The New Social Theory Reader: 2nd Edition (Paperback) book cover

The New Social Theory Reader

2nd Edition

Edited by Steven Seidman, Jeffrey C. Alexander


464 pages

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Paperback: 9780415437707
pub: 2008-04-03
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This is the first anthology to thematize the dramatic upward and downward shifts that have created the new social theory, and to present this new and exciting body of work in a thoroughly trans-disciplinary manner.

In this revised second edition readers are provided with a much greater range of thinkers and perspectives, including new sections on such issues as imperialism, power, civilization clash, health and performance. The first section sets out the main schools of contemporary thought, from Habermas and Honneth on new critical theory, to Jameson and Hall on cultural studies, and Foucault and Bourdieu on poststructuralism. The sections that follow trace theory debates as they become more issues-based and engaged. They are:

  • the post-foundational debates over morality, justice and epistemological truth
  • the social meaning of nationalism, multiculturalism and globalization
  • identity debates around gender, sexuality, race, the self and post-coloniality.

This new edition provides more ample biographical and intellectual introductions to each thinker, and substantial introductions to each of the major sections. The editors introduce the volume with a newly revised, interpretive overview of social theory today.

The New Social Theory Reader is an essential, reliable guide to current theoretical debates.


"Seidman and Alexander compiled a collection of essays on social theory in 2001. In the time since enough has changed to warrant a much expanded second edition. The authors give in-depth introductions to each section. The first articles review the latest theories. Then they move from macro to microcosm. From ephemeral concepts like truth, ethics and justice, the authors then look at new ways of defining power, then societies: postmodern, multi-cultural, national, global and imperial. The final focus is on self-definition by race, nationality, gender, sexuality and post colonial identification. Many of the articles have already appeared in a variety of journals. This updated edition is of interest to sociologists and ideal for university classrooms."Book News Inc., August 2008

Table of Contents

Part 1: General theory without foundations NEW CRITICAL THEORY 1. Jurgen Habermas Contributions to a discourse theory of law and democracy 2. Axel Honneth Personal identity and disrespect semiotic structuralism 3. Marshall Sahlins Historical metaphors and mythical realities 4. James Clifford On ethnographic allegory POSTSTRUCTURALISM 5. Michel Foucault Power/Knowledge 6. Pierre Bourdieu Outline of a theory of practice CULTURAL STUDIES 7. Stuart Hall Cultural studies 8. Frederic Jameson The political unconscious: Narrative as a socially symbolic act Part 2: The normative turn JUSTICE 9. Michael Walzer A defense of pluralism and equality 10. John Rawls Political liberalism ETHICS 11. Alasdair MacIntyre Whose justice? Which rationality? 12. Zygmaunt Bauman Postmodern ethics TRUTH 13. Richard Rorty Pragmatism, relativism, and irrationalism 14. Seyla Benhabib Feminism and the question of postmodernism Part 3: Rethinking power PERFORMATIVITY 15. Judith Butler Imitation and gender insubordination 16. Jeffrey Alexander Performance and Power DOMINATION/LIBERATION 17. Nancy Fraser From redistribution to recognition? 18. David Halperin Queer politics BIOPOLITICS 19. Susan Bordo The body and the reproduction of femininity 20. Nicolas Rose The Politics of life itself Part 4: Societies and World Order POSTMODERNITY 21. Jean Baudrillard Simulcra and simulations 22. David Harvey The condition of postmodernity CIVIL SOCIETY 23. Jean L. Cohen and Andrew Arato The utopia of civil society 24. Mary Kaldor Global civil society MULTICULTURALISM 25. Iris Marion Young Justice and the politics of difference 26. Will Kymlicka Multicultural citizenship NATIONALISM 27. Benedict Anderson Imagined communities: reflections on the origin and spread of nationalism 28. Partha Chatterjee Whose imagined community? WORLD POLITICS 29. Francis Fukuyama The end of history 30. Samuel Huntington The clash of civilizations GLOBALISATION 31. Manuel Castells A new society 32. Ulrich Beck The cosmopolitan perspective EMPIRE 33. Mahmood Mamdani From direct to indirect rule 34. George Steinmetz The new U.S. empire Part 5: Identities SELF 35. Anthony Giddens Self and society in the late modern age 36. Charles Taylor The making of modern identity GENDER 37. R.W. Connell Gender as a structure of social practice 38. Uma Narayan Westernization and third world feminism SEXUALITY 39. Diana Fuss Heter Hetero/Homosexuality 40. Steven Seidman Shifts in normative heterosexuality RACE 41. Michael Omi and Howard Winant Racial formation 42. Ruth Frankenberg The mirage of an unmarked whiteness POSTCOLONIALITY 43. Edward Said Orientalism 44. Paul Gilroy Postcolonial melancholia

About the Editors

Steven Seidman is Professor of Sociology at State University of New York, Albany.

Jeffrey C. Alexander is Professor of Sociology at Yale University.

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Sociology / General