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Social Theory

by Charles Lemert

This first truly multicultural anthology collects important, readable texts representative of the full range of social theory from the nineteenth century to the present. Now that social theory is practiced in many disciplines, it is necessary to reflect on the variety of theories being read today and the earlier sources that are customarily neglected. If today we read Donna Haraway, Henry Louis Gates, and Michel Foucault, we should also read and understand Charlotte Perkins Gilman and W.E.B. Du Bois, alongside Max Weber, Georg Simmel, William James, and others from the end of the nineteenth century. This book, therefore, sets a wider gauge for the understanding of the history of social thought than could have been possible before. It brings together theories in unexpected and exciting ways: those of Talcott Parsons and Dorothy Smith, Robert K. Merton and Jacques Lacan, Immanuel Wallerstein and Frantz Fanon, James Coleman and Molefi Asante. Extensive introductory essays by the editor situate the readings in their historical place and time, identifying the currents of social change that shaped fundamental questions of modern and postmodern life. This fourth edition has been thoroughly revised and updated to include cutting-edge documents on teletechnologies, masculinities, rhizomes, bare life, and more.

Social Theory: The Multicultural, Global, and Classic Readings (Fifth Edition)

by Charles Lemert

For over twenty years Charles Lemert has scoured the canon of social theory, pulling together long-established classics as well as engaging modern writing to create an essential collection of social theory from the nineteenth century to the present. In this heavily revised fifth edition, Lemert reevaluates the received canon and reasserts this iconic text's place in the standard curriculum. Classic, essential texts from thinkers like Marx, Durkheim, and James remain; other key writers, like Dewey and Connell, are presented in a new light; and leading figures in the discussion of twenty-first-century society, such as Elijah Anderson and Bruno Latour, are anthologized here for the first time. In addition to classic and multicultural readings, the new fifth edition introduces a discussion of global social theory as well as important new and evolving topics like mobile technologies, the virtual realm, masculinities, and bare life. For the first time, timelines are included to visually present readings against the backdrop of significant events in social and world history. With more than 100 authors, thinkers, and scholars represented, the fifth edition of Social Theory is an essential component of any course on social theory.

why niebuhr matters

by Charles Lemert

Reinhold Niebuhr (1892-1971) was a Protestant preacher, an influential religious thinker, and an important moral guide in mid-twentieth-century America. But what does he have to say to us now? In what way does he inform the thinking of political leaders and commentators from Barack Obama and Madeleine Albright to David Brooks and Walter Russell Mead, all of whom acknowledge his influence? In this lively overview of Niebuhr's career, Charles Lemert analyzes why interest in Niebuhr is rising and how Niebuhr provides the answers we ache for in the face of seismic shifts in the global order. In the middle of the twentieth century, having outgrown a theological liberalism, Niebuhr challenged and rethought the nonsocialist Left in American politics. He developed a political realism that refused to sacrifice ideals to mere pragmatism, or politics to bitterness and greed. He examined the problem of morality in an immoral society and reimagined the balance between rights and freedom for the individual and social justice for the many. With brevity and deep insight, Lemert shows how Niebuhr's ideas illuminate our most difficult questions today.

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