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A pithy and clear guide to the process of creating and evaluating theory in the social sciences. Using a simple model of theory creation and assessment--and applying it in depth to foundational and still-relevant social and economic theorists such as Durkheim, Marx and Parsons--Neil Smelser shows the way to a better understanding of what social theory is supposed to accomplish and how it can be read critically.

First appearing in 1971 as a monograph drawn from his undergraduate class on sociological theory, Dr. Smelser's how-to book is now presented in modern format and with his timeless examples and explanations. Featuring a new Preface by the author, as well as a new Foreword by Arlie Russell Hochschild, this book makes understanding the insides of a theoretical framework as clear as such a daunting feat can credibly be accomplished. Useful for students and researchers learning the tools to read all sorts of theory in a critical manner, its republication and new presentation bring Dr. Smelser's legendary course on social theory to a new generation.

Part of the Classics of the Social Sciences Series from Quid Pro Books.

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