`John Scott has provided us with an encyclopaedic tour through the foundations and development of social theory which cautions against the contemporary fragmentation of academic work and demonstrates the continued value of sociology's heritage. The book will become a key resource for students and scholars alike' - Barry Smart, Professor of Sociology, Portsmouth University. This is a comprehensive critical review of social theory that places leading contributions in their larger context. Written predominantly for students, the scope and range of the subjects and authors dealt with results in one of the most comprehensive introductions to social theory published to date. Ranging from the philosophical foundations of sociology and the discovery of `the social' to distinctive sociological approaches, to the significance of issues pertaining to gender and patriarchy, to questions of modernity and post-modernity, the book is comprehensive in subject matter. Among the distinctive features of the book are: - Clarity of exposition from a well-known and respected commentator in the field - Focus boxes to facilitate comprehension - Tremendous range of material - Powerful organization of the material around key organizing principles. The book is a major accomplishment which will quickly establish itself as the key set text in Sociology and Social Theory courses.