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Classical and Contemporary Sociological Theory

Classical and Contemporary Sociological Theory
Text and Readings

Third Edition
Additional resources:

Other Titles in:
Sociology (General)

December 2015 | 896 pages | SAGE Publications, Inc
Proud sponsor of the 2019 SAGE Keith Roberts Teaching Innovations Award—enabling graduate students and early career faculty to attend the annual ASA pre-conference teaching and learning workshop.

Classical and Contemporary Sociological Theory, Third Edition
is a text/reader that introduces students to the ideas and writings of key theorists from sociology’s 19th century founders through the present. Authors Scott Appelrouth and Laura Desfor Edles combine original texts, edited for classroom use, with extensive framing discussions that provide crucial biographical, historical, and theoretical context for readings. The book also provides an overarching scaffolding that students can use to examine, compare, and contrast each theorist’s major themes and concepts. This unique format, combined with frequent use of photos, tables, and diagrams, makes Classical and Contemporary Sociological Theory in the Contemporary Era a lively, engaging, and “student-friendly” introduction to the world of theory.  

Contributor to the SAGE Teaching Innovations and Professional Development Award  

Find out more at
List of Illustrations and Photos
List of Figures and Tables
About the Authors
Chapter 1: Introduction
Part I: Foundations of Classical Sociological Theory
Chapter 2: Karl Marx (1818-1883)
Chapter 3: Émile Durkheim (1858–1917)
Chapter 4: Max Weber (1864-1920)
Part II: Classical Sociological Theory: Expanding the Foundation
Chapter 5: Charlotte Perkins Gilman (1860–1935)
Chapter 6: Georg Simmel (1858-1918)
Chapter 7: W.E.B Du Bois (1868-1963)
Chapter 8: George Herbert Mead (1863-1931)
Part III: Twentieth-Century Sociological Traditions
Chapter 9: Structural Functionalism
Talcott C. Parsons  
Robert K. Merton  
Chapter 10: Critical Theory
Max Horkheimer  
Theodor Adorno  
Herbert Marcuse  
Jürgen Habermas  
Patricia Hill Collins  
Chapter 11: Exchange and Rational Choice Theories
George C. Homans  
Peter M. Blau  
James S. Coleman  
Chapter 12: Symbolic Interactionism and Dramaturgy
Erving Goffman  
Arlie Russell Hochschild  
Chapter 13: Phenomenology
Alfred Schutz  
Peter L. Berger and Thomas Luckmann  
Dorothy E. Smith  
Chapter 14: Poststructuralism
Michel Foucault  
Pierre Bourdieu  
Edward Said  
Chapter 15: Postmodernism
Jean Baudrillard  
Jean-François Lyotard  
Judith Butler  
Chapter 16: The Global Society
Immanuel Wallerstein  
George Ritzer  
Anthony Giddens  
Glossary and Terminology


Instructor Site

Password-protected Instructor Resources include the following:

  • Test banks provide a diverse range of pre-written options as well as the opportunity to edit any question and/or insert your own personalized questions to effectively assess students’ progress and understanding
  • Chapter-specific PowerPoint® slides offer assistance with lecture and review preparation by highlighting essential content, features, and artwork from the book.
  • Chapter-specific discussion questions help launch conversation by prompting students to engage with the material and by reinforcing important content.
  • Suggested Writing Assignments for individual or group projects provide lively and stimulating ideas for use in and out of class reinforce active learning.
  • Tables and Figures are available in an easily-downloadable format for use in papers, hand-outs, and presentations

This text offers the both a sound and clear summary of the key ideas for each theorist and an opportunity for students to read excerpts from the original works so that they can "hear" the voices of the theorists themselves. (Even though I had one student comment that she felt like she was being yelled at in German for the first few weeks :-))
I do not find the analytic frame that Applerouth and Edles use to compare theories especially helpful, however can appreciate that some folks do need a frame to make sense of things.

Kate Krug
Anthropologysociology Dept, Cape Breton University
May 24, 2018

Robust, in-depth coverage of both classical and contemporary sociological theory.

Mrs Sarah Mullins
Social Science , North Lindsey College
June 3, 2016

A good text, interesting new thoeries

Ms Lorna Harris
Hillsborough College, Sheffield College
April 26, 2016

Sample Materials & Chapters

Chapter 1

Chapter 14

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ISBN: 9781452203621