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Contemporary Sociological Theory and Its Classical Roots


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1. Introduction Part I CLASSICAL BACKGROUND TO CONTEMPORARY THEORY 2. Classical Grand Theories Auguste Comte: The Law of the Three Stages Biographical Sketch Box: Key Concept: Positivism Emile Durkheim: From Mechanical to Organic Solidarity Biographical Sketch Box: Key Concept: Social Facts Box: A Neat Distinction: The Sacred and the Profane Herbert Spencer: Compounding and from Militant to Industrial Society Biographical Sketch Box: An Unfortunate Idea: Survival-of-the-Fittest Karl Marx: From Capitalism to Communism Biographical Sketch Box: A Key Concept: Dialectical Materialism Max Weber: The Rationalization of Society Biographical Sketch Box: Key Concepts: The Ideal Type and the Ideal-Typical Bureaucracy Georg Simmel: The Growing Tragedy of Culture Biographical Sketch Thorstein Veblen: From Industry to Business Biographical Sketch BOX: Key Concepts: Conspicuous Leisure and Conspicuous Consumption 3. Classical Theories of Everyday Life Max Weber: Social Action Box: Key Concept: Verstehen Georg Simmel: Association Box: Key Concept: Secrecy George Herbert Mead: Social Behaviorism Biographical Sketch Other Key Ideas Associated with the Chicago School Biographical Sketch: Charles Horton Cooley Talcott Parsons: Action Theory Biographical Sketch Alfred Schutz; The Lifeworld Biographical Sketch Part II CONTEMPORARY THEORY 4. Contemporary Theoretical Portraits of the Social World Structural Functionalism The Functional Theory of Stratification and Its Critics Talcott Parsons's Structural Functionalism Robert Merton's Structural Functionalism Biographical Sketch Conflict Theory The Work of Ralf Dahrendorf Niklas Luhmann's General System Theory Autopoietic Systems Society and Psychic Systems Differentiation 5. Contemporary Grand Theories A Structural Functional Theory of Change: Talcott Parsons on Social Evolution Neo-Marxian Theory Critical Theory and the Emergence of the "Culture Industry" Monopoly Capitalism: The Changing Nature of the Capitalist Economy From Fordism to Post-Fordism Rational Choice Theory: James Coleman and the Rise of the Corporate Actor Biographical Sketch Micro-Macro Analysis: Norbert Elias and the Civilizing Process Biographical Sketch Analyzing Modernity: Jurgen Habermas and the Colonization of the Life World Biographical Sketch Analyzing Modernity: Anthony Giddens' "Juggernaut" and Ulrich Beck's Risk Society Biographical Sketch: Anthony Giddens Analyzing Modernity: George Ritzer's "McDonaldization of Society" Analyzing Modernity: Manuel Castells' Informationalism and the Network Society 6. Contemporary Theories of Everyday Life Dramaturgy (And Other Aspects of Symbolic Interaction): Erving Goffman Biographical Sketch Ethnomethodology and Conversation Analysis: Harold Garfinkel Biographical Sketch Exchange Theory: George Homans Biographical Sketch Rational Choice Theory: James Coleman The Everyday World from a Feminist Perspective Modernity, Identity and Intimacy: Anthony Giddens 7. Contemporary Integrative Theories The Micro Foundations of Macrosociology Autobiographical Sketch: Randall Collins The Work of Richard Emerson and His Disciples on a More Integrated Exchange Theory Biographical Sketch: Richard Emerson Toward a More Integrative Rational Choice Theory: James Coleman Structuration Theory: Anthony Giddens Culture and Agency: Margaret Archer Habitus and Field: Pierre Bourdieu Biographical Sketch: Pierre Bourdieu Colonization of the Life-World: Jurgen Habermas An Integrated Feminist Sociological Theory 8. Contemporary Feminist Theories The Basic Theoretical Questions Contemporary Feminist Grand Theories Gender Difference Cultural Feminism Explanatory Theories Existential and Phenomenological Analyses Gender Inequality Liberal Feminism Biographical Sketch: Jessie Bernard Gender Oppression Psychoanalytic Feminism Radical Feminism Biographical Sketch: Dorothy E. Smith Structural Oppression Socialist Feminism Intersectionality Theory Biographical Sketch: Patricia Hill Collins 9. Postmodern Grand Theories Toward Postmodern Grand Narratives: Daniel Bell and the Transition from Industrial to Post-Industrial Society Postmodern Analysis: Michel Foucault and Increasing "Governmentality" Biographical Sketch From Modern to Postmodern: Zygmunt Bauman Postmodern Analysis: Jean Baudrillard's Rise of Consumer Society, Loss of "Symbolic Exchange" and Increase in "Simulations" Postmodern Analysis: The Consumer Society and the New Means of Consumption Biographical Sketch: George Ritzer Feminism and Postmodern Social Theory

About the Author

George Ritzer is Distinguished University Professor at the University of Maryland where he has also been a Distinguished Scholar-Teacher and won a Teaching Excellence Award. He was awarded the 2000 Distinguished Contributions to Teaching Award by the American Sociological Association. He has served as Chair of two Sections of the American Sociological Association- Organizations and Occupations and Theoretical Sociology. In addition to The McDonaldization of Society (1993, 1996, 2000; translated into a dozen languages), his other efforts to apply social theory to the everyday realms of the economy and consumption include Expressing America: A Critique of the Global Credit Card Society (1995), The McDonaldization Thesis: Explorations and Extensions (1998), and Enchanting a Disenchanted World: Revolutionizing the Means of Consumption (1999). At the other end of the spectrum, his contributions to metatheorizing include Sociology: A Multiple Paradigm Science (1975), Toward an Integrated Sociological Paradigm (1981), and Metatheorizing in Sociology (1991). He has recently edited The Blackwell Companion to Major Social Theorists (2000), as well as The Handbook of Social Theory (with Barry Smart), and is co-founding editor (with Don Slater) of the Journal of Consumer Culture. In 2001 Sage of England published two volumes of his collected works- Explorations in Social Theory: From Metatheorizing to Rationalization and Explorations in the Sociology of Consumption: Fast Food Restaurants, Credit Cards and Casinos. Among his forthcoming works are the Handbook of International Social Problems and the two-volume Encyclopedia of Social Theory. His next original book, The Globalization of Nothing: So Many Making So Much of So Little will be published in 2003. In 2002 McGraw-Hill published Ritzer's Contemporary Sociological Theory and Its Classical Roots: The Basics.

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