This textbook offers a new approach to understanding social theory. Framed around paired theoretical perspectives on a series of sociological problems, the book shows how distinctive viewpoints shed light on different facets of social phenomena. The book includes sociology’s "founding fathers", major 20th-century thinkers and recent voices such as Butler and Zizek. Philosophically grounded and focused on interpretation and analysis, the book provides a clear understanding of theory’s scope while developing students’ skills in evaluating, applying and comparing theories.

chapter 1|13 pages

What is sociology?

chapter 2|21 pages

Capitalism and alienation

Marx and Weber

chapter 3|19 pages

Recognition and anomie

Durkheim and Honneth

chapter 4|18 pages

Social interaction and marginalisation

Simmel and the Chicago School

chapter 5|19 pages

Power and stratification

Foucault and Bourdieu

chapter 6|17 pages

System and differentiation

Luhmann and Habermas

chapter 7|19 pages

State and market

Althusser and Boltanski & Chiapello

chapter 8|17 pages

Uncertainty and risk

Bauman and Beck

chapter 9|17 pages

The reflective self

Goffman and Giddens

chapter 10|18 pages

Family and work

Sennett and Hochschild

chapter 11|18 pages

Gender, body and identity

Butler and Haraway

chapter 12|23 pages

Factish and fetish

Latour and Žižek

chapter 13|26 pages

Sociology as an analytic praxis