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Tony Fitzgerald (Nottingham)

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Sociology: An Introductory Textbook and Reader
Sociology: An Introductory Textbook and Reader
by Daniel Nehring
Edition: Paperback
Price: £27.54

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent intro to sociology and more.., 22 Aug 2013
After more than 30 years of teaching social theory I can honestly say that Nehring's text is one of the best I have read in years. The author is adventorous in his choice of a range of diverse readings: ranging from what we might expect; Mills, Marx, Durkheim and Weber, to what seems to be Nehring's love of ethnography.
Nehring is keen to demonstrate that sociology is a set of practices and heavily reliant on the use of the 'sociological imagination' for its continuance - in this regard chapter 1 of the book is excellent in the way it mixes Durkheim, Mills and Simmel - to demonstrate how, and how not, this imagination might work.
I particularly like the way Nehring deals with what is often pereceived by students as an arid area: 'classical sociology'. Chapter 3 contains an excellent discussion of the most notorious and well-known of these. However it also has some useful 'exercises' which Nehring uses to constructively criticise the so-called 'canon'; these include deconstructing a 'timeline' of classical era; introducing students to the idea of the 'eurocentric' nature of the classics and concludes with an attempt to focus students on the issue of the 'gender' of classical sociology. All of this delivered in a witty and concise chapter.
Other chapters deal with individual and society, globalization and social inequalities.
As is so important for texts in this genre, the writing style is clear and accessible and I can only imagine that the noviate to the discipline will find the book refreshing and not at all intimidating.
An excellent book.

The New Political Sociology: Power, Ideology and Identity in an Age of Complexity
The New Political Sociology: Power, Ideology and Identity in an Age of Complexity
by Dr Graham Taylor
Edition: Paperback
Price: £18.81

0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Looking for the existential turn?, 14 May 2011
A curious book this. It seeks to demonstrate the need for a new political sociology in the light of three so-called 'turns' in recent social science: the global turn; the cultural turn and the complexity turn. I am not happy with the author's understanding of these turns - thus his understanding of complexity theory seems confined to use of the concept of 'strange attractor'. It could be argued that these three turns are misrepresented in the hands of this author. In fact he might have been better employed rethinking the changes in political sociology in terms of the spatial turn; the mobility turn and a recast cultural turn.
Again another 'uncanny' aspect to the book is the manner in which Taylor cites Georg Simmel at either 'end' of the book - beginning and conclusion - as if the work of that 19th century theorist is fundamental to the rethink of the domain of political sociology and yet these citations read like name-dropping in the sense that we are given the briefest of details of this claimed importance.
As Taylor must know the work of Simmel is in fashion (no pun intended!) at the present and the subject of great debate - is he an impressionist (Frisby), an expressionist (Weinsteins) or a neo-vitalist (Lash).
Finally Taylor calls for an 'existential turn' in political sociology or is he calling for a 'phenomenological turn' - I remain confused as to what he is calling and to be honest it reads as if he is too.
Clearly Taylor is correct to suggest that we need to rethink political sociology - but this isn't it.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jun 27, 2011 3:45 PM BST

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