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The Social Lens
An Invitation to Social and Sociological Theory

Third Edition

Other Titles in:
Social Theory

May 2013 | 632 pages | SAGE Publications, Inc
The Social Lens: An Invitation to Social and Sociological Theory, Third Edition is an upper division undergraduate social theory textbook that introduces the student to the major classical and contemporary theorists. The theorists were chosen for the diversity of their perspectives as well as their ability to introduce the student to contemporary theory. Dr Allan uses a lively informative writing style to engage the students in the eras of social change that spawned the major sociological theories and then applies them to the current era, which also is experiencing major social change.
 
Part I: Modernity and the Sociological Response
 
Chapter 1. On Theory
A Lesson From History  
Critical Thinking and Theory  
Theory in Brief  
Building Your Theory Toolbox  
 
Chapter 2. The Evolution of Society: Herbert Spencer (1820-1903)
Theorist's Digest  
The Life and Times of Herbert Spencer  
Concepts and Theory: Social Evolution  
Concepts and Theory: Social Institutions  
Summary  
Building Your Theory Toolbox  
 
Chapter 3. Contradictions in Capitalism: Karl Marx (1818-1883)
Theorist's Digest  
The Life and Times of Karl Marx  
Concepts and Theory: Human Nature and History  
Concepts and Theory: Contradictions in Capitalism  
Concepts and Theory: The Problem of Consciousness  
Summary  
Building Your Theory Toolbox  
 
Chapter 4. The Irrationality of Rationality: Max Weber (1864-1920)
Theorist's Digest  
The Life and Times of Max Weber  
Concepts and Theory: The Rationalization of Society--Religion  
Concepts and Theory: The Rationalization of Society--Capitalism  
Concepts and Theory: The Rationalization of Society--Bureaucracy  
Concepts and Theory: Class, Authority, and Social Change  
Summary  
Building Your Theory Toolbox  
 
Chapter 5. The Problem With Diversity: Emile Durkheim (1858-1917)
Theorist's Digest  
The Life and Times of Emile Durkheim  
Concepts and Theory: Religious Roots of Society  
Concepts and Theory: Social Diversity and Morality  
Concepts and Theory: Individualism in Modern Society  
Summary  
Building Your Theory Toolbox  
 
Chapter 6. The Modern Person: George Herbert Mead and Georg Simmel
George Herbert Mead (1863-1931)  
Theorist's Digest  
Concepts and Theory: Truth, Meaning, and Action  
Concepts and Theory: Meaning and Interaction  
Concepts and Theory: Making Yourself  
Summary  
Georg Simmel (1858-1918)  
Theorist's Digest  
Concepts and Theory: The Individual in Society  
Concepts and Theory: The Self in the City  
Summary  
Building Your Theory Toolbox  
 
Chapter 7. The Challenges of Gender and Race: Charlotte Perkins Gilman and W. E. B. Du Bois
Charlotte Perkins Gilman (1860-1935)  
Theorist's Digest  
Concepts and Theory: The Social Evolution of Gender  
Summary  
W. E. B. Du Bois (1868-1963)  
Theorist's Digest  
Concepts and Theory: Cultural Oppression  
Concepts and Theory: The Dark Nations and World Capitalism  
Summary  
Building Your Theory Toolbox  
 
Part II: Contemporary Sociological Theory
 
Chapter 8. Structural Functionalism: Talcott Parsons, Robert K. Merton, and Jeffrey C. Alexander
Social Systems: Talcott Parsons  
Theorist's Digest  
Concepts and Theory: Making the Social System  
Concepts and Theory: System Functions and Control  
Summary  
Unanticipated Consequences and Ambivalence: Robert K. Merton  
Theorist's Digest  
Concepts and Theory: Critiquing Parsons' Functionalism  
Concepts and Theory: Dynamic Functionalism  
Summary  
Democracy and Civil Society: Jeffrey C. Alexander  
Theorist's Digest  
Concepts and Theory: The New Civil Sphere  
Concepts and Theory: Civil Institutions  
Concepts and Theory: Civil Society Outcomes  
Summary  
Building Your Theory Toolbox  
 
Chapter 9. Conflict Theory: Lewis Coser, Ralf Dahrendorf, and Randall Collins
The Functional Consequences of Conflict: Lewis Coser  
Theorist's Digest  
Concepts and Theory: Variation in Conflict  
Concepts and Theory: The Integrating Forces of Conflict  
Summary  
Power and Dialectical Change: Ralf Dahrendorf  
Theorist's Digest  
Concepts and Theory: Power and Group Interests  
Concepts and Theory: Conditions of Conflict and Social Change  
Summary  
Emotion and the World in Conflict: Randall Collins  
Theorist's Digest  
Concepts and Theory: Four Main Points in Conflict Sociology  
Concepts and Theory: Geopolitics  
Summary  
Building Your Theory Toolbox  
 
Chapter 10: What Happened to Class? Erik Olin Wright, Daniel Bell, and Pierre Bourdieu
Making Class Count: Erik Olin Wright  
Theorist's Digest  
Concepts and Theory: Analytical Marxism  
Concepts and Theory: Specifying Class  
Summary  
Postindustrial Society: Daniel Bell  
Theorist's Digest  
Concepts and Theory: Rethinking Society  
Concepts and Theory: The Decline of Class  
Concepts and Theory: Polity and Culture  
Summary  
Embodying Class: Pierre Bourdieu  
Theorist's Digest  
Concepts and Theory: Structuring Class  
Concepts and Theory: Replicating Class  
Summary  
Building Your Theory Toolbox  
 
Chapter 11. Structures of Racial and Gender Inequality: William Julius Wilson and Janet Saltzman Chafetz
The Declining Significance of Race: William Julius Wilson  
Theorist's Digest  
Concepts and Theory: American Racial History  
Concepts and Theory: Policy Implications  
Summary  
Structures of Gender Inequality: Janet Saltzman Chafetz  
Theorist's Digest  
Concepts and Theory: Coercive Structures of Gender Inequality  
Concepts and Theory: Changing Gender Inequality  
Summary  
Building Your Theory Toolbox  
 
Chapter 12. Exchange Theory: George Homans, Peter Blau, and Randall Collins
Elementary Forms of Social Behavior: George Homans  
Theorist's Digest  
Concepts and Theory: Basic Principles of Behavioral Psychology  
Summary  
Social Exchanges and Power: Peter Blau  
Theorist's Digest  
Concepts and Theory: Social Exchanges  
Concepts and Theory: Creating Power and Social Structures  
Summary  
Ritualized Exchanges: Randall Collins  
Theorist's Digest  
Concepts and Theory: Emotion--The Generalized Media of Exchange  
Concepts and Theory: Interaction Ritual Chains (IRCs)  
Concepts and Theory: The Ritualized Production of Stratification  
Summary  
Building Your Theory Toolbox  
 
Chapter 13. Self and Situation: Erving Goffman, R. S. Perinbanayagam, and Harold Garfinkel
Managing Your Self-Image: Erving Goffman  
Theorist's Digest  
Concepts and Theory: Impression Management  
Concepts and Theory: Frames and Keys  
Summary  
The Language of the Self: R. S. Perinbanayagam  
Theorist's Digest  
Concepts and Theory: Dialogic Acts and Agency  
Concepts and Theory: Language of Identity  
Summary  
Organizing Ordinary Life: Harold Garfinkel  
Theorist's Digest  
Concepts and Theory: Everyday Social Order as an Accomplishment  
Concepts and Theory: Doing Society--Reflexively  
Summary  
Building Your Theory Toolbox  
 
Part III: Contemporary New Visions and Critiques
 
Chapter 14. Problems in Modernity: Jurgen Habermas and Anthony Giddens
Democracy in Danger: Jurgen Habermas  
Theorist's Digest  
Concepts and Theory: Capitalism and Legitimation  
Concepts and Theory: The Colonization of Democracy  
Concepts and Theory: Communicative Action and Civil Society  
Summary  
Runaway Modernity: Anthony Giddens  
Theorist's Digest  
Concepts and Theory: The Dynamics of Modernity  
Concepts and Theory: The Experience of Modernity  
Summary  
Building Your Theory Toolbox  
 
Chapter 15. Globalizing Systems: Immanuel Wallerstein and Manuel Castells
Global Capitalism: Immanuel Wallerstein  
Theorist's Digest  
Concepts and Theory: The Dialectics of Capitalism  
Concepts and Theory: The End of the World as We Know It  
Summary  
The Network Society: Manuel Castells  
Theorist's Digest  
Concepts and Theory: Information Technology  
Concepts and Theory: Networks, Identities, and Democracy  
Summary  
Building Your Theory Toolbox  
 
Chapter 16. Upsetting Reality: Michel Foucault and Jean Baudrillard
Defining the Possible and Impossible: Michel Foucault  
Theorist's Digest  
Concepts and Theory: The Truth About Truth  
Concepts and Theory: The Practices of Power  
Concepts and Theory: Disciplining the Body  
Summary  
The End of Everything: Jean Baudrillard  
Theorist's Digest  
Concepts and Theory: Mediating the World  
Concepts and Theory: Losing the World  
Concepts and Theory: The Postmodern Person  
Summary  
Building Your Theory Toolbox  
 
Chapter 17. Politics of Identity: Dorothy E. Smith, Patricia Hill Collins, and Cornel West
Gendered Consciousness: Dorothy E. Smith  
Theorist's Digest  
Concepts and Theory: The Problem With Facts  
Concepts and Theory: The Standpoint of Women  
Summary  
Race and Matrices of Domination: Patricia Hill Collins  
Theorist's Digest  
Concepts and Theory: The Standpoint of Black Women  
Concepts and Theory: Intersectionality and Matrices of Domination  
Summary  
Race and Democracy: Cornel West  
Theorist's Digest  
Concepts and Theory: Black Existence in America  
Concepts and Theory: The Post-Democratic Age  
Summary  
Building Your Theory Toolbox  
 
References
 
Index
 
About the Author

An excellent, essential text for students in sociology!

Miss Engela Van der klashorst
biokinetics, sport and recreation, University of Pretoria
June 22, 2015

The Social Lens is a well-written and comprehensive text that explores theorists proposals regarding inequality. I would recommend this text for anyone seeking to develop a course in sociological theory that will provide a great overview of theories that are essential to the field of sociology. This text is easy to read and is complete with several tables and figures that provide a useful visual description of complex sociological concepts.

Ms Michelle Holliday
Sociology Dept, Portland State University
September 12, 2014

Sticking with Edles and Appelrouth, Sociological Theory in the Classical Era: Text and Readings.

Professor Carol Thompson
Sociology Crim Just Anth Dept, Texas Christian University
August 24, 2014

This book provides excellent overviews of sociological theories, from the basic, consensus and conflict perspectives to their contemporary and more complex post modern understandings. The book would be most useful for A-level and first year undergraduate students, who are developing their critical thinking and evaluation skills.

Mr Dennis Hamilton
Humanities, Bournville College of Further Education
August 12, 2014

Great critical thinking exercises, good organization and breadth of topics. The reading level was good for an undergraduate course.

Professor Joseph Simpson
Sociology , Texas A&M San Antonio
December 2, 2013

A text which is recommended as background reading for students.
Well written and clear.

Dr Kate D'Arcy
social studies, Bedfordshire University
November 30, 2013

will be used with level 5 and 6 also

Dr Donna Peacock
Faculty of Education and Society, Sunderland University
November 21, 2013

This book gives dissertation students an excellent review of the sociological theory they have studied in previous modules, allowing them the deeper insight and connection such a text brings

Mrs Fiona Porter
Dept of Social Sciences & Humanities, Bradford University
September 9, 2013

Excellent -- even better than the second edition! Easy to read, easy to use. I like the added piece on critical thinking and the exercises in critical thinking at the end of each chapter.

Dr Marilyn Swisher
Family, Youth & Community Sciences, University of Florida
September 6, 2013

Good introduction and discussion of thinking sociologically

Dr Andrzej Zieleniec
Sociology , Keele University
August 15, 2013

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Kenneth Douglas Allan

Kenneth Allan received his PhD in sociology from the University of California, Riverside (1995), and is currently professor of Sociology at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG). Before moving to UNCG, he directed the Teaching Assistant Development Program at the University of California, Riverside, and coedited Training Teaching Assistants, 2nd Edition (1997), published by the American Sociological Association. In addition to teaching classical and contemporary theory at UNCG, Allan also supervised UNCG’s sociology iSchool program, which offered online introduction to sociology classes to high school students across North... More About Author

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ISBN: 9781412992787
$120.00