A Good Book, In Theory: Making Sense Through Inquiry, Second Edition

A Good Book, In Theory: Making Sense Through Inquiry, Second Edition

Weight 0.00 lbs
By Alan Sears and James Cairns
University of Toronto Press, Higher Education Division © 2010
World Rights
206 Pages
ISBN 9781442601567
Published Apr 2010
Online discount: 20%
 $24.95    $19.96
ebook (EPUB format)
ISBN 9781442606685
Published Apr 2010
Full purchase $19.95

This brief and engagingly written book provides a unique introduction to the process of social inquiry and the theoretical and methodological frameworks that support that inquiry, offering a strong foundation in critical thinking that is rooted in the social sciences but maintains relevance across the disciplines.

Alan Sears is Professor of Sociology at Ryerson University, Toronto. He is the author of Retooling the Mind Factory: Education in a Lean State (2003).

James Cairns is Assistant Professor in the Contemporary Studies Department at Wilfrid Laurier University, Brantford. He is the co-author, with Alan Sears, of A Good Book, In Theory: Making Sense Through Inquiry.


Preface to the First Edition: Users' Guide for Students and Instructors

Preface to the Second Edition

1. An Interesting Idea, In Theory
2. But How Do You Know?
3. You Are Here: Mapping Social Relations
4. The Real World: Making Sense of Perceptions
5. Nature and Culture: The Social Construction of Distinctions
6. Making Time: Clocking Social Relations
7. Conclusion: So Many Theories, So Little Time




A refreshing, thoughtful, and passionate book about social theory that is engaging and accessible. From explaining the multiple ways in which we use theory in our everyday lives, to critically discussing theoretical traditions, including those that emerge from struggles for a better world, this is a must-read for those who want to know more about theory but are afraid to ask.

Aziz Choudry, McGill University

For any instructor who has ever struggled to communicate what social theory is and why social theory matters, A Good Book, In Theory is a great book in practice; cogent and comprehensive, relevant and readable, it will excite and enrich the social theory class experience for even the most theory-adverse students.

Mark Rubinfeld, Westminster College

With lucid examples from novels, academic sources, and personal anecdotes, Sears and Cairns expand their masterful clarification of the nature of social theory while continuing to ground its relevance in our daily lives. The new edition offers an incisive response to the query 'But How Do You Know?,' advancing the probing examination of the first edition, and transforming our appreciation of the benefits gained from applying academic inquiry to our lived experience. Essential reading for all who would embrace the benefits of formal theory in confronting the challenges that stand in the way of an equitable, sustainable future.

John Bogardus, Simon Fraser University

Sears and Cairns have written a passionate, candid, and personal text about a subject that is dreaded as abstract, complex, and boring, particularly by the young generation.... It is indeed A Good Book, In Theory to have.

Shahrzad Mojab, Ontario Institute for Studies in Education