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Understanding social theory /

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Accessible and authoritative, this jargon-free textbook provides an introduction to the central issues in modern social theory. Articulating the dualisms at the core of recent work in the field, Derek Layder explores the relationships between individual and society, agency and structure, and macro-micro. The volume contains balanced accounts of the contributions made by many notable theorists: Talcott Parsons, Louis Althusser, Michel Foucault, Anthony Giddens, Norbert Elias, Dorothy Smith, Erving Goffman, Jonathan Turner, Randall Collins, and Jürgen Habermas are all presented, and their ideas discussed within the context of such diverse perspectives as symbolic interactionism, phenomenology, Marxism, and feminism. Throughout the book, Layder stresses the links among theory, empirical research, and everyday life. He also highlights the continuities between the concerns of classical and modern social theory, emphasizing the connections among different theories as a basis for establishing dialogue between them. This major new introduction to contemporary social theory will be an essential text for students in sociology, social psychology, social theory and organization studies. "Derek Layder's Understanding Social Theory provides one of the most comprehensive, incisive, and readable treatments of the micro-macro problem now available." --Paul Colomy, University of Denver "This is a robust text--challenging and provocative, and one which students will benefit from reading. Derek Layder guides the reader through a large body of relevant literature. He draws attention to the strengths and weaknesses of particular approaches as he sees them, and he is not afraid to offer his own judgments on the issues and problems he addresses." --John Eldridge, University of Glasgow

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