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Social Theory: A Reader

Edited by Jonathan Joseph


Covering a wide area of political sociology and social and political theory, this Reader offers a selection of extracts incorporating both primary and secondary readings. As well as a general introduction to the concept of social theory, each section is prefaced by an introduction to the relevant theorist(s) and each reading is accompanied by a short explanatory introduction.

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Section 1: Marx and Engels: Conflict and Consent
MARX Preface to 'A Contribution to the Critique of Political Economy'
MARX 'The Fetishism of the Commodity and its Secret' from Capital volume 1
MARX AND ENGELS 'The Communist Manifesto'
MARX 'The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte'
MARX 'Economic and Philosophical Manuscripts'
BOB JESSOP 'Recent Theories of the Capitalist State'
Section 2: Antonio Gramsci: Theorist of Hegemony
GRAMSCI 'The Modern Prince - Brief Notes on Machiavelli's Politics'*
GRAMSCI 'The Modern Price - Analysis of Situations. Relations of Force'*
GRAMSCI 'State and Civil Society'*
GRAMSCI 'The Intellectuals'*
GRAMSCI 'Americanism and Fordism'*
PERRY ANDERSON 'Origins of the Present Crisis'
* all from Gramsci's Prison Notebooks
Section 3: Durkheim and Functionalism
DURKHEIM from Elementary forms of the Religious Life
DURKHEIM from The Division of Labour inI Society
DURKHEIM from Suicide
IAN CRAIB 'Parsons: Theory as a Filing System' from Modern Social Theory: From Parsons to Habermas
Section 4: Max Weber and Rationalism
WEBER 'Politics as a Vocation'
WEBER 'Bureaucracy'
WEBER 'Class, Status, Party'
DEREK SAYER 'Without Regard for Persons' from Capitalism and Modernity: An Excursus on Marx and Weber
Section 5: Culture and Communication in the Frankfurt School
ADORNO AND HORKHEIMER 'The Concept of Enlightenment' from Dialectic of Enlightenment
ADORNO AND HORKHEIMER 'The Culture Industry: Enlightenment as Mass Deception' from Dialectic of Enlightenment
MARCUSE 'The New Forms of Control' from One-Dimensional Man
HABERMAS extracts from Theory of Communicative Action vol.2
Section 6: Michel Foucault: Discourse, Power and Regulation
FOUCAULT 'The Carceral' from Discipline and Punish
FOUCAULT 'Method' from History of Sexuality Volume One
ANDREW BARRY, THOMAS OSBORNE AND NIKOLAS ROSE 'Writing the History of the Present' from Barry, Thomas and Rose (eds) Foucault and Political Reason
Further Reading.

About the Author

Jonathan Joseph is Professor in the Politics department at Sheffield University. He is Author of Social Theory: Conflict, Cohesion and Consent (EUP, 2003), Hegemony: A Realist Analysis (Routledge, 2002) and co-editor of Realism, Discourse and Deconstruction (Routledge, 2002).


The book accurately reflects current concerns and issues in the teaching of this subject area but also, more importantly, helps to establish links between classical sociology and contemporary social theory… The book is very timely.
- Dr John Roberts, University of Leeds
Most useful for undergraduate students in political science, sociology and media studies and would even fit perfectly for courses in cultural studies since it explains many notions related to power and hegemony… All contributions are fundamental and timely.
It is important for students not only to read about theorists but to read the theorists themselves – for students to see for themselves how what a text says about a theorist is actually exemplified in the theorist’s own writing. It is also a pedagogically helpful feature of Joseph’s Reader that it includes some contemporary commentary on each of the major theorists covered.
- Professor Douglas V. Porpora, Drexel University, Philadelphia