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Book Details

  • Paperback
  • Bookstore's Wholesale Price: $25.00
  • November 2014
  • ISBN: 978-0-393-93768-8
  • 288 pages
  • Territory Rights: Worldwide

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  1. Sociology

Thinking Through Theory


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John Levi Martin (Author, University of Chicago)


Teach students how to think about sociological theory.

Written with students in mind, Thinking Through Theory explores the role of theory in sociology with a focus on good thinking: how to keep from thinking in circles, how to know when we are contradicting ourselves, and how to avoid thinking tautologies are meaningful.


    1. On Theory in Sociology
    • What Is Theory in Sociology?
    • Looking Outward
    • Problems and Solutions
    • Awkward Joins
    • Beyond Straightening

    2. Things and Facts: Who Causes What Constraints?
    • Culture as Constraint
    • Defining Constraint
    • Defining Causation
    • Causation and Comparison
    • Comparison, Processes, and Causes

    3. The Return of Realism
    • A Basket of Isms
    • Realism versus Social Construction
    • Getting Real in Sociology
    • Concepts and Reality
    • Supporting Claims
    • Pragmatism and Truth
    • Talking about Truth*
    • Conclusion

    4. Rationality and Other Lunacies
    • The Debate over Rational Choice Theory
    • What Is Rationality?
    • Producing Paradox
    • From Irrational to Rational Uses of Rational Choice Theory
    • From Rational Actors to Rational Genes
    • Conclusions

    5. What Does the Sociology of Animals Teach Us?
    • Fear of Animals
    • Where Is Complexity and Intelligence?
    • Roles
    • Morality
    • Having a World
    • Conclusion

    6. “The Gentleman Is to Let the Lady Enter the Door First”: Or How the Environment Tells Us What to Do
    • Motives and Tendencies
    • Who Follows Rules and When?
    • I Can Only Open the Door
    • Conclusion

    • On Luck
    • Bonus: The Newest Rules of Sociology
    • From Here On