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Social Theory A Historical Introduction by Alex Callinicos

Social Theory A Historical Introduction


Social Theory A Historical Introduction by Alex Callinicos

The second edition of this remarkably lucid text, provides a wide-ranging historical introduction to social theory. The new edition preserves, and further enhances, the book's striking qualities - its clarity, reliability, comprehensiveness and scholarship. The theorists treated include Montesquieu, Adam Smith and the Scottish Enlightenment, Hegel, Marx, Tocqueville, Maistre, Gobineau, Darwin, Spencer, Kautsky, Nietzsche, Durkheim, Weber, Simmel, Freud, Lukacs, Gramsci, Heidegger, Keynes, Hayek, Parsons, the Frankfurt School, Levi-Strauss, Althusser, Foucault, Habermas, Bourdieu, Beck, and Giddens. Callinicos examines the ways in which social theory grew out of the eighteenth century Enlightenment, a time when societies emerging in the West ceased to invoke the authority of tradition to validate themselves, instead looking to scientific knowledge to justify their mastery of the world. He traces social theory's connections with central themes in modern philosophy, with the development of political economy, and with the impact of evolutionary biology on social thought. The book has been carefully updated to ensure that it engages with the most up-to-date debates in social theory, and concludes with a substantial new chapter. Here Callinicos assesses the significance of contemporary debates about globalization, including the recent re-emergence of critiques of capitalism and imperialism in the work of Michael Hardt, Toni Negri, Luc Boltanski, Eve Chiapello, David Harvey, Robert Brenner, Giovanni Arrighi, and Slavoj Zizek. This updated version of a widely praised text will be essential reading for students of politics, sociology and social and political thought.


The best of its kind on the market. Steve Fuller, Times Higher Education Alex Callincos has written one of the best historical introductions to sociological theory. His book also does a nice job of connecting sociological theory to broader intellectual trends and movements. This new edition sustains the quality and improves the coverage. Craig Calhoun, New York University The second edition of Alex Callincos
Social Theory reads in the same beautifully clear, reliable and accessible way as the first edition. The new material adds a further dimension to this splendid book, bringing it fully up to date with debates in which Callinicos has himself played a part. William Outhwaite, University of Sussex

About the Author

Alex Callinicos is Professor of European Studies at Kings College, London.

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Book Info

Publication date

24th February 2007


Alex Callinicos

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Polity Press


368 pages


Social theory



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