Social life is in a constant process of change, and sociology can never stand still. As a result, contemporary sociology is a theoretically diverse enterprise, covering a huge range of subjects and drawing on a broad array of research methods. Central to this endeavour is the use of core concepts and ideas which allow sociologists to make sense of societies, though our understanding of these concepts necessarily evolves and changes.
This clear and jargon-free book introduces a careful selection of essential concepts that have helped to shape sociology and continue to do so. Going beyond brief, dictionary-style definitions, Anthony Giddens and Philip W. Sutton provide an extended discussion of each concept which sets it in historical and theoretical context, explores its main meanings in use, introduces relevant criticisms, and points readers to its ongoing development in contemporary research and theorizing.
Organized in ten thematic sections, the book offers a portrait of sociology through its essential concepts, ranging from capitalism, identity and deviance to the digital revolution, environment, postcolonialism and intersectionality. It will be essential reading for all those new to sociology as well as anyone seeking a reliable route map for a rapidly changing world.
THEME 1: THINKING SOCIOLOGICALLY
THEME 2: DOING SOCIOLOGY
Qualitative / Quantitative Methods
Structure / Agency
THEME 3: ENVIRONMENT AND URBANISM
THEME 4: STRUCTURES OF SOCIETY
Division of Labour
THEME 5: UNEQUAL LIFE CHANCES
‘Race’ and Ethnicity
THEME 6: RELATIONSHIPS AND THE LIFE COURSE
THEME 7: INTERACTION AND COMMUNICATION
THEME 8: HEALTH, ILLNESS AND THE BODY
Social Model of Disability
THEME 9: CRIME AND SOCIAL CONTROL
THEME 10: POLITICAL SOCIOLOGY
Philip W. Sutton Robert Gordon University, Aberdeen.