From its first edition in 1979, Perspectives in Sociology has provided generations of undergraduates with a clear, reassuring introduction to the complications of sociological theory. This fourth edition has been wholly rewritten and restructured. While retaining its wealth of information about the founding figures of sociology it also includes much new material on contemporary social theory and particularly the challenge to sociology posed by the rise of post-structuralism with its questioning of the whole enlightenment period. New features include: a concise introduction to the major debates of the twentieth century information on thinkers of the nineteenth and early twentieth century whose relevance to modern social thought is only now being recognised, e.g. Nietszche, Saussure, Simmel key debates placed in historical and philosophical context connections drawn between post-structuralist thinkers like Foucault and Derrida and the founding figures of sociology: Marx, Weber and Durkheim new easy to read format four wholly new chapters tracing developments in social theory from structuralism to postmodernism.