This introduction presents an overview of the key concepts discussed in the subsequent chapters of this book. The book aims to inform about Europe and not necessarily to promote a particular version of the European project. The exploration of contemporary Europe will however involve some comments on the extent to which it is justifiable to talk not of European societies but of European society. The book also aims to sketch some of the most important aspects of contemporary European socio-economic structure. It provides frameworks from sociology and from political economy for understanding the social structure of today’s Europe. The book also provides an account of the different forms of welfare state in Europe and the extent to which they restrain economic inequality: this is the key empirical book. It covers different substantive areas and can be read in isolation.