Studies in Social and Political Theory RLE Social Theory

Author: Anthony Giddens
Publisher: Routledge
ISBN: 1317650646
Format: PDF, ePub
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The studies which comprise this book are essentially organized around a critical encounter with European social theory in its 'classical period' – i.e. from the middle years of the nineteenth century until the First World War – and have the aim of working out some of the implications of that encounter for the position and prospects of the social sciences today. The issues involved relate to the following series of problems: method and epistemology; social development and transformation; the origins of 'sociology' in nineteenth-century social theory; and the status of social science as critique. In each of these areas, Giddens develops views that challenge existing orthodoxies, and connects these ideas to a reconstruction of social theory in the contemporary era.

Talcott Parsons on Economy and Society RLE Social Theory

Author: Bryan S. Turner
Publisher: Routledge
ISBN: 1317652266
Format: PDF, Mobi
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'In this remarkable collection of essays, Holton and Turner demonstrate that Parsonian sociology addresses the most central problems of our time – issues of sickness and health, power and inequality, the nature of capitalism and its possible alternatives. They develop a mature and original perspective on Parsons as the only classical theorist who avoided crippling nostalgia. Holton and Turner not only talk about Parsonian sociology in a profound and insightful way, they do it, and do it well. As sociology moves away from the rigid dichotomies of earlier debate, this book will help point the way.' – Jeffrey Alexander, Professor and Director of Graduate Studies in Sociology, UCLA

The Family Politics and Social Theory RLE Social Theory

Author: D.H.J. Morgan
Publisher: Routledge
ISBN: 1317651901
Format: PDF, ePub, Mobi
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This book explores and clarifies all the major issues and developments within ‘family theorising’. It covers the extraordinary growth and variety of approaches to the family over the last decade, the most significant being the impact of feminism and the professional and state intervention into the family through marital and family therapy. The author focuses on the growth of family counselling, giving a detailed analysis of the Home Office publication, Marriage Matters. He looks at the rapid growth of historical studies of the family, European theoretical developments, the work of the Rapoports, the role of systems theorising, and phenomenological and critical approaches to the family. He shows the relevance of family theorising for contemporary debates about the state of marriage and the family, and argues for the centrality of ‘family themes’ within wider sociological debates.

Science and the Sociology of Knowledge RLE Social Theory

Author: Michael Mulkay
Publisher: Routledge
ISBN: 1317651170
Format: PDF, ePub, Docs
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How far is scientific knowledge a product of social life? In addressing this question, the major contributors to the sociology of knowledge have agreed that the conclusions of science are dependent on social action only in a very special and limited sense. In Science and the Sociology of Knowledge Michael Mulkay's first aim is to identify the philosophical assumptions which have led to this view of science as special; and to present a systematic critique of the standard philosophical account of science, showing that there are no valid epistemological grounds for excluding scientific knowledge from the scope of sociological analysis. The rest of the book is devoted to developing a preliminary interpretation of the social creation of scientific knowledge. The processes of knowledge-creation are delineated through a close examination of recent case studies of scientific developments. Dr Mulkay argues that knowledge is produced by means of negotiation, the outcome of which depends on the participants' use of social as well as technical resources. The analysis also shows how cultural resources are taken over from the broader social milieu and incorporated into the body of certified knowledge; and how, in the political context of society at large, scientists' technical as well as social claims are conditioned and affected by their social position.

Theories of Industrial Society RLE Social Theory

Author: Richard Badham
Publisher: Routledge
ISBN: 1317650522
Format: PDF, ePub
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The concept of industrial society plays a dominant role in the social sciences. The ‘Great Divide’ between pre-industrial and industrial societies is commonly assumed to be the main bridge separating modern societies from the past, and distinguishing ‘developed’ from ‘undeveloped’ states in the present era. In history, economics, politics and sociology the concept of industrial society underlies a wide variety of discussions, particularly those relating to economic development and social progress. Outside academic writing, too, the concept exerts a great deal of influence. In the developing world, there is a widespread concern to ‘industrialise’, whilst in the developed world there is growing uneasiness as to whether ‘industrialisation’ is beneficial or not, but still the concept is central. This book examines critically the concept of industrial society, its pervasiveness and influence. It reviews all the major theories of industrial society and the research into the changing character of post-industrial societies. It argues that the decision to use the concept severely restricts the social imagination, and that the concept becomes increasingly less useful as criticism of the equating of industrialisation with social progress grows.

Legitimacy and the Politics of the Knowable RLE Social Theory

Author: Roger Holmes
Publisher: Routledge
ISBN: 131765160X
Format: PDF, Kindle
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Roger Holme's work in social and industrial psychology is widely respected. The theme of this first collection of his essays is the relationship of the individual with the formal, value-laden group on the one hand and the scientifically known and the philosophically asserted on the other. Roger Holmes looks at the connexions between these two important relationships and considers them in terms of the interaction between the nature of society and the nature of the knowable. The areas covered include the derivation of social classes, the nature of morale and the emergence of the professions and the trade unions. Subjects relating to the theory of knowledge include the nature of cross-cultural data, the relationship between empiricism and psychoanalysis, and Marxism and the nature of groups. The author's main theoretical influences throughout have been psychoanalysis, which is treated sympathetically but critically, and Piaget; these influences are reflected in the main preoccupations of these essays.

The Shaping of Socio Economic Systems RLE Social Theory

Author: Thomas Baumgartner
Publisher: Routledge
ISBN: 1317651154
Format: PDF, ePub
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Actor-systems dynamics is an innovative, multidisciplinary methodology for investigating and analyzing social struggles over economic resources and the related interplay between economic and socio-political institutions and processes. The authors, sociologists and economists, offer a systemic perspective on contemporary socio-economic issues such as economic crisis, unemployment, inflation, economic democracy and development; in their analyses, they identify several of the key factors that drive people to interact, to initiate change and transformation as well as to resist such change. Major underlying themes in the book are: Conflict over the distribution of economic resources and economic policies and institutions; the structural bases of economic inequality and conflict; the shaping and reshaping of socio-economic institutions, and the contradictions, conflicts and instabilities evoked by such developments; the failure of orthodox economic theories, including Keynesianism, in the face of recurrent economic crises and instabilities; the development and application of an open, dynamic actor-oriented systems theory – grounded in the social sciences – addressing complex socio-economic phenomena in ways diverging substantially from conventional economics. All in all, the papers collected here deal, on the one hand, with social power, conflict, and struggle concerning economic resources and institutions and, on the other hand, the structural and other factors which drive powering initiatives, conflict, and social innovation and transformation. The book is addressed to a broad spectrum of social and managerial scientists concerned with socio-economic issues, institutions, and development.

Functionalism Exchange and Theoretical Strategy RLE Social Theory

Author: Michael Mulkay
Publisher: Routledge
ISBN: 1317651847
Format: PDF, Docs
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M.J. Mulkay traces the development of certain recent versions of functionalism and exchange theory in sociology, with special attention to 'theoretical strategy'. He uses this term to refer to the policies which theorists adopt to ensure that their work contributes to their long range theoretical objectives. Such strategies are important, he believes, because they place limits on the theories with which they are associated. He shows how each of the theorists he studies devised a new strategy to replace the unsuccessful policies of a prior theory in a process of 'strategical dialectic'. This often has unforeseen consequences for the direction of theoretical growth, and the author interprets changes in theoretical perspective largely as products of these strategical innovations.

Sceptical Sociology RLE Social Theory

Author: John Carroll
Publisher: Routledge
ISBN: 1317651219
Format: PDF, Kindle
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John Carroll contends that since 1918 sociology has distinguished itself by making society appear as dull as it is at its worst. Using barbaric jargon, legalistic syntax and vacuous statistical tables, and driven by an obsession with the humdrum, it has exhibited some of the worst traits of the culture it should have been laying bare. Sceptical Sociology examines where sociology went wrong, and what ought to be done to transform it into a worthwhile enterprise. In a series of studies of contemporary Western society, the author puts into practice the principles of a ‘sceptical sociology’. There are enquiries into the cleanliness compulsion among housewives, the conflicting dream and reality of the tourist, the moral centrality of the car, the tactics of the latest shopping palaces. There is an allegory on fur hats, a dark portrait of a typical modern marriage, a putting of intellectuals in their place, and a pursuit of the sociology of space through the universal longing for home. The author contends that sociology ought to be the important stories about a society and its times, well told. Sceptical Sociology attempts to show that it can be well done.

Philosophical Foundations of the Three Sociologies RLE Social Theory

Author: Ted Benton
Publisher: Routledge
ISBN: 1317651421
Format: PDF, ePub, Mobi
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An extended historical and philosophical argument, this book will be a valuable text for all students of the philosophy of the social sciences. It discusses the serious alternatives to positivist and empiricist accounts of the physical sciences, and poses the debate between naturalism and anti-naturalism in the social sciences in new terms. Recent materialist and realist philosophies of science make possible a defence of naturalism which does not make concessions to positivism and which recognizes the force of several of the anti-positivist arguments from the main anti-naturalist (neo-Kantian) tradition. The author presents a critical evaluation of empiricist and positivist theories of knowledge, and investigates some classic attempts at using them to provide the philosophical foundation for a scientific sociology. He takes the Kantian critique of empiricism as the starting point for the main anti-positivist and anti-naturalist philosophical approaches to the social studies. He goes on to investigate the inadequacy of post-Kantian arguments from Rickert, Weber, Winch and others, both against non-positivist forms of naturalism and as the possible source of a distinctive philosophical foundation for the social studies. The book concludes with a critical investigation of the Marxian tradition and an attempt to establish the possibility of a materialist and realist defence of the project of a natural science of history, which escapes the fundamental flaws of both positivist and neo-Kantian attempts at philosophical foundation.