Skip to main content

Social Theory and Modern Sociology

Social Theory and Modern Sociology

Anthony Giddens

ISBN: 978-0-745-66664-8

Apr 2013, Polity

320 pages



In this book Anthony Giddens addresses a range of issues concerning current developments in social theory, relating them to the prospects for sociology in the closing decades of the twentieth century.

Composed of closely integrated papers, all written over the past few years, the book includes seven essays not previously published, plus two have not appeared in English before.

In assessing the likely future evolution of sociology in particular, and the social sciences in general, the author both draws upon ideas established in his more abstract theoretical writings and examines critically competing traditions of thought.

Those looking for an accessible introduction to Gidden's writing will find in this book a set of clear expositions of his basic ideas. By situating these ideas in relation to the critical assessment of the views of others, however, the author provides new sources of insight into the distinctiveness of his own claims.


1. What Do Sociologists Do?.

2. Nine Theses on the Future of Sociology.

3. The Social Sciences and Philosophy – Trends in Recent Social Theory.

4. Structuralism, Post-Structuralism and the Production of Culture.

5. Erving Goffman as a Systematic Social Theorist.

6. Time and Social Organization.

7. Nation-States and Violence.

8. Social Theory and Problems of Macroeconomics.

9. Out of the Orrery: E.P.Thompson on Consciousness and History.

10. Reason Without Revolution? Heberman's Theory of Communicative Action.

11. Alvin Gouldner and the Intellenctuals.

12. The Perils of Punditry: Gorz and the End of the Working Class.


‘The book is strongly recommended for anyone interested in an overview of some of the important issues in social theory being discussed today. While all students of the social sciences should read the work, it is a must for advanced under-graduates and graduate students in sociology'. International Social Science Review

‘This volume is ample evidence that Giddens belongs to the rare species of social scientists who has the feel of the whole range of disciplinary issues and is capable of presenting them in a readable and original manner'. European Sociological Review