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Social Theory

Social Theory
Central Issues in Sociology

First Edition
  • John Scott - Visiting Professor, University of Essex, UK, University of Exeter, UK, The University of Copenhagen, Denmark

December 2005 | 320 pages | SAGE Publications Ltd
"John Scott has provided us with an encyclopaedic tour through the foundations and development of social theory which cautions against the contemporary fragmentation of academic work and demonstrates the continued value of sociology's heritage. The book will become a key resource for students and scholars alike." - Barry Smart, Portsmouth University

This is a comprehensive, critical review of social theory that places leading contributions in their larger context. Written predominantly for students, the scope and range of the subjects and authors dealt with results in one of the most comprehensive introductions to social theory published to date.

Ranging from the philosophical foundations of sociology and the discovery of 'the social' to distinctive sociological approaches, to the significance of issues pertaining to gender and patriarchy, to questions of modernity and post-modernity, the book is comprehensive in subject matter. Among the distinctive features of the book are:

  • Clarity of exposition from a well-known and respected commentator in the field
  • Focus boxes to facilitate comprehension
  • Tremendous range of material
  • Powerful organization of the material around key organizing principles

The book is a major accomplishment which will quickly establish itself as the key set text in Sociology and Social Theory courses.

Social Theory: Should We Forget the Founders?
Genealogy of the Social
Renaissance and Enlightenment

Britain: Individualism and Romanticism

France: Revolution and Science

Germany: Counter-Enlightenment and Reaction

The Social Established

Social Theory goes Global

Culture, System and Socialisation: Formative Views
Culture and Collective Mentality

Cultural Development and Differentiation

Social Systems as Organisms

Social Systems, Forces, and Engery

Socialisation and Enculturation

Action, Conflict and Nature: Formative Views
Action, Interaction, and the Interpersonal

Conflict and Collective Action

Nature, Environment and Bodies

Culture, System, and Socialisation: Developments
Culture, Social Structure, and Lifeworlds

General Systems, Functions, and Complexity

Socialisation, Self, and Mentality

Action, Conflict, and Nature: Developments
Environment and Space

Body and Embodiment

Action, Strategy, and Performance

Conflict, Change, and History

Modernity and Rationalisation
Modernity as Rationalisation

Rationalisation and Political Structures

Economic Rationalisation

Rationalisation and Societal Communities

The Inevitability of Modernity

Intimations of Post-Modernity
Aesthetic Modernism and Post-Modernism

Late Capitalism, Disorganisation, and the Consumer Society

Knowledge Society and the Post-Modern Sensibility

Reflexivity, Individualisation, and Risk

Transnational Networks and Global Flows


"This will be a major resource for anyone interested in the theoretical dimensions of social policy.  The theorists whose work is described have almost invariably had an effect on the real world of policy and politics, and anyone concerned with social policy issues should be familiar with their ideas.  The book's encyclopedic scope is a major strength, as is the author's ability to condense this material into an interesting and readable format.  It makes a major contribution to the literature and should be widely consulted."

James Midgley
Journal of Sociology and Social Welfare

"John Scott has provided us with an encyclopaedic tour through the foundations and development of social theory which cautions against the contemporary fragmentation of academic work and demonstrates the continued value of sociology's heritage. The book will become a key resource for students and scholars alike."

Barry Smart
Portsmouth University

This book provides an excellent overview of some of the most important sociological issues and weaves together the theories of important and influential sociologist. It is also written in an easily accessible way for undergraduate students.

Dr Michael Rees
Humanities, Languages & Social Science, Wolverhampton University
October 19, 2016

A fabulous text by Scott that provides a perfect foundation to readers of Sociology. The book has been recommended to students of the BA (Hons) Sociology at our institution.
Thank You

Mr Adam Spiller
Teacher Education, Peterborough Regional College
July 21, 2014

This book examines and provides clarity to social theory from a range of theorists- a good text for all wanting to get to grips with theories

Mrs Nadia Dossa
other, University of West London
February 4, 2013

Excellent for both tutors and undergraduates. Theory is tricky for undergraduates and this book helps to make it more understandable. Good!

Mr Michael Mahadeo
Dept of Sociology & Appl'd Soc Studies, Ulster University
May 9, 2012

a comprehensive guide to social theory giving a clear overview of leading theories

Mrs Lesley Prowse
Education , Sandwell College
November 24, 2009

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ISBN: 9780761970880

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