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Theories of Social Order: A Reader, Second Edition (Stanford Social Sciences) Paperback – April 13, 2009

ISBN-13: 978-0804758734 ISBN-10: 0804758735 Edition: 2nd

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Editorial Reviews


"...I could not wait to turn the page. The key to its readability is not only the short and well-drawn excerpts, but also the enlightening way they are knitted together by the editors, Michael Hechter and Christine Horne.... This book will surely inspire many social scientists to give more attention to theory and integrate it more effectively in empirical research. It also brings out the editors' argument that the best explanations of social phenomena point out both causal factors and the mechanism by which they work."—Helge Holtermann, Journal of Peace Research

"The second edition of this remarkable innovative text is closely aligned to what many of us believe is the most important development in 21st century social science, namely, a growing consensus that effective theories are those that specify mechanisms to account for phenomena to be explained." —Thomas J. Fararo, University of Pittsburgh

"Theories of Social Order is already an essential addition to any undergraduate theory course because of the unique way in which it challenges students to address the landscape of ideas, focusing on areas of agreement and disagreement between different major theorists. The new addition adds to this by clearly showing how the work of a diverse set of important contemporary theorists of social order developed from earlier debates." —Sun-Ki Chai, University of Hawaii

"Too often, social theory can seem abstract, dissociated from the intrigues of the social world. In Theories of Social Order, Hechter and Horne smartly reverse this tendency in two ways. First, the readings they include focus on a central and long-standing theoretical puzzle—social order—across a range of topics, from individuals to hierarchies to networks. Second, they insist that the best theories traffic in explanations of real-world phenomena. The result is a fascinating compilation that will enrich the sociological imaginations of both students and the scholars who teach them." —John R. Hall, University of California, Davis

"I have used Michael Hechter and Christine Horne's book Theories of Social Order: A Reader in my courses of Social Theory at DePaul University for several years. I have obtained much better results with my students than I did with previous textbooks I used. The reason is that Hechter and Horne have a very original focus on theories rather than on theorists, which makes it easier for students to understand the arguments and compare different theories. In addition, the authors chose to analyze the very important problem of social order from diverse theoretical perspectives, which allows the application of the theories discussed in their book to current problems related with social order, such as rebellions, wars, economic recessions, social deviance, etc. I look forward to using the second edition of this book in my classes, which has been improved significantly with the re-arrangement of topics and theories as well as the addition of new materials and theories relevant to contemporary problems of social order. I am sure the second edition will be as successful and welcomed as the first one has been."—Jose Soltero, DePaul University

About the Author

Michael Hechter is Foundation Professor of Global Studies at Arizona State University. Christine Horne is Associate Professor of Sociology at Washington State University.

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Product Details

  • Series: Stanford Social Sciences
  • Paperback: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Stanford Social Sciences; 2 edition (April 13, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0804758735
  • ISBN-13: 978-0804758734
  • Product Dimensions: 7 x 0.9 x 10 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #427,072 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Herbert Gintis on February 4, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The mark of arrival of a mature field is its possession of a core theoretical structure, agreed upon by all researchers in the field as a starting point for creative experimentation and theory building. Of course, infrequently but virtually inevitably, some parts of the core theory are discredited because of their inability to explain a novel phenomenon, or their incorrect predictions. In a mature field, it does not take long for a single, uniformly accepted, superior explanation, one that can do all the older core theory could do an more, to displace the discredited theory.

I am certain that I will be attacked as an antediluvium heretic for affirming the previous paragraph in the face of several decades of the postmodernist critique of science. Yes, I have a deep appreciation for Thomas Kuhn's paradigm concept and Wittgenstein's Philosophical Investigations, but the relativist interpretations of these great thinkers are just drivel. I knew Kuhn personally, and heard him lament many times the nefarious and incorrect use to which his Nature of Scientific Revolutions was put by the radical relativists. I am sure Wittgenstein would be equally shocked at the application to his ideas by David Bloor and the "social construction of knowledge" crew or the Critical Theorists.

If you want to really understand the scientific method read about Imre Lakatos (one of my intellectual and political heroes---he changed his name to that of a famous Hungarian general who stood up to the Nazi deportation of the Jews when they controlled his native country), whose theory of "research programs" is a creative synthesis of Kuhn, Popper, Duhem, and Marx.
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Theories of Social Order: A Reader, Second Edition (Stanford Social Sciences)
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