Social theory is a fascinating subject which acts as an intellectual cement between sociology and a number of disciplines in the Social Sciences, the Arts and Humanities.
Everyone is interested in how society works (or indeed how we might know if it works) why social actors are compelled to act in one way rather than another, what are the key social practices and institutions we take for granted and where have they come from.
Social theory is an attempt to provide some coherent basis for proposing answers to these questions. It is also about asking better questions about the nature of social phenomena and the constitution of social action.
Social Theory for Beginners offers the reader a simple way of surveying the major debates which surround the asking and answering of these kinds of questions. The content draws on philosophy, sociology, social history, politics and every-day situations to explore the different frameworks of explanation which have been offered by social theorists trying to help us overcome our ignorance.
There is always too much to read and so the book divides the material up in ways which will help you reach the bits you need easily but constructively. Context is of the essence in social theory and so you will soon find yourself looking beyond the immediate concepts and ideas you are interested in and towards others in the intellectual neighbourhood.
Whatever topics you are studying, and whatever kind of qualification you are aiming for, an core academic skill is theoretical consciousness. This is a capacity for adopting a critical and enquiring attitude towards complex issues in ways which help you get more out of your intellectual life. This book aims to help you add a few more gears to your intellectual machinery.
Paul Ransome, author of Social Theory for Beginners