Social life is in a constant process of change, and sociology can never stand still. As a result, sociology today is a theoretically diverse enterprise, covering a huge range of subjects and drawing on a broad array of research methods. Central to this endeavour is the use of core concepts and ideas which allow sociologists to make sense of societies, though our understanding of these concepts necessarily evolves and changes. This clear and jargon-free book introduces a careful selection of essential concepts that have helped to shape sociology and others that continue to do so. Going beyond brief, dictionary-style definitions, Anthony Giddens and Philip W. Sutton provide an extended discussion of each concept which sets it in historical and theoretical context, explores its main meanings in use, introduces relevant criticisms, and points readers to its ongoing development in contemporary research and theorizing. Organized in ten thematic sections, the book offers a portrait of sociology through its essential concepts, ranging from capitalism, identity and deviance to globalization, the environment and intersectionality.
It will be essential reading for all those new to sociology as well as anyone seeking a reliable route map for a rapidly changing world.