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Sociological Theory

Sociological Theory

11th Edition

Other Titles in:
Sociology (General)

February 2021 | 952 pages | SAGE Publications, Inc

The authors are proud sponsors of the SAGE Keith Roberts Teaching Innovations Award—enabling graduate students and early career faculty to attend the annual ASA pre-conference teaching and learning workshop.

Sociological Theory gives readers a comprehensive overview of the major theorists and schools of sociological thought, from sociology's 19th century origins through the early 21st century. Written by an author team that includes one of the leading contemporary thinkers, the text integrates key theories with with biographical sketches of theorists, placing them in historical and intellectual context.

Chapter 1 A Historical Sketch of Sociological Theory: The Early Years
Chapter 2 Karl Marx
Chapter 3 Emile Durkheim
Chapter 4 Max Weber
Chapter 5 Georg Simmel
Chapter 6 A Historical Sketch of Sociological Theory: The Later Years
Chapter 7 Structural Functionalism, Systems Theory, and Conflict Theory
Chapter 8 Varieties of Neo-Marxian Theory
Chapter 9 Symbolic Interactionism
Chapter 10 Ethnomethodology
Chapter 11 Exchange, Network, and Rational Choice Theories
Chapter 12 Contemporary Feminist Theory (by Patricia Madoo Lengermann and Gillian Niebrugge)
Chapter 13 Micro-Macro and Agency-Structure Integration
Chapter 14 Contemporary Theories of Modernity
Chapter 15 Structuralism, Poststructuralism, and Postmodern Social Theory
Chapter 16 Theories of Race and Colonialism
Chapter 17 Globalization Theory
Chapter 18 Science, Technology, and Nature
Key features


  • A clear, unbiased style of presenting sociological theory, which Ritzer's readers have come to expect, makes the text accessible to students.
  • The comprehensive approach covers all of the major schools of thought, as well as the key works and concepts associated with each.
  • Chronological organization allows for easy use of supplementary readers to enhance classroom discussion or to broaden students' understanding of theories and concepts.
  • Biographical boxes help students place sociological theories within a personal and social context.

In order to improve the flow of the text the chapter on poststructuralism and postmodernism (formerly Ch. 17, now Ch.15) has been moved to follow the chapter on modernity (chapter 14). 

The discussion of queer theory, formerly part of Ch. 18, has been moved into the chapter on postructuralism and postmodernism (Ch. 15).

Ch. 1 has several new additions: a stand-alone section on Ibn Khaldun to provide the reader with an example of premodern sociological theory; a section on Harriet Martineau to better contextualize her feminist writings within the history of sociological thought; and a section on “non-European” classical theory.

There are new biographies on Ibn Khaldun (Ch. 1) Hannah Ardent (Ch. 6), Raewyn Connell (Ch 12). Bruno Latour (Ch.18), and Donna Haraway (Ch. 18).

Ch. 12 has been updated with new sections on Hegemonic Masculinity, Postcolonial feminism, and Neoliberalism.

Ch. 17, on globalization, includes a new section on the work of historical comparative sociologist Saskia Sassen and her concepts of the global city and expulsions.

Ch. 18 has been redesigned with a focus on science, technology, nature, and consumption and an opening discussion of the relevance of these themes for sociological theory. The largest new addition is a section on Theories of the Anthropocene, a set of theories that theorize the connection between climate change and human society

The Ch. 18 section on actor-network theory and posthumanism has been significantly rewritten with a more detailed focus on Bruno Latour and Donna Haraway, especially Haraway’s work on cyborgs and companion species.

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