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Social Theory

Conflict, Cohesion and Consent

Jonathan Joseph

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This textbook introduction to Social Theory is unique in addressing key issues in sociological, political and cultural analysis through an examination of modern theories of social conflict, cohesion and consent. Chapters are structured to cover the major thinkers - Marx and Engels, Gramsci, Durkheim, Parsons, Weber, the Frankfurt School (Adorno, Horkheimer, Marcuse and Habermas) and Foucault - and offer a useful and accessible introduction to the main ideas of these important and widely studied theorists.

Through the unifying theme of conflict, cohesion and consent the reader is introduced to core social concepts such as structure and agency, ideology, discourse and legitimation, and to key features of modern society such as the state, economy and civil society. Dealing with both contemporary social debates and established theoretical approaches, this book is ideal for both Politics and Sociology students.

Key Features

  • Author writes with great clarity, making the text accessible to undergraduates
  • Unique in addressing key issues in sociology, politics and cultural studies through examination of modern social theories of conflict, cohesion and consent
  • Chapters organised around the core thinkers: Marx, Engels, Gramsci, Durkheim, Weber, the Frankfurt School, and Foucault
  • Introduces students to key social concepts of structure, agency, discourse, legitimation, power, communication, functionalism and hegemony

Contents

1: Introduction
2: Marx and Engels
(i) Social classes and the role of class struggle in history
(ii) Economic analysis of capitalist society
(iii) The state
(iv) The concept of ideology
(v) Social conflict and social change
3. Antonio Gramsci and the concept of hegemony
(i)
The critique of Marxism and the model of economic base and political-cultural
superstructure
(ii)
Machiavelli and the Modern Prince - strategies for leading and directing
(iii)
Hegemony: Coercion and consent
(iv)
Hegemony: Historical bloc and passive revolution
(v)
Hegemonic strategy: Wars of position and manoeuvre
(vi)
The role of the intellectual, consent through organic ideas
(vii)
Recent applications: Economic and cultural theory
(4)
Max Weber and rationalisation
(i)
Charismatic leadership, traditional leadership and domination
(ii)
The state as a monopoly of violence. Civil society and the determination of
social status
(iii)
Legal-rational society, the modern state and its legitimacy
(iv)
Elitism and the rise of bureaucracy (also introduces elitist theorists)
(v)
Modernity and the 'iron cage'
(5)
The Frankfurt School
(i)
Influences: A synthesis of Weber and Marx
(ii)
Adorno and Horkheimer: Enlightenment thinking
(iii)
Adorno and Horkheimer: The role of the culture industry
(iv)
Marcuse: One-dimensional society
(v)
Jürgen Habermas: Public sphere and legitimation crisis
(vi)
Habermas: System, lifeworld and communication
(6)
Michel Foucault
(i)
Discourse: Madness and civilisation
(ii)
Practice: Discipline and punishment
(iii)
Power and knowledge
(iv)
Foucault and feminism
(v)
Foucault and postmodernism
(7)
Conclusion.

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).