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These essays not only describe the major changes in British society in recent years, but seek to understand and explain what is happening. While there have been rapid changes in overall levels, there have been slower changes in relativities, and this distinction is fundamental to a proper understanding of contemporary society. The book considers the wide variety of mechanisms that underlie these changes, in particular processes of social interaction. The complex and often ill-understood nature of these mechanisms may be a major reason why so much social reform has proved ineffective. The verdict on social reforms in education, gender inequalities and ethnic inequalities is rather negative; sociologists have been concerned about the unintended consequences of social action.
This volume presents those writings of Marx that best reveal his contribution to sociology, particularly to the theory of society and social change. The editor, Neil J. Smelser, has divided these selections into three topical sections and has also included works by Friedrich Engels. The first section, "The Structure of Society," contains Marx's writings on the material basis of classes, the basis of the state, and the basis of the family. Among the writings included in this section are Marx's well-known summary from the Preface of A Contribution to a Critique of Political Economy and his equally famous observations on the functional significance of religion in relation to politics. The second section is titled "The Sweep of Historical Change." The first selection here contains Marx's first statement of the main precapitalist forms of production. The second selection focuses on capitalism, its contradictions, and its impending destruction. Two brief final selections treat the nature of communism, particularly its freedom from the kinds of contradictions that have plagued all earlier forms of societies. The last section, "The Mechanisms of Change," reproduces several parts of Marx's analysis of the mechanisms by which contradictions develop in capitalism and generate group conflicts. Included is an analysis of competition and its effects on the various classes, a discussion of economic crises and their effects on workers, and Marx's presentation of the historical specifics of the class struggle. In his comprehensive Introduction to the selections, Professor Smelser provides a biography of Marx, indentifies the various intellectual traditions which formed the background for Marx's writings, and discusses the selections which follow. The editor describes Marx's conception of society as a social system, the differences between functionalism and Marx's theories, and the dynamics of economic and political change as analyzed by Marx.
This book is about the age-old concern with social change, which is one of the most important, challenging, and exciting topics in sociology. It is concerned with the questions of how society changes, in what direction, and by what forces this change occurs. Using exciting real-life case examples, this book draws attention to the characteristics, processes, and perspectives of social change in the United States and cross-culturally. It covers theories, patterns, spheres, duration, reactions, the impact, the costs, the strategies, and the assessment of social change. Because of its current and timely material, this is an excellent reader for social workers, counselors, and sociologists.
Brings the subject matter of sociology to life for students. Linking theory and practice, this textbook explores how sociological knowledge is used in the community to fight for social change and justice.

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