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Introduction to Sociological Theory: Theorists, Concepts, and their Applicability to the Twenty-First Century, 2nd Edition



Introduction to Sociological Theory: Theorists, Concepts, and their Applicability to the Twenty-First Century, 2nd Edition

Michele Dillon

ISBN: 978-1-118-47192-0 September 2019 Wiley-Blackwell 586 Pages

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The extensively revised and updated second edition combines carefully chosen primary quotes with wide-ranging discussion and everyday illustrative examples to provide an in-depth introduction to classical and contemporary sociological theory.

  • Combines classical and contemporary theory in a single, integrated text
  • Short biographies and historical timelines of significant events provide context to theorists' ideas
  • Innovatively builds on excerpts from original theoretical writings with detailed discussion of the concepts and ideas under review
  • Includes new examples of current social processes in China, South Korea, India, Latin America, the Middle East, and other non-Western societies
  • Additional resources, available at, include multiple choice and essay questions, PowerPoint slides with multimedia links to content illustrative of sociological processes, a list of complementary primary readings, a quotation bank, and other background materials

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List of Boxed Features xi

List of Figures

Acknowledgments xiii

How to Use This Book xvi

Introduction: Welcome to Sociological Theory 1

Analyzing Social Life 4

Societal Transformation and the Origins of Sociology 12

The Establishment of Sociology 17

The Sociological Craft in the Nineteenth Century 23

Summary 27

Glossary 28

1 Karl Marx 31

Expansion of Capitalism 33

Marx’s Theory of History 35

Human Nature 40

Capitalism as a Distinctive Social Form 42

Wage-Labor 48

The Division of Labor and Alienation 52

Economic Inequality 59

Ideology and Power 62

Summary 71

Glossary 72

2 Emile Durkheim 77

Durkheim’s Methodological Rules 80

The Nature of Society 84

Societal Transformation and Social Cohesion 89

Traditional Society 89

Modern Society 92

Social Conditions of Suicide 98

Religion and the Sacred 106

Summary 111

Glossary 112

3 Max Weber 115

Sociology: Understanding Social Action 118

Culture and Economic Activity 119

Ideal Types 126

Social Action 127

Power, Authority, and Domination 133

Social Stratification 142

Modernity and Competing Values 145

Summary 148

Glossary 149

4 Talcott Parsons and Robert Merton: Functionalism and Modernization 153

Talcott Parsons 154

The Social System 156

Socialization and Societal Integration 158

Social Differentiation, Culture, and the Secularization of Protestantism 160

Pattern Variables 163

Modernization Theory 167

Stratification and Inequality 169

Robert Merton’s Middle-Range Theory 172

Parsons’s Legacy: Varied Directions

Summary 176

Glossary 178

5 Critical Theory: Technology, Culture, and Politics 181

Dialectic of Enlightenment 187

Mass Culture and Consumption 192

Politics: Uniformity and Control199

Jurgen Habermas: The State and Society 201

Summary 208

Glossary 210

6 Conflict, Power, and Dependency in Macro-Societal Processes 215

Ralf Dahrendorf’s Theory of Group Conflict 216

C. Wright Mills 220

Dependency Theory: Neo-Marxist Critiques of Economic Development 225

Summary 231

Glossary 233

7 Exchange, Exchange Network, and Rational Choice Theories 235

Exchange Theory 236

Exchange Network Theory

Actor Network Theory 242

Rational Choice Theory 246

Analytical Marxism 251

Summary 253

Glossary 254

8 Symbolic Interactionism 257

Development of the Self through Social Interaction 258

The Premises of Symbolic Interactionism 263

Erving Goffman: Society as Ritualized Social Interaction 265

Symbolic Interactionism and Ethnographic Research 279

Summary 280

Glossary 281

9 Phenomenology and Ethnomethodology 285

Phenomenology 286

Ethnomethodology 298

Summary 307

Glossary 308

10 Feminist Theories 311

Consciousness of Women’s Inequality 313

Standpoint Theory: Dorothy Smith and the Relations of Ruling 316


Patricia Hill Collins:Black Women’s Standpoint 327

Sociology of Emotion 335

Arlie Hochschild: Emotional Labor 336

Summary 344

Glossary 345

11 Michel Foucault:Sexuality, the Body, and Power 349

Michel Foucault 350

Sexuality and Queer Theory 360

Summary 367

Glossary 368

12 Race, Racism, and the Construction of Racial Otherness 371

Racial Otherness 373

Social Change, Race, and Racism 377

Slavery, Colonialism, and Racial Formation 381

William Du Bois: Slavery and Racial Inequality 384

Race and Class 388

Race, Community, and Democracy 390

Culture and the New Racism 396

Summary 400

Glossary 401

13 The Social Reproduction of Inequality 405

Pierre Bourdieu’s Theory of Class and Culture Social Stratification 406

Family and School in the Production of Cultural Capital 410

Taste and Everyday Practices 414

Summary 424

Glossary 425

14 Economic and Political Globalization What is Globalization? 454

Economic Globalization 456

Immanuel Wallerstein: The Modern World-System 457

Contemporary Economic Globalizing Processes 463

Globalizing Political Processes: The Changing Authority of the Nation-State Migration and Political Mobilization in a Transnational World 483

Summary 447

Glossary 448

15 Modernities, Cosmopolitanism, and Global Consumer Culture

Contrite Modernity

Multiple Modernities

Global Risk Society

Cosmopolitan Modernity

The Global Expansion of Human Rights

Global Consumer Culture

Summary Glossary


Sociological Theorists and their Key Writings



New to the Second Edition

  • New examples throughout the book pertaining to contemporary economic, social, and cultural changes and tensions in China, South Korea, and India, as well as to developments in other Asian countries.
  • Revised chapters incorporating more recent developments and data
  • New chapter on “Modernities, Global Risk, the Cosmopolitan Turn, and Global Culture”

New to the web site for students is a list of sociological theorists and their key writings and, for instructors, a list of complementary primary readings. Also for students, revised from the first edition are a set of web supplements – referenced within the text by a ‘Web’ icon – and chapter summaries and Points to Remember; for instructors, the first edition Instructor’s Manual has been updated throughout, featuring notes to the instructor, a quote bank, class discussion topics, essay assignment questions, exam short answer questions, MCQs (with answers), PowerPoint slides with suggested web links, and also a revised collection of news resources (originally designed for the student, now solely for instructor use).