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Description - Social Theory in a Changing World by Gerard Delanty

This book provides a critical assessment of contemporary social theory for students in the social sciences. Delanty examines the writings of a number of key contemporary thinkers, including Habermas, Foucault, Bauman, Touraine, Giddens and Beck, and provides a clear account of the strengths and limitations of their work. The central theme of the book concerns the nature of modernity and the ways in which contemporary thinkers have understood it. Delanty argues that modernity involves a tension between autonomy and fragmentation. On the one hand, the cultural project of modernity refers to self-assertion and creativity. On the other hand, modernity as a social project tends to destroy its own cultural foundations, as institutional structures become increasingly diffuse and fragmented. Against this backcloth, Delanty explores the work of a range of contemporary social theorists and assesses their contributions to the understanding of modernity. Habermas's work offers a valuable perspective on social change, but Delanty argues that his theory lacks a satisfactory account of the creativity of action. He traces a shift from the post-structuralist theories of Foucault and Lyotard to the concern with social action which is present in different ways in the work of Bauman, Touraine and Melucci. The text concludes by examining the nature of knowledge and reflexivity in the work of Beck and Giddens, and outlines a framework for a new theory of modernity. This book will appeal to second- and third-year undergraduates, graduates and academics in sociology and social theory, politics, cultural studies and other social sciences.

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Book Details

ISBN: 9780745619187
ISBN-10: 0745619185
Format: Paperback
(229mm x 152mm x 12mm)
Pages: 224
Imprint: Polity Press
Publisher: Polity Press
Publish Date: 19-Jun-1999
Country of Publication: United Kingdom

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Author Biography - Gerard Delanty

Gerald Delanty is a Reader in Sociology at the University of Liverpool.