Understanding Society: A Survey of Modern Social Theory, second edition, introduces the major streams of contemporary social theory and traces their evolution to the present day. Among the many new features of this edition is an entirely new chapter on three recent schools of thought centering on the somatic (bodily) aspects of personal identity - race, gender, and queer theory. In addition, a series of fictional vignettes and 'flashbacks' throughout illuminate the topics in each chapter and help students make connections between social theory and real-world issues. With a contemporary and accessible writing style that will engage readers, this uniquely Canadian text features current debates on such topics as communication, popular culture, the global village, corporatism, and globalization.
Douglas Mann is assistant professor in the faculty of information and media studies at the University of Western Ontario. In addition to authoring two editions of Understanding Society, Mann has published Structural Idealism: A Theory of Social and Historical Explanation (WLU Press, 2002), Philosophy: a New Introduction (Nelson, 2005), and dozens of academic and newspaper articles. His main research and teaching areas include social and political theory, pop culture, music, and science fiction.
"[Understanding Society] addresses a vast range of thought without simplifying. The author's active engagement with the various thinkers, traditions, and historical shifts is evident on every page. . . an outstanding resource and, as far as I am aware, by far the best book of its kind available."
--Kimberly Mair, University of Lethbridge
"The author takes seriously the need to engage students and make theory meaningful in the context of their everyday lives. . . Written in a language that is very accessible, demonstrating that theory need not be dry and humourless."
--Susan Robertson, University of Saskatchewan