Uncovering Social Life: Critical Perspectives from Sociology, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Uncovering Social Life

Critical Perspectives from Sociology, 1st Edition

By Chris Shilling, Philip A. Mellor


190 pages

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In an era when rapid social change, the disappearance of traditional communities, the rise of political populism and the threat posed by radical religious movements makes it appear that ‘all that is solid melts into air’, the classical sociological problem of how peaceable societies can be created and maintained assumes renewed urgency. Uncovering Social Life: Critical Perspectives from Sociology explores how contemporary institutional changes erode existing social relationships and identities but also create space for opposition to, or creative adaptation of, these broader shifts.

Exploring the threats and opportunities associated with the contemporary age, this book identifies how sociology helps us understand the problems associated with social order and change before focusing on the most important institutional transformations to have occurred in:

  • bodies and health;
  • sex, gender and sexuality;
  • employment;
  • finance;
  • the Internet and new social media;
  • technology and artificial intelligence;
  • religion;
  • governance and terrorism.

After a critical introduction placing these issues in their historical and sociological context, theoretical chapters analysing how sociology views the individual/society relationship, and the volatile processes endemic to the modern era, provide an innovative and comprehensive context for these explorations.

This book provides a clear and engaging account of social life. Covering a broad range of sociological topics, the diverse chapters are united in a concern with three major themes: the growing complexity of the current era, and the ‘doubled’ identities with which it is associated; the opportunities and constraints such developments pose to different groups; and the capacity of institutional changes to both erode existing social relationships, and create space for the emergence of new collective identities that oppose these structural shifts.

Table of Contents

1. Introduction 2. The Problem of Order 3. The Problem of Change 4. Bodies and Health 5. Sex, Gender and Sexuality 6. Employment 7. Finance 8. New Social Media and the Internet 9. Technology 10. Religion 11. Governance 12. Conclusion

About the Authors

Chris Shilling is Professor of Sociology and Director of Graduate Studies (Research) in SSPSSR at the University of Kent, UK, and is Visiting Professor at the University of Uppsala, Sweden.

Philip A. Mellor is Professor of Religion and Social Theory and Pro-Dean for Research and Innovation in the Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Cultures at the University of Leeds, UK.

Subject Categories

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