Restless Ideas

Contemporary Social Theory in an Anxious Age

By Tony Simmons  

Paperback $49.00

How do we make sense of the rise of political strongmen like Trump and Erdoğan, or the increase in hate crimes and terrorism? How can we understand Brexit and xenophobic, anti-immigrant sentiments and policies? More importantly, what can we do to make it all stop?

In Restless Ideas, Tony Simmons illustrates how social theory provides us with the skills for more informed observation, analysis and empathic understanding of social behaviour and social interaction. Social theory deepens our understanding of the world around us by empowering us to become practical theorists in our own lives.

Simmons traces the roots of contemporary social theory back to the works of the early structural functionalists, systems theorists, conflict theorists, symbolic interactionists, ethnomethodologists and sociobiologists — and incorporates contemporary social thinkers theorizing from the margins who are redefining the canon. Later chapters focus on the current influence of structuration theory, third wave critical theory, sociobiology and evolutionary psychology, postmodernism and poststructuralism, postcolonialism, liquid and late modernity theories and globalization theories. The politics of sexual, racial, Indigenous and ethnic minorities are analyzed through the prism of theoretical perspectives such as queer theory, standpoint and intersectional theory, postcolonial and Indigenous theory and critical race theory, while the ongoing struggles for gender equality and justice are examined through the generational perspectives of feminist theories.

  • Sociology
  • ISBN: 9781773630953
  • Forthcoming January 2020
  • 360 Pages
  • For sale worldwide

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  • Introduction
  • Why Do We Theorize?
  • Structural Functionalism and Systems Theory
  • Conflict Theories of Society
  • Neo-Marxist and Post-Marxist Theories of Society
  • Critical Theory: Second and Third Waves
  • Symbolic Interactionism and Dramaturgy
  • Ethnomethodology
  • Sociobiology and Evolutionary Psychology
  • Poststructuralism and Postmodernism
  • Postcolonialism
  • Indigenous Politics
  • Feminist and Queer Theories
  • Theorists of Late Modernity
  • Globalization and Its Discontents
  • References
  • Index


  • Tony Simmons

    Tony Simmons teaches sociology at Athabasca University. He is the author of Revitalizing the Classics: What Past Social Theorists Can Teach Us Today and co-author of _Reading Organizational Theory: A Critical Approach to the Study of Organizational Behaviour and Structure. _

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