Theory for the Working Sociologist

Fabio Rojas

Columbia University Press

Theory for the Working Sociologist

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Pub Date: April 2017

ISBN: 9780231181655

232 Pages

Format: Paperback

List Price: $30.00£25.00

Pub Date: April 2017

ISBN: 9780231181648

232 Pages

Format: Hardcover

List Price: $90.00£75.00

Pub Date: April 2017

ISBN: 9780231543699

232 Pages

Format: E-book

List Price: $29.99£25.00

Theory for the Working Sociologist

Fabio Rojas

Columbia University Press

Theory for the Working Sociologist makes social theory easy to understand by revealing sociology's hidden playbook. Fabio Rojas argues that sociologists use four different theoretical "moves" when they try to explain the social world: how groups defend their status, how people strategically pursue their goals, how values and institutions support each other, and how people create their social reality. Rojas uses famous sociological studies to illustrate these four types of theory and show how students and researchers may apply them to their interests. The guiding light of the book is the concept of the "social mechanism," which clearly and succinctly links causes and effects in social life.

Drawing on dozens of empirical studies that define modern sociology and focusing on the nuts and bolts of social explanation, Rojas reveals how areas of study within the field of sociology that at first glance seem dissimilar are, in fact, linked by shared theoretical underpinnings. In doing so, he elucidates classical and contemporary theory, and connects both to essential sociological findings made throughout the history of the field. Aimed at undergraduate students, graduate students, journalists, and interested general readers who want a more formal way to understand social life, Theory for the Working Sociologist presents the underlying themes of sociological thought using contemporary research and plain language.

Theory for the Working Sociologist points the way forward for educators across the field of sociology, as it connects classical to contemporary theory, and both to essential findings and ongoing research programs. You may not find yourself agreeing with Rojas at all moments in the text, but that is the point—he sets up an arena of debate both sophisticated and accessible to students.

Isaac Ariail Reed, University of Virginia

This highly readable and accessible book will soon become required reading for upper-level undergraduate and doctoral students of sociology. Rather than merely revisiting and reinterpreting core texts of abstract sociological theory, Rojas identifies four core themes of sociological theory—power and inequality, strategic action, values and social structures, and social constructionism—that motivate empirical work and lead sociologists to generate explanations for why empirical patterns exist.

Sarah Soule, Stanford University
Preface
Acknowledgments
1. What Counts as Social Theory for This Book?
2. Power and Inequality
3. Strategic Action
4. Values and Social Structures
5. Social Construction
6. Combining Different Theories
Epilogue
Notes
References
Index

About the Author

Fabio Rojas is professor of sociology at Indiana University Bloomington. He is the author of From Black Power to Black Studies: How a Radical Social Movement Became an Academic Discipline and the co-author with Michael T. Heaney of Party in the Street: The Antiwar Movement and the Democratic Party after 9/11.