The Blackwell Companion to Major Contemporary Social by George Ritzer

By George Ritzer

The Blackwell spouse to significant modern Social Theorists is a survey of latest social thought that specializes in the thinkers themselves. In unique essays in particular commissioned for this quantity, top specialists and practitioners learn the lifestyles and paintings of thirteen significant theorists equivalent to Elias, Baudrillard, Giddens, and Butler.

* contains thirteen unique essays by way of major students on significant modern social theorists.
* Covers key figures reminiscent of Elias, Goffman, Foucault, Habermas, Giddens, Bourdieu, and Butler.
* Essays comprise biographical sketches, the social and highbrow context, and the influence of the thinker's paintings on social idea usually.
* contains bibliographies of the theorist's most crucial works in addition to key secondary works.
* can be utilized along with The Blackwell better half to significant Classical Social Theorists, edited via George Ritzer, for a whole reference resource in social theory.

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Extra resources for The Blackwell Companion to Major Contemporary Social Theorists (Blackwell Companions to Sociology)

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15) with Paul Lazarsfeld, producing fruit in several co-authored works, as well as in numerous research projects. It is a rare case of basically different styles of research and theorizing supplementing and enriching each other: Merton’s focus on discursive, conceptual clarifications and elaborations, and Lazarsfeld’s emphasis on turning concepts into operationalized, testable variables. A good example of the collaboration, their common study of friendship formation (Merton, 1954), came as close to real complementarity as could be expected in the case of two strong, independent individualities, with divergent backgrounds, thought patterns and scholarly goals.

As he puts it: “It is analytically useful to distinguish between manifest and latent levels of social structure” (Merton, 1976, p. 126). ). The concept of “structural context,” and especially “structural constraint,” as limiting the effective field of action, appeared in the early “paradigm for functional analysis,” and was developed later: “Behavior is a result not merely of personal qualities, but of these in interaction with the patterned situations in which the individual behaves. It is these social contexts which greatly affect the extent to which the capacities of individuals are actually realized” (Merton, 1982a, p.

425). But adaptive processes cover only a part of social dynamics. Changes in social structure reducing inefficiency, conflict, strains, and tensions from what they would otherwise be must be distinguished from the changes of social structure which transform it significantly to produce new structural arrangements. It is rarely recognized that Merton’s theory also contributes to this area of social dynamics. In Merton’s theoretical orientation, the general scheme of structurebuilding process can be condensed as follows: under conditions still little understood, structural conflict brings about transformations of social structure up to a point when a new structure emerges and the structural conflict is reproduced in a new form.

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