Theories of Social Order: A Reader
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.