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Teaching Yourself Social Theory
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Teaching Yourself Social Theory

First Edition

Other Titles in:
Social Theory

December 2002 | 256 pages | SAGE Publications Ltd
`Social theory is a very difficult subject to teach and it is one that students generally find hard to get to grips with. Teaching Yourself Social Theory offers a highly original and comprehensive resource that will be welcomed by students and teachers alike' - Barry Smart, University of Portsmouth

`I have no hesitation in recommending Harris' text to students and teachers of social theory' - Sociology

This refreshing and accessible text demonstrates how social theory can be made into an intelligible discourse that touches upon key aspects of everyday life. The abstraction and formalism of much contemporary social theory is criticized as unnecessarily `scholastic' for the beginner. The author maintains that the main problems in studying the subject are not intrinsic to social theory, but derive from how the subject is taught as a university discipline. This lively book uses non-specialist terms to introduce more complex themes, and incorporates a Website with questions and reading guides to some of the classic works.

 
Introduction
 
PART ONE
 
Economic Constraints
Marxism and the Mode of Production  
 
Moral Constraints
Functionalism  
 
PART TWO
 
The Emergent Qualities of Social Life
Weber and Elias  
 
Theorizing Subjective Action
 
PART THREE
 
Weber, Class and the Politics of Closure
 
The Turn to Gramsci
 
Critical Theory, Positivism and Critique
 
Feminism(s)
 
The Politics of Otherness
 
Foucault
 
Politics in the `Everyday'
 
PART FOUR
 
Language Games and Linguistic Turns
 
Hitting the `Posts'

`Social theory is a very difficult subject to teach and it is one that students generally find hard to get to grips with. Teach Yourself Social Theory offers a highly original and comprehensive resource that will be welcomed by students and teachers alike. In an exceptionally wide-ranging text that discusses the classical and contemporary contributions to social theory that students need to know about Harris manages to address the complex issues intrinsic to the field with admirable clarity. From the opening chapters on Marxism and Functionalism to the later chapters on Feminism, Otherness, Foucault, and Postmodernism Teach Yourself Social Theory offers a thoughtful account of the distinctive features of the various perspectives employed in contemporary social analysis to make sense of social life.

Teach Yourself Social Theory offers students a well-organized cognitive map of the landscape of social theory and where and when appropriate more specific online reading guides that will allow students to deepen their understanding of particular perspectives and approaches. Harris has produced a very effective social theory text that will be widely appreciated by both students and teachers' - Barry Smart, Professor of Sociology, University of Portsmouth

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