This book offers a comprehensive overview of the major theoretical perspectives in contemporary sociology, covering schools of thought or intellectual movements within the discipline, as well as the work of individual scholars. The author provides not only a rigorous exposition of each theory, but also an examination of the scholarly reception of the approach in question, considering both critical responses and defences in order to reach a balanced evaluation. Chapters cover the following theorists and perspectives: ¢ Alexander ¢ Bourdieu ¢ Ethnomethodology ¢ Exchange Theory ¢ Foucault ¢ Giddens ¢ Goffman ¢ Habermas ¢ Luhmann ¢ Merton ¢ Network and Social Capital Theory ¢ Parsons ¢ Rational Choice Theory ¢ Schutz and Phenomenalism ¢ Structuralism ¢ Symbolic Interactionism An accessible and informative treatment of the central approaches in sociology over the course of the last century, this volume marks a significant contribution to sociological theory and constitutes an essential addition to library collections in the areas of the history of sociology and contemporary social theory.

chapter 1|20 pages

The Neofunctionalism of Jeffrey Alexander

chapter 2|18 pages

Pierre Bourdieu (1930–2002)

chapter 3|15 pages


chapter 4|23 pages

Exchange Theory

chapter 5|33 pages

Michel Foucault (1926–1984)

chapter 6|31 pages

Anthony Giddens

chapter 7|14 pages

Erving Goffman (1922–1982)

chapter 8|28 pages

Jürgen Habermas

chapter 9|24 pages

Niklas Luhmann (1927–1998)

chapter 10|19 pages

Robert K. Merton (1910–2003)

chapter 11|24 pages

Network and Social Capital Theory

chapter 12|26 pages

Talcott Parsons (1902–1979)

chapter 13|23 pages

Rational Choice Theory

chapter 16|22 pages

Symbolic Interactionism