Theories of Social Order: A Reader

ISBN 13: 9780804746755

Theories of Social Order: A Reader

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9780804746755: Theories of Social Order: A Reader
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This collection of readings provides a compelling exploration of what arguably remains the single most important problem in sociological theory: the problem of social order. Contending that the purpose of theory in the social sciences lies in its ability to explain real-world phenomena, Theories of Social Order departs from the standard theory reader by presenting classical texts alongside contemporary theoretical extensions and recent empirical applications to explore this substantive theme. Its unique approach—focusing on theories rather than theorists and on one overarching question rather than a disparate array of issues—encourages students to compare various factors and mechanisms, seek common analytical themes, and develop a deeper theoretical understanding of the problem of social order. Further, by pairing theory with empirical research, the volume helps students appreciate the relevance of theory to their own lives, to the research enterprise, and to the development of better social policies.

Readings have been selected based on their relevance to classical theoretical issues and are all accessible to a non-technical audience. Editorial introductions to each section discuss the causal mechanisms in each theory and make explicit links between the classical and the modern texts.

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This is the best reader ever assembled, with judiciously chosen excerpts from classic theory pieces, illustrative empirical applications, and elegant commentaries that bring out the causal mechanisms deployed in these selections. As proponents of the "lean and spare" school of sociology, Hechter and Horne strip sociology down to its unit ideas about the sources of social order, forcing students to engage with these ideas in their most elementary form. The end result: a vision of theory as a toolbox of explanatory mechanisms that provides the perfect antidote to theory conceived as a mind-numbing parade of theorists or mere exegesis and interpretation.” David B. Grusky, Professor of Sociology and Director of the Center for the Study of Inequality at Cornell University
This is the best reader ever assembled, with judiciously chosen excerpts from classic theory pieces, illustrative empirical applications, and elegant commentaries that bring out the causal mechanisms deployed in these selections. As proponents of the lean and spare’ school of sociology, Hechter and Horne strip sociology down to its unit ideas about the sources of social order, forcing students to engage with these ideas in their most elementary form. The end result: a vision of theory as a toolbox of explanatory mechanisms that provides the perfect antidote to theory conceived as a mind-numbing parade of theorists or mere exegesis and interpretation.” David B. Grusky,Cornell University

About the Author:

Michael Hechter is Professor of Sociology at the University of Washington. Christine Horne is Assistant Professor of Sociology at Brigham Young University.

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