impact of technological developments (such as artificial intelligence, machine learning and robotics) on society, culture and politics.

Introduction to Contemporary Social Theory provides the reader with a superb overview of key developments in social theory, including the Frankfurt School, American pragmatism, structuralism, post-structuralism, feminism, globalization and world-systems theory. In doing so, the textbook explores the ideas of a wide range of social theorists, including Theodor Adorno, Herbert Marcuse, Talcott Parsons, Erving Goffman, Harold Garfinkel, Michel Foucault, Jacques Lacan, Jacques Derrida, C. Wright Mills, Anthony Giddens, Pierre Bourdieu, Julia Kristeva, Jürgen Habermas, Judith Butler, Slavoj Žižek, Manuel Castells, Cornel West, Immanuel Wallerstein and Zygmunt Bauman.

This textbook provides stylish exposition with powerful social critique and original insights. It will be indispensable to students and academics alike.

chapter 1|16 pages

The textures of society

chapter 2|21 pages

The contemporary relevance of the classics

chapter 3|31 pages

The Frankfurt School

chapter 4|32 pages

American pragmatisms

chapter 5|34 pages


chapter 6|18 pages

Structures, functions and culture

chapter 7|30 pages


chapter 8|30 pages

The interaction order

chapter 9|30 pages

Theories of structuration

chapter 11|28 pages

Contemporary critical theory

chapter 12|41 pages

Feminism and post-feminist theory

chapter 13|35 pages


chapter 15|38 pages

Networks, risks, liquids

chapter 16|33 pages


chapter 17|28 pages

The digital revolution

Posthumanism and beyond

chapter |10 pages


Social Theory Today and Towards 2050